Behind The Butter

Do What You Love

For my second post for You.Propelled I decided to write on how important it is do what you love. Propelโ€™s mission is to enhance your life, give you the ability to move through obstacles and live a more streamlined, energetic life. Life is just way too short to be miserable at your job because, hey, you spend the majority of your day working so if you are absolutely hating it, you hate most days. Not a great mentality to have. Most of you probably know my background. Since I was very, very young I always knew I was destined to be a writer. Words, to me, are air and I love the beauty of the written word and the curl of pages as you flip through your favorite book over and over again. I studied English Literature and creative writing in college, lived in France to study nonfiction and then shipped off to culinary school to learn everything about the art of cooking so I could be a better food writer. All of these stepping stones have led me to where I am now and I just love it.


However, it wasn’t always that way. As many of you know, right after I graduated culinary school I took a job baking bread. The job market was awful, my loan payments were trickling in and since I would be working nights, I thought I could get a ton of writing done during the day. Of course that didn’t happen. Does anything ever happen as we plan it? I was miserable working from 4am to lunch every single day. I’d keep up the positive image and smile but at night I would cry myself to sleep and most nights, not sleep at all. I was being underpaid, overworked and felt just plain old going to bed at seven o’clock every evening. In short, I was a miserable person.

On the day my little brother passed away I had been up since 3 am. I was awake for 50 hours with no sleep and the one thought that kept rushing into my mind, pushing its way through all my grief was that “I just can’t do this…I just can’t…I can’t” On the day of the funeral, I called and quit. I really didn’t give too much explanation; it was just something I had to do. You know when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you have to do something and there’s no other way? That was this. I couldn’t live my life being miserable at work and I knew what I had to do.

Since that day in April, I’ve thrown myself into my writing like never before. On the day that I quit, I made the pact to myself that I WAS going to make it as a writer. It’s hard, but people do do it. I got some great advice from my college mentor and set to work. Do I have it all together? No. Am I poor? In America’s viewpoint, most likely. I have bills and loan payments and life to deal with just like everyone else. But you know what? I love it. I love every second of it. For the first time in a very, very long time I feel like I’m actually living. I’ve had moments that take my breath away and then at the end of the day I get down on my knees and thank God for giving me strength to follow my heart. Truthfully, I’d rather not be able to shop at Whole Foods all the time or buy those new shoes than suffer through a job a hated just to make more money. In a culture driven on monetary worth, you will stand out a little bit by taking big risks. I can promise you that it’s worth it.

Jenna-Paris book store

I get emails from you all all the time asking me how I do it. My best advice? You’ve gotta really want it bad. Since that day I literally laid in the dirt and mourned my brother, making the decision that from here on out, I wouldn’t just survive, I would LIVE, I’ve been blessed in a million ways. Honestly, you will face rejection. As a writer, I face it all the time. However, you can’t let one person’s opinion stop you from living your dream. Get out there and make your dream come true. Start figuring out the roadmap to your highest goal and then get behind the wheel and drive. It might not happen tomorrow or the next day but if you want it bad enough, it will happen. And it all starts with a choice.

Jenna-Paris open door

This post is sponsored by Propelยฎ for the You.Propelled Program

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  • Diana
    September 21, 2009 at 7:44 am

    This is a really inspiring post Jenna. Thank you for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚
    And good luck, I’m sure you will be very successful!

  • Julie @savvyeats
    September 21, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Jenna, your post could not have come at a more perfect time for me! I’m a Food Science/Engineering student graduating in May. I’ve known for awhile that I didn’t want to be the stereotypical, super-technical engineer, but since I like doing Research and Development work, I stuck with my major. I know if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have made some of the most amazing friends ever–or even met my fiance!

    Now though, I’m questioning what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve interned with several big companies, and while I enjoyed my time there, I keep feeling like there might be something else out there for me. Consulting? Becoming an R.D? Going to culinary school?

