Friday Inspiration

Friday Inspiration

Have you always wanted to take a cooking class or start up a class of your own? Perhaps you’d like to learn violin or start volunteering at an animal shelter? Everybody has desires and dreams that are often put off for “later,” but when later turns into years down the road people often use the excuse that they’re “too old” to do that now — whatever “that” may be. Nonsense! It’s absolutely never too late to embark on a new adventure and take a dive into uncharted waters.

Our society teaches us that we “can’t teach old dogs new tricks,” but that’s simply not true. The older we are, the more knowledge and insights we have to apply to new opportunities going forward. Don’t let others discourage you or make you feel silly about wanting to try something that excites you. You may find you have a hidden talent that you never would’ve known about had you never taken the initiative to try!

giphy

Maybe you need a bit more inspiration — some concrete examples of folks who tried something new later in life and turned hobbies into amazing careers. Dreaming of a career or opportunity in writing or cooking? You should know 9ac44a11b6b9cbf163c5337dfbfbfaefJulia Child was nearly 40 years old when her first cookbook was published. Prior to discovering her love of French cuisine, Child worked in advertising and for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Want to try a hand in acting? Samuel L. Jackson was 46 years old before starring in Pulp Fiction. Thinking of achieving success in the comedy/television arena but you’re currently on a completely different career path? Joy Behar, a comedienne and co-host on The View, was a high school English teacher! She didn’t start her show business career until after age 40.

Inspired yet? Need some more convincing? Take French poet Victor Hugo’s words: “Forty is the old age of youth, fifty the youth of old age.” It’s so important not to limit yourself based off of society’s “norms” and what others view as acceptable ages to do certain things. You’re in your sixties but you want to go sky diving or snorkeling? Do it! You’re 20 but you want to take a knitting class? Why not! Your friends will be jealous of all the cozy scarves and sweaters in your closet for sure. As Shakespeare wrote, “age is but a number” and, though he was referring to age in the sense of romance, the historic phrase can be applied to anything in life.

aging_personality

It’s easy to get caught up in wishing you had started something from a very early age, but don’t let that hold you back today. Even taking a small step to try something new is a big step in the long run. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the day-to-day rut; there are always opportunities out there and people to help, but you have to be the one to take that first step towards change. Wishing you had a different major in college or a more financially secure upbringing is not going to change anything today. Choices you’ve made in the past don’t have to dictate the rest of your time on this planet. Stop making excuses, get out there and do something you’ve always wanted to! Time is not going to slow down. Book that class, download that language app and buy some new pots and pans. Start new traditions, dye your hair a funky color and write a letter to your grandma. Go, go, go!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

For My Fellow Late Bloomers

For My Fellow Late Bloomers

Note: You can find an updated version of this piece on Thought Catalog, here.

Hi! My name’s Jackie and I’m a so-called late bloomer. The good folks at Wikipedia define a late bloomer as someone whose “talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual.” My definition? Someone who played with Barbies wayyyy after their “fun and cool” expiration date. 

198059_6349220117_1715_n
Stuffed animals NEVER go out of style.

I recently found out that my 13-year-old cousin has a boyfriend. Naturally, it made me think back to when I was 13; I had just started 8th grade and was rocking some fresh braces. My wardrobe was largely made up of the latest Limited Too fashions and zero bras because, let’s face it, I didn’t need them. My “Aunt Flo” was still three years away, my first drink was six years away and my first relationship was still 11 years away. 

I watched my friends around me as they dated, and listened as they gushed over first kisses and everything else that I had zero experience with. I never had anything to contribute to these conversations and felt totally lame. But then I’d go home and watch Boy Meets World and believe that my Corey (or Shawn or Eric or Jack) was out there and I’d meet him soon enough. So I didn’t fret. I focused on other things like school and reading and writing and daydreaming…lots of daydreaming.

Graduating high school without ever having kissed a guy and without ever having had a drop of alcohol seemed to go against everything I’d ever watched on Gossip Girl. But then again I wasn’t living on the Upper East Side and my name was not Blair Waldorf (though I totally did dress up as her my senior year of high school — the irony now kills me).blair-waldorf

145348525098060

Oh and remember that time I was Napoleon Dynamite during my freshmen year?

197835_6349125117_1456_n
Is this why I didn’t have a date to prom? lolz

I’m choosing to write about this now because I think it’s important. It’s important to know that you don’t have to compare yourself to others or feel weird because you’re “behind.” You’re not behind. You’re not missing out. You’re being true to yourself and that’s awesome.

10399197_21105339638_1922_n
Me circa 2008.

I used to be so embarrassed about all of these “milestones” I still hadn’t reached. Like, oh my gosh I’m entering my second decade of life and have never been kissed! I’m Drew Barrymore! I realize now how ridiculous my worries were and I hope that someone feeling that way now will read this and feel better. We shouldn’t feel pressured to change because society tells us we should’ve done this or that by a certain age. That’s not fair to anyone.

Being a “late bloomer” ha1146550_10153160366260118_1918045206_ns actually given me more confidence today. I’ve learned over the years to be happy with my life and understand more of why I am the way that I am. I’m a patient person who doesn’t like to feel rushed into anything I’m not ready for. Why should anyone be embarrassed for that? I’m glad I didn’t waste years dating duds because now, at 24, I’ve found a gem of a guy who I love very much.

I’ll leave you with a quote from fellow LB Anna Kendrick: “When I was a teenager, I was an ultra late bloomer, and my mom would say it was a blessing because it means you never have to wonder if guys are only interested in you because you’ve got boobs.”

Amen, AK.
Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Why I Quit my Job in Broadcast and Booked a One Way Ticket to California

Why I Quit my Job in Broadcast and Booked a One Way Ticket to California

When we’re young we’re told we can be anything we want to be and the sky is the limit. But as we try and determine our interests, collect our diplomas and “grow up,” we’re incessantly pressed to make decisions which will carve out the path to the rest of our lives. Looking back at my 17-year-old self, I thought I knew for sure who I wanted to be going into college; a broadcast news reporter, traveling the world to inform and engage others on behalf of a major network like ABC or CNN. With passion and excitement, I did everything right. Earned [somewhat] straight A’s (remember that time I got a 23/100 on a stats exam? lolz), landed a dream internship in NYC during college and secured a job at a national news network in NYC less than six months after graduating Magna Cum Laude.

And then everything fell a p a r t . . .

The hours, the commuting, the move to the city, paying rent, buying food, dealing with [rude] co-workers, being sleep-deprived and the impending feeling of doom.

I couldn’t complain though. I was living the DREAM, right? Working alongside network news anchors, living on the Upper West Side and gallivanting throughout the city that never sleeps was my daily life. It’s a wonderful feeling to have that light-bulb moment when you know you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing; but it’s crushing when that light-bulb explodes into a million pieces of insecurities, uncertainties and a sinking feeling that you’re nowhere near where you want to be. 

I realized the only thing holding me back was everyone else’s expectations of who I would be. Jackie the Journalist. Rapetti the Reporter. (And any other alliteration you can dream up.) But when you’re taking ‘sick’ days because you’re sick of your co-workers, that’s a pretty good sign things aren’t so super duper. Now that I’ve expressed my disinterest in broadcast journalism for all the fear-mongering and exaggerated reporting I’ve experienced (not to mention working in a newsroom is about as glamorous as babysitting a bunch of toddlers), everyone keeps asking me what I’d like to do next. But the truth is I have no idea. And then I have a million ideas. A pilot! A chef! An archaeologist! A wildlife photographer! How does anyone decide on just one path?

My mom, who at my age was already married and had me, believes I should have a jump-start on a career by now and be well on my way to moving out of the room I’ve spent most of my 23 years in. She thinks I’m too old to be so wishy-washy about my future. And then there’s my hil-ar-ious dad on the other end of the spectrum who recently said he believes 23 is the new 16.

While I’d like to think I’ve grown somewhat since 16, I still believe I can be anything and everything I want to be even if I don’t know what that means yet. This isn’t me complaining about having to pay bills and do so-called grown-up things (OK, it kind of is…), but I’ve never believed in following social norms. Society says I should have this and do that but, as the Brits say, that’s bollocks. I’m still learning and growing and living on my own terms. I’ve worked hard and saved some money. Sure, I could find some random job, put the money I have towards rent and move out. Instead I’ve booked a ticket, packed some coloring books (for the undying kid in me… plus it’s a great way to pass time on a plane!) and am off to California. And I could not be happier.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

P.s. If you have any West Coast food recommendations, HOLLER AT ME!