project 30 – jenna

16 Jul

I met Jenna a few years back when I wanted to write/ host for Takepart (I was so inspired by their mission actually I probably would have been happy cleaning their toilets) Well, once I set my sights on TakePart, I got lucky enough to score a meeting with Jenna, who was the VP of content at the time. Manifesting, people! I remember being nervous before that meeting because I so badly wanted to impress. Never a good energy. Anyway, as I was calming my nerves, in walks this confident, leggy, glowing, gorgeous blonde and I immediately had a crush on her. I later found out she was also smart, funny and easygoing, such a fabulous combination in a woman. We’ve kept in touch from time to time since that meeting. Most recently, she surprised me with a generous and thoughtful email after I wrote my piece on anxiety. She didn’t have to reach out, but she did. Meet, Jenna.


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

“Sing out loud in the car and don’t roll up the windows.”
“Go, spend the summer in Spain. Things will be here when you get back.”
“It’s just a cold, stop reading WebMD.”

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

The assurances of many wise friends that things would work out fine. That, and the benefits of using sunblock.

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

My self-imposed worries and fears.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Age 27. It’s not a single memory, but an amalgam of meaningful ones, all of which hinged on being single, solvent, surrounded by good friends, traveling, playing, and, for the first time, living 100% alone.

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

I had no idea! Which was probably at the root of my anxieties. I wanted answers, direction, an unwavering path. I wanted to be a person with one single, undeniable calling. Instead I kept focused on highly ambitious short-term goals – good ones – but having a 10-year view was never my strong suit.

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

When 30 did finally come, it was spectacular. Probably one of the most important years of my life. I travelled in Costa Rica and Belize. I sorted through some family baggage. I moved from LA to NYC with a fancy Internet job. And I met the man who would become my husband, in a bar on 15th street. That last event, in itself, gave me a sense of belonging I’d never known was possible.

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

Perpetually. I don’t think those worries ever go away completely. The difference, I suppose, is gaining perspective, losing unproductive fears, and landing on your feet enough times to actually believe that will keep happening.

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

Everything! I think women in their 30s become their smartest, most beautiful, most confident selves. And nothing is sexier than a woman who is comfortable in her own skin.

What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I’ve hit that milestone, too, so I already know – and my life looks better than I’d ever imagined. Married ten years, a daughter who is the love of my life, creative work with people I admire, and a peaceful spot in the hills to call home.

What I’m also grateful for but couldn’t have predicted is the degree to which simpler things bring me joy. I am still ambitious, but differently so – I care about the quality of my time more than I used to, and as a result, my life just keeps getting more interesting.

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

I have so many; I’m regularly inspired by how wise people string words together. For brevity’s sake…

One for my 20’s:
“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

One for my 30’s:
”Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

And one more, just for fun:
“When in doubt, give advice.”


7 Responses to “project 30 – jenna”

  1. michaelmulholland July 16, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    So sweet, I feel younger and younger by each blog…

  2. Hattie Wilcox July 16, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Does Jenna know the authors of her favorite quotes? I would like to know if she does.

  3. Alysia Gray Painter July 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Fantastic piece, Kate! Jenna is one of my heroes, too. Charming, brainy, easy-breezy, and a blast to hang with, at work or away. She’s good people.

    Love this, too: ***The difference, I suppose, is gaining perspective, losing unproductive fears, and landing on your feet enough times to actually believe that will keep happening.*** That’s a big yep!

    • katemcclafferty July 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      Alysia, I couldn’t agree more with you!! She’s good people. I loved that line too:)

  4. Miss Lynzie July 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    I love her perspective on 40. Such a great series, Kate!

  5. Rachel Sedaker July 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Once again, I am inspired. And hopeful. What an interesting woman!

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