    I have so many options, that it is hard to focus on what I want in the long run while still “living up to my potential.” You are right though; the key is to be happy, working to live, and not the other way around.

    Thank you so much for this post; it helped bring things into perspective!

  • Rebecca
    September 21, 2009 at 7:54 am

    This is such a great post! I’m glad you’re so happy with your life!

  • Lia
    September 21, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Nice post! Really good for those of us still in school to keep in mind. We are all so doused with the idea that we must get “good” jobs as dictated by standard society, that we forget to do and focus on what we love. Happiness is more important than a nice car, just like you said about buying shoes. I’m glad that you discovered this, and are still discovering it, and sharing it with us!

  • Lindsey (Mrs. LC)
    September 21, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Beautiful post, Jenna! If you’re not loving what you do, it’s pointless and time for a re-evaluation. Totally agree with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Susan
    September 21, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Wonderful post Jenna! I relate – a lot. I’m now in a job working 5am to noon. Working way too hard for what I get paid. I took it because I knew I was lucky to have it coming out of a journalism degree. Problem is, I don’t know what my dream is yet! I just have faith I’ll reach it someday ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on following yours!

  • Morgan (lifeafterbagels)
    September 21, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Oh Jenna – such a beautiful post, thank you! I feel exactly the same way and feel so lucky that I love my life too. A lot of people may not “get it” in regards to my choices, but I wouldn’t go through each day any differently.

  • Sarah
    September 21, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. And for your writing in general. Per usual, you never fail to inspire me and it’s always on the days when I’m about to break and need inspiration the most.

  • christie, honoring health
    September 21, 2009 at 8:18 am

    What an inspiring post, Jenna! I’m very happy for you!

  • Jac
    September 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

    inspiring, simple, and so true. I think we all know it, but we just need someone to knock it into our heads, and see it from an outsider’s perspective..
    Be strong!

  • Brie (The Fit Bride)
    September 21, 2009 at 8:36 am

    This is really inspiring to read–I just graduated and am pursuing a totally different career path than I always thought I would and than people expect of me, but I just can’t bring myself to lead a life that makes me miserable. I have a job interview today–I hope it goes well!

  • recipesforcreativity
    September 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I am so glad you wrote about this, Jenna. I’m glad you told us a little more about the feelings you had at that old job and what really happened to make you change. I had no clue how unhappy you were there, and I’m sure your other readers didn’t know, either!

    I truly believe we are all created to do amazing things: to heal and teach others, so inspire, and to live joyful lives. I am so, so glad that you are following your heart and talking about it here!

  • Erica
    September 21, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Beautiful, sister. Just beautiful…and just YOU. I’m so glad you are happy and fulfilled. Of course God promised nothing less if we trust in Him, no? LOVE YOU!

  • Sarah R
    September 21, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Such an inspirational post. Thank you Jenna!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    September 21, 2009 at 8:41 am

    This literally gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. What an inspiring, bittersweet story. You’re amazing.

  • Christina MINDFUL LIVING
    September 21, 2009 at 8:41 am

    i love posts like these. such a simple idea. of course we all know what it is you are saying. but why dont we all do it? things like this really make you stop for a second and think about life….things like this make you question things!

  • Rebekah
    September 21, 2009 at 8:43 am

    I liked your post. It is so very very true.

  • Emily (Healthy Fit Mama)
    September 21, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Thank you for this post, Jenna! How inspiring! It’s a reminder to me that, although it has been financially difficult to have been laid off from my job, I’m actually happier now because I’m not working at a job I dislike…and I have a real opportunity to do something that interests me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jaci
    September 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

    This was so inspiring! I’m at a similar place you were and this is really motivating to me. I love how you are always so honest about how you feel in your posts.

  • Rachel
    September 21, 2009 at 8:48 am


    This is such a wonderful post. I’m so glad you were able to figure out what was right for you and are going for it. I know your dreams will come true. Have a good day!

