Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Year of the Zen Jen

I started the year of 2017 grumpy and almost broken. 2016 wasn’t a great year in general but I think most feel that way. I wasn’t sure what 2017 would bring me. To my surprise, it brought a glorious amount of change. Change in the world? Meh, not so much. Change in wealth? I can’t complain. What it did bring was more than any materialistic item could bring. 2017 brought me peace. 

I joined Planet Fitness at the end of  January. Yep I’m one of those New Years resolutions type, but I really joined to help empower my niece Sarah, who I take out a few times a week for community living skills building. Sarah has a cognitive disability that can be challenging and I thought teaching her how to workout and eat right was a great thing for her to learn. Turned out I was learning from her! She would plan for us to go to the gym on certain days, and she made me stick to it, she’s not one to let you forget plans you made! I started to work out and was feeling pretty good. I started coining the phrase for myself #yearofthejen. 

At work, I have always been a bit of a hard nut to crack about changes. I admit it, I wasn’t always open to new ideas that were taking away human elements of my job. In April, we have our annual staff retreat and something just clicked in my brain. I will forever thank my colleagues Assaf and Ankit for sparking that change. They explained to me the importance of machine learning and the difference of automation. It was mind blowing. I went away with a whole new perspective of how Crisis Text Line is truly innovative and supportive to our community and texters. 
I was seeing a difference in my attitude from workouts and seeing a fresh approach to all the things I was learning at work.

May, I decide it’s time to become a mermaid. My friend and amazing tattoo artist Cheryl, created a design for my mastectomy tattoo. It was mermaid shells for the breasts and gorgeous jewels and such on the torso. And on the left breast when the tumors were it says ‘I’m the strongest girl I know’.   I begin the process and it truly made me cry with the first session and looking in the mirror and not seeing my scars. The transformation truly began.

June, 1/2 way through the year yikes! My oldest graduates from High school, feeling proud and old but more proud. I work hard to pull off a grad party that was family oriented and it went so well. (I love planning parties even if I have massive stomach issues caused by anxiety of doing it: worth it) Next, I go to a conference called BlogHer in Florida. I was invited to speak there and truly felt appreciated and heard for my stories of my own mental health journey but for the love I have for what I do at Crisis Text Line. Side note: I got to hug a Sloth! A SLOTH! item checked from my bucket list! 

After my return from Florida it’s time to travel again, this time with the family and we are heading to Nepal. 
Nepal, its magical, mystical and soul finding perfection. We went there to help underprivileged kids but we went away with a new family but I went away with even more change. New coined phrase #zenjen. My attitude changed drastically, things that would irk me before were nothing anymore. I realized that not everyone is going to be happy with change but change is inevitable and so it’s all about how you embrace it. You can go down fighting and burn in the flames. Or you can say “Why not Coconut” (a phrase I learned from the kids at CYF). How will I know if I don’t like it if I don’t try it. 

In August, we move Z into college and he starts his new adventure and it reminded me of how innocent life can be and the energy and spark of trying something new. Z reminded me of that. 

October, the annual Crisis Text Line Palooza in Atlanta. Seeing the amazing volunteers and truly feeling the love and energy from them was overwhelming but in the most magical way. I may have been drained every night but it was worth it to feel so much positive energy in every session I was in to the amazing talks on the main stage. There’s nothing like it. 

So as the year is ending, Zen Jen will remain and I think I’ll extend the Year of the Jen to 2018. I have grown so much this year. I’m proud of the changes I have made mentally and physically this year. So thank you to all of those who have helped me grow and become the beautiful soul I believe I am. Normally I would kick the years ass and say see ya and don’t wanna be ya, but this year, I’ll hand the batons to 2018 gracefully and continue on my new found peace. 

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