project 30’s – jen

4 Jun

jen 2

Jen, 38

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Not to care so much about what other people thought. To keep writing. Not to worry so much about being a waitress, that it would actually come in handy later. All the skills I learned would serve me endlessly as I began to work more and more with people. That being short didn’t mean anything about who I was as a person. That I would eventually find my way. That breathing was more important than I realized. That the best was yet to come.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s? 

My writing. My heart. (not my heart health, to be clear, but rather my capacity for love. For loving myself, more specifically.)

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

My appearance and my weight.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Is it bad that I can’t remember any? I really hated my 20’s. Let’s see. I went to Italy and China for the first time but that was in my early twenties. That planted the seed for me for my Italy retreats and for my desire to travel the world. My 20’s were like one long bad dream that all meshed together. I hope people reading this who may be scared of getting older find this hopeful. Ha! I am going to write an essay about this and send it to you because you have stumped me. This inspires me. And also reminds me how much I hated my 20’s.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30? 

I thought I would be a writer living in NYC of course. Or in academia. I was a bit of a literary snob in my early 20’s while at NYU.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like? 

I was working at the same restaurant that I had been working at since age 21 in West Hollywood. My life looked the same as it did at age 22 except I was older. I truly was like a walking dead person. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I woke up and started paying attention which is at the crux of all my teachings. Paying attention. I paid little attention to anything in my 20’s. My life was falling apart around age 30 but thank God for that. That falling apart, as it were, allowed to start a new and create the life I wanted. I couldn’t be happier now but it definitely took that nervous breakdown I had to wake me up!

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Um, everyday?

What is the greatest gift about being a woman man  in your 30’s? 

I married my husband just before I turned 35! I am confident in a way I never was when I was younger. I have, as cliché as it sounds, found myself. And truth be told, I was right here all along! (I just didn’t know it.)

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

That question scares me for some reason. I have never been any good at looking into the future or planning. Damn you, Kate! Maybe this will be my next essay. Okay, here goes. I hope to have a family. My book is published and I am working with Oprah. They are little dreams, I know. I hope I am happy and healthy and still have my sense of humor. Who am I kidding? It’s a year and a half away which we all know if more like a blink away so I guess I just hope by then I have learned how to break my addiction to Facbeook and twitter. I hope I have a read a few more books. I hope my laugh lines are a deeper because I earned them.

 What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

One of my own. “At the end of your life, when you ask one final “What have I done?” let your answer be “ I have done love?”

Is it corny to quote yourself? Is that allowed? I really think it all boils down to that. I look back on all those years of waitressing and realize why I was so beloved as a server even though I stank at it. It was because I loved. I made people feel seen and heard and loved. It’s really all about that, isn’t it? I am the same Jen I was then just a bit wiser and with a few more laugh lines. Back then I thought my job defined me. I thought my weight defined me. None of it did. Nothing defines us but my God, I want to be remembered by how much I loved. People remember how big your heart was not how big your butt is.

Connect with Jen – website / blog / twitter


8 Responses to “project 30’s – jen”

  1. Maria June 4, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Thank you for interviewing Jen!!! She is so awesome! I am so glad she has become a daily part of my day. I am also equally glad you have too! I love reading you girls!!! It always lifts my spirits!!!

  2. JenPastiloff June 4, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Reblogged this on The Manifest-Station and commented:
    What a great honor this was. I am interviewed for Project 30’s by kate Mcclafferty. It was so much fun. Hope you all enjoy and follow her blog xo jen

  3. Jennifer Woods June 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Lovely interview. And yes, you are loved. This is what you do for people. You let them love, and let them feel loved. In return, they feel better able to out out more love. You make the world a better place. Oh, and don’t worry about your 40s. The view from “this side” is even better. 🙂

  4. Rachel Sedaker June 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Once again, an inspiring piece. I couldn’t agree more with “doing love”- that’s the important thing right there.

  5. barbarapotter June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Of course you know Kate I love everything you write and everyone you interview but I hope you don’t mind me saying I love this one the best. It is great. And, yes Jen, you have done Love:)

  6. Denise Dare (@DeniseDare43) June 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Thank you, Kate, for this insightful interview!

    And, thank you, Jen, for your honesty and inspiration!

    I totally appreciate your “Um, every day?” response about worry…such a powerful reminder that we are all human!

    And, yes, our 30s definitely feels like a time for blossoming confidence, embracing who we are and really gettin’ juicy in this whole life experience.

    The 40s are certainly lookin’ pretty exciting, too…feeling like life just keeps getting better!

    Wishing you happiness wherever you are,

    Denise 🙂

  7. GrayEyedAthena June 7, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Such a fantastic chick!! Thank you for this thoughtful and funny interview…”People remember how big your heart was not how big your butt is.” <– TRUTH.


  1. inspiration, gratitude & surprises | - June 7, 2013

    […] Pastiloff’s Project 30′s Q & A and then this follow-up vlog she did in response to […]

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