  • Callina
    September 21, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Great advice. You have a truly inspiring story to share. For me, and I know I’m not alone, the struggle comes in finding what is you love. I envy you and anyone else who has known in their heart what they wanted to do from the beginning. For the rest of us, just finding *that* is a daily struggle, and it’s really hard to make career decisions when you know you want to do something you’re passionate about, but you can’t find what that is. Or, if, like me, I’m discovering that what I’m passionate can’t be found in a paying job at all. So in that case, I am making some career decisions based on pragmatism, in order to support my family AND be able to do the things I love on my own time. I think it’s great if you can do what you love for a living, but I think it’s also important to recognize the many people who simply do what they *like* for a steady paycheck and then come home to what they *love.* Like you said, it’s definitely not all about making money…I wish more people in our society would realize that!

  • Nicole
    September 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Thank you for this post! I feel the same way about my life! We make enough money to live comfortably right now, but we don’t spend it on great furniture, another car, or an expensive flat screen TV. We spend it on things that we love. We may have only one car between us, but we have money for travel (we will only be in Europe for another year or so!), and money to complete in my triathlons and marathons all over the world. We are so happy and healthy, and honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

  • Kristen
    September 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Jenna- you are wise beyond your years. Then again, you’ve had to deal with more than you should have, so I supposed you’ve been forced into it. But it is true- no job is worth crying yourself to sleep over.
    You ARE making it as a writer, and you’ll continue to do so with your attitude.

  • Sarah
    September 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Girl, this post hit me in the gut. I don’t care much for my job and my goal is to do something in the field I am passionate about — health/fitness, nutrition, etc. I also like to write, I got a Bachelor’s degree in English. I just need a plan. I need to want it as badly as you did. Thanks for the inspiration! I’d much rather be poor and happy too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • leslie
    September 21, 2009 at 8:58 am

    this post is so powerful, jenna. i relate to so many of your words. thanks you, so much, for writing this!

  • Jenna
    September 21, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Those words hold such passion and truth. Thank you for your inspiring words, I wish I would have thought that way when I was in college!

    I think many of us will be sitting in our cubes today wondering if we are really living, lol.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Allie
    September 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

    thank you for writing this jenna.

  • Stephanie
    September 21, 2009 at 9:08 am

    This is a great message, but I’d like to add something to it– there IS something to be said for sticking with a job you might not absolutely love or toughing out a situation when you need to. It is hard out there and a lot of us don’t have the luxury of being able to move back home, etc until you “make it”… it’s not giving up new shoes/whole foods… it’s trying to buy groceries, period, and decisions like that. I admire you a great deal for the tests you have been through and love reading your views on health and fitness. But, why do we have to feel bad about ourselves because we wake up, work long hours each day, and provide for everything we need– there’s no shame in that!

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance)
    September 21, 2009 at 9:10 am

    such a great post — wjust what I needed on a Monday morning ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Madelin @ What is for breakfast?
    September 21, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Fantastic post! I completely agree with you and did a similar thing myself this year quitting my job as a lawyer because I hated it :). Best thing I ever did!

  • Steph
    September 21, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Awesome post Jenna! Just what I needed to hear

  • Matt
    September 21, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Great post. I really hope that I end up doing something that I enjoy when I graduate.

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness)
    September 21, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Very awesome post, Jenna. You know, for the longest time, I defined myself by what I did or by what I accomplished. But it’s about WHO YOU ARE, not WHAT YOU DO! My family and my husband have never been prouder of me now that I’ve followed my dreams. No I’m not rich or famous, but as a health educator, I teach people how to overcome their addictions, and as a blog writer, which I do purely for fun, I finally get to do what I’ve always wanted to do: help other people who want to reclaim their lives from addictions (such as eating disorders) or who just want to live more balanced lives. I never thought such an unconventional path could bring so much happiness, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I’m giving back.

  • Jolene (
    September 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I love this post Jenna – thank you.

  • Meg
    September 21, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Wonderfully written and very inspiring post! I love the fact that you said you truly feel like you are living! That is SO awesome! Thanks for