This post is part of what’s called the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour, a virtual “tour” where 20 women post on 20 different days about their lives and what has helped them feed their soul, free their body and love their life. The Tour is run by Katie Den Ouden (who is an absolute GEM) and I couldn’t have jumped faster on the opportunity when she asked me to be a part of this amazing idea. Check out the full line up of women posting as part of the tour here.
Katie asked us to talk about what makes us feel wild, free, and alive. Amazing topic, right? So here goes…
There is one time in my life that sticks out far and above any other in terms of me feeling completely and utterly alive…
It was about 5 years after college, and I had been working at a Financial Technology firm. I had worked my way up to a great position, was well respected in the company, and had a ton of responsibility for my age.
Things were definitely good and I could have stayed there for who knows how long.
But I remember feeling like this little part of me was dead inside.
Pretty dramatic, right?
Those were actually the words I used to describe the way I felt to my friends and family. And it made me really sad to feel this way.
But leaving scared the shit out of me. I longed to do something in health and nutrition, but it was such a complicated field, I didn’t know if I “knew” enough to actually go into it, and I was also insecure about my own body and weight to feel like I could even begin to teach other people about that kinda thing.
After almost two years of deliberation, I finally worked up the courage to leave. I will never forget telling my boss who I looked up to and absolutely loved that I was leaving. To date, it was one of the hardest conversations of my life. I felt like I was leaving family behind.
But I knew I couldn’t go through life feeling like there was literally a part of me that was dead.
I left my job with the intention of going to an Ivy League school to get my Masters In Nutrition. I told everyone that was plan, I enrolled in 4 pre-requisite courses in NYC and started taking classes throughout the Fall and was working on getting my application ready.
Everyone was so proud and so supportive.
But they weren’t proud and supportive of what I did next…
Two weeks before finals for my 4 classes, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish. For a straight A student who has consistently pushed herself for her entire life, this was so mind-boggling to me. WTF is wrong with me?
I would go to coffee shops to get the work done and just stare at my books.
I would bribe myself with my favorite foods if I got x hours of work done. Nothing.
I broke it up in chunks, tried to make it fun, did every freakin’ thing I possibly could to get this done. “Only two more weeks Jamie, come on, what is wrong with you. You’ve gotten through gruesome academics before, why can’t you do this??”
But there was some force greater than me that would not let me do this work. I couldn’t do it.
I remember calling my Dad crying, absolutely bewildered and telling him I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I just couldn’t go through with this.
I took a step back and asked myself what was going on.
Once I faced this resistance, I realized that I didn’t want to go to yet another 3 years of school. It wasn’t the right path for me. I just wanted to start my business immediately.
I had an appointment with a Coach I was working with (about something entirely different) and before our session was over she said “Is something else bothering you? I feel like there is something else.”
And I said, “yes but it has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.”
To which she replied “it all has to do with everything. Everything is related.”
So I told her everything. How everyone thought I was applying to an Ivy League school but I just don’t want to do this. But I’m scared shitless to not go back to school. How could I possibly be ready to start my business now? Like, today? My parents would be so pissed. There is no security in doing it this way. I can’t, I can’t… but I want to so bad.
And she said to me, “Jamie, you are BURSTING at the seams to start your business. You have everything it takes. You need to start now. And you are not even going to apply to this school. Not even apply. Ok?”
And that was that. I left that meeting with the best feeling in the world. I was going to do this.
I told my parents and friends I wasn’t going to get my Masters Degree and honestly,it was the first time in my life that a lot of people questioned my decisions. People thought it was impulsive, that I wasn’t thinking it through, that I wasn’t be smart about it.
People thought I was making a big mistake.
But I held my ground and for the first time in my life, I trusted myself more than anyone else.
And this is when I started to feel so alive.
I felt alive because I was stripping away layers and layers of “shoulds” – of doing what I thought I was supposed to. I felt alive because I was letting life get messy and embracing it. I felt alive because I was following a dream, taking a risk, and starting something I believed in. I felt alive because I felt SO close to myself, knowing that I always had the woman I am to fall back on. She would always be there. And I felt alive because I was following my intuition – that part of me that wouldn’t physically let me go through with getting my Masters and instead was trying so hard to shout from the rooftops that starting my business was what was going to finally wake me up.
Once I felt that feeling, I never wanted to let it go. It was such a new feeling to me, but I knew that it was how I was supposed to feel. Like, ahhhh… so thiissss is how it’s supposed to be!
And now, I create my life from a place of wanting to feel fully alive.
- When I started dating shortly after, I followed my intuition instead of my brain. Who makes me feel alive? Who lights me up? Who do I always want to be with? That line of feeling led me to my boyfriend now who I can’t get enough of.
- When dealing with shitty, sad, or upsetting things. How can I deal with this in a way that makes me feel alive? How can I FEEL this instead of using food to cope? Choosing to feel alive instead of turning to food helped me shed 40 pounds.
- When creating my business, I try to always think of what inspires me. What makes something inside of me giddy? What gives me that I can’t-stop-smiling feeling of excitement?
- When thinking of how to move my body, what kind of movement fires me up? What moves my body AND my spirit? What can I get excited about?
I never want to say that part of me feels dead inside again. Because that’s not what life is for. It’s for feeling completely ALIVE.
Now, it’s your turn. I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions with every part of your life, from your career to the clothes you choose to wear tomorrow:
Does this make me feel alive?
Does this wake up or shut down my spirit?
Does this make me giddy?
Does this light me up?
Does this energize me?
And if your answer is no to these questions, I want to encourage you to find more things that make you feel alive and let yourself experience those feelings.
And once you feel those feelings, never let them go. It’ll take constant re-evaluation, lots of learning, and tons of trial and error, but stay determined to feel those feelings. You deserve to feel completely alive in this life.
Now that you’ve read my little jam about feeling alive, check out Caroline’s post from yesterday (you won’t want to miss this one) who wrote about the question that changed her life. And tomorrow, check in with Shari ! Again, the full line up for the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour is here.