Writing Your Life

By January 26, 2012Life, Soul

When’s the last time you sang? I hope it was today or just now. I can always tell something is amiss in my life when I don’t sing. Singing makes me incandescently happy. I haven’t been singing lately.

Weeks of travel coupled with many “to do’s” have left me serious and soul searching. As I’ve been reminded by friends, family, and society, I’m 28 going on 30. I figured out why turning 30 freaks me out. An unwritten rule in our society is as follows: your 20’s are for trying new things, figuring it out, exploring, challenging, questioning, resolving, etc. Your 30’s are for being focused on a career, on a family, on a relationship, on something.

Taking it all in

When I was 16, I was an honor roll student at one of the top high schools in Atlanta, a Varsity athlete, a National Honor Society member, a peer support facilitator (along with several other extra curriculars), a part-time hostess at our local brunch place, and a babysitter. It has always been in my nature to stretch myself, to achieve, and to immerse myself with several activities. Honestly speaking, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be at 16. I knew I loved writing, and I knew that whatever I chose to do, I would have high expectations and standards for myself, and I always have. But, I thought I would figure it out at some point–my purpose.

On a side note, I’m listening to the main theme song from Schindler’s List right now on my Thomas Newman Pandora station. If you haven’t listened to that song, stop reading this moment, and listen. The violin is otherworldly.

I believe in serendipity. As I’m listening to this song, I realize I have always known my purpose. 9-years-old watching A River Runs Through It, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I went home that day and got my parents to buy me journals, so I could begin writing. Through every period in my life, I’ve always gone back to writing. It’s like breathing.

Being a writer is not always easy or glamorous. Knowing the right words to say, worrying that words might be misconstrued or rejected, or that what you wrote at one period in time (which may or may not reflect who you are later in life) is in print somewhere, forever tattooed. It takes incredible courage to expose yourself in every piece of writing, even if its an email or a Tweet.

Life Takes Courage

In the words of Ernest Hemingway, “In order to write about life, first you must live it.” I’ve been upset with myself lately for not knowing my 5-year-plan or what’s next in the big sense. The type-A in me and my brain clamor for it desperately. When my mind settles down, my heart speaks softly. I have dreams. I want to create. I want to explore. I want peace. I want to live a life I’m proud of, and I want to be around those that also choose life.

Join the discussion 37 Comments

  • Karla says:

    Hola Jackie, debo decirte que soy una admiradora tuya. Te felicito por el carácter y animo que tienes. Eres una fuente de inspiración. Comparto ideas y gustos, así que cuando leo tu blog invariablente sonrío. Por cierto amo cantar!! 🙂
    (Como va la practica de tu español?)

    • Jacqueline says:

      ¡Muchísimas gracias, Karla! ¡Que simpatica eres! Me alegro mucho que puedas recibir ideas y por supuesto, que sonríes cuando estàs leyendo mi blog. ¡Hace mucho tiempo que no he hablado en español, entonces necesitamos comer y cantar muy pronto! 🙂

  • I, too, believe strongly in serendipity. And accordingly, I need to thank you for posting the piece from Schindler’s List and the quote from Hemingway. I’ve felt very blocked in my writing recently. Could it be that I’m not living as fully as I need to? Do I lack a sense of purpose? I don’t know. But I need to ask myself these questions. Thanks, my friend. Your post has given me something I needed today.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hi Kathy! Always enjoy reading your comments and posts! You know, I think we all have that “could I be living my life more fully” thought at various times in our lives. I certainly do. Yes, there have been many moments in my life where I can honestly say, “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be in this moment,” but I’ve also had a numerous amount of, “I wish I was a lot of other places in this moment.” Life is funny like that. I think the most important thing is that you’re asking. Even if you don’t have the answer, for if we don’t ask, how will anything ever change?

      Hugs to you too!

  • Do not, I repeat, DO NOT set pressures on yourself because of some societal definition of age. I am finally learning that age is really just a state of mind, and that you can reinvent, grow and live fully at any age. It is not easy. It is scary. But to hell with five year plans or anything else. Keep dreaming, keep living, and let the journey unfold.


    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Lisa! I appreciate that. Luckily, I watched my mom go from being a banker of 20 years to a therapist (went back and got her masters in counseling) to a writer, blogger, alternative healer, and business owner, so anything is possible. Absolutely need to be reminded of that, so thank you again! 🙂

  • Oh my….you need to breathe and let life happen. Once you take a step back and relax, I’m betting it will. Let the adventure unfold and follow your heart and soul. Hugs, Margie

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hugs to you too, Margie! I needed to hear that too, and that was such a sweet comment. I was wound a bit tight at my banjo lesson tonight, and my banjo teacher reminded me to breath…”I can tell you’re worrying that you think it was ‘shitty’–it wasn’t. Get out of your head and into your heart.” And that’s exactly what I need to do, one breath at a time. 😉

  • EL says:

    thank you for your amazingness! I adore Thomas Newman ! Listen to him all the time.. love the way you write!

    love & light


  • Gloria says:

    Jackie – you continue to inspire me. Age is definitely just a number in our life journey…look at me, still trying to find my way just as you are. But I’m stirring up some new things in my pot; will let you know what transpires. The Schindler piece brought me to tears, but was also uplifting. Love you dearly…

  • Julie says:

    Jackie, Yay for your post!! I’m sorry, that may sound strange, but that’s what I feel 🙂 Your degree of being in touch with your thoughts, intuition, and emotions and your balance of this with external influences is SO much of what life is about, in my opinion. For me, it took time to find my balance between internal and external input relative to what I want, who I am, etc. I believe that is an ongoing exercise – although I’ve found clarity on certain aspects with time. I have to share that my very dear friend and I, just had a moment the other day when we met up for coffee. In the midst of talking about something going on in one of our lives, we smiled and laughed and said, “The goal in life is to stay connected to our true selves.” Two friends who’ve been there for each other through all the circumstances that come and go and who’ve been on parallel spiritual paths for 10 years now. Staying in our power is the goal. From that, ALL other things come.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Julie! That doesn’t sound strange at all, and I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful words–very affirming and encouraging. It was funny. For the past week, I was so wrapped up in my head–in the “to do’s” and the planning. The truth is that even the best plans sometimes don’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in goals and dreams and in pursuing them, but I also believe that following your heart in the moment and trusting, as difficult as that is sometimes, makes life an adventure, not a script.

      On another note, I recently journeyed on an international adventure with my best friend from high school. After all this time, we still get each other while discovering something new. 🙂 And, I absolutely agree with your statement–so powerful–“Staying in our power is the goal.”

      • Julie says:

        Yes,trusting can be so difficult. Beautifully put…’makes life an adventure, not a script’! I love it. I also think we increase our experience of pain and suffering if/when we don’t follow our heart in the moment and trust – while keeping in sight our goals and dreams.

        • Jacqueline says:

          That is very true! Love your company name by the way. Think it’s going to do a lot of good for many people. An article I wrote will be coming out soon in Womenetics called Happy People Don’t Make War: How Your Happiness Can Bring World Peace. Very excited about it! I’ll have to forward you the link when it’s published. I also saw that you supported The Goddess Project. Don’t they seem awesome? I am so empowered by all the women out there like you who are making such a positive impact in the world!

      • Julie says:

        Can’t wait to read your article! Yes, it’s exciting to have visibility to what others are doing and the opportunity to align with each other. Look forward to exploring the many possibilties as we go… 🙂

  • Devina says:

    Jackie, if I may call you that, I agree with the others. Don’t pressure yourself, I know it’s natural to expect things of ourselves, everyone does, but I think there’s a line we draw and only you can draw yours. I’m young yet so my words might not count for much but I think experience does. Some things cannot be planned, just relax a little and things will eventually fall in line.

    I heard of the book Schindler’s List and recently learned there was a movie out of it made some years ago, sounds very interesting, hope to see it soon. The violin is indeed ‘otherworldly’. It gave me the chills, the violin sounded like it was crying and the notes were like tears escaping from it’s strings but I love it! Thanks for sharing. I do hope things work out for you soon 🙂

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hi Devina. Yes, you may call me Jackie. 🙂 You know, I think the phrase “I know I’m young” is one that shows humility and wisdom of its user. I also think that all ages, we have something to offer. Your words are very wise and much appreciated! Thank you!

  • Luca Ricci says:

    kind of interesting how this low-tone mood comes in a moment that I may see as one of the highest of all your searching. Your Kickstart project got funded in no time this means you’ve got already so many people supporting you and your writing of inspiration and positivity, and we are all here just for more! Time is just a concept, a social convention, but you are “mature” enough not to fall into the trap of having to be be “mature” all of a sudden! Going from 20 to 30 makes no difference. The real difference is how you live whichever age you got. Your grandma, you told us, was an example for this. Being 80 and still getting excited at icecream like a 5 year old. That’s the secret. At 30 your dreams will just be as they have been so far, if you want.
    Hugs, Luca

  • […] off, I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful, kind, and wise comments on my initial post, Writing Your Life. One of the many things I’ve learned and gained from this ongoing experiment in living is to […]

  • l0ve0utl0ud says:

    Just like you, I was always an active student and a high-achiever. I thought I’d be doing well, doing what I love, and being happy and earning loads, too! Yet now, I’m not quite sure what this thing that I want to be doing is. But I do know that I want to live, and live with people who make living their priority.

  • Totally loved this post 🙂 Especially the part where the mind settles and the heart murmurs..It’s so difficult to listen to the heart when the mind is going crazy with all the expectations that the world sets up for us…It’s hard to learn how to run your own race at the end of the day:) You will be around those who want to live life because you put out that energy too 🙂

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you! I have found that no matter how loud the heat is, the heart always knows. But, the head can be so convincing! haha. I like how you phrased “your own race.” I was a runner for 8+ years, and you really do learn that although there might be other competitors and people running with you, at the end of the day it is an individual journey, made richer by those around us. I sincerely appreciate your comment and compliment–from what I’ve read, it sounds like you will also be around those who want to live! 🙂

  • The head can be so convincing it’s insane ! Thanks..I guess it’s about taking your life to a higher and higher level…other people have different dreams..so you can’t put yourself in their race..because You won’t be happy at their finish line :). Indeed..amongst the blogging world I am finding more and more ppl whose goals resonate with mine..

    • Jacqueline says:

      Indeed! That is an excellent point about putting yourself in other people’s race. I love that line: “You can’t put yourself in their race because you won’t be happy at their finish line.” Brilliant! Can I read that at my next Toastmaster’s meeting as our inspirational quote–giving you credit of course?

  • Dominic says:

    So I’ve read every post of yours from the beginning. This one is definitely my favorite. It’s a perfect mix of desire and ache and humility . I also enjoy hearing about China, as I spent a year teaching English in Beijing after graduating college. Looking forward to reading about more of your adventures.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you, Dominic! I’m amazed and impressed that you’ve read all of the posts. I have to agree with you. This one is also my favorite thus far. For me, it represents a turning point, and since you’ve read the other posts, you’re aware that I’ve referenced the “Delicious Ambiguity” quote a couple of times, more out of frustration and the need to let go. This time, it feels different!

      What year did you teach in Beijing?

      • Dominic says:

        I was there 2003-2004.

        “Delicious Ambiguity” — love it.

        • Jacqueline says:

          That Gilda was onto something! 2003-2004. That was definitely an interesting time to live there! I started living in rural Hunan province in 2006, lived in Beijing for the Olympics in 2008, and left Hangzhou in 2009. Will be adding a “travel” section shortly and will start to file my posts about China there for easier access. You might also appreciate some of the posts I wrote while living there on a blog I no longer post on: http://peachinchina.blogspot.com/ 你会说中国话吗?

          • Dominic says:

            Ha. No I don’t speak Chinese but I am a proficient user of internet tools. 🙂 Did you actually learn all the characters when you were there? If so that is quite impressive.

          • Jacqueline says:

            That would be impressive! There are about 50,000 characters in the Chinese language, so I definitely don’t know that many. You need about 4,000 to read a newspaper, and I know about 1,500/2,000—enough to write emails/send text messages. It’s a beautiful language though, definitely worth learning!

  • Paul says:

    At the risk of simplifying these deep thoughts you have been having, can I bring up the phrase “30 is the new 21?” Believe that, and you’re just getting started adventuring 🙂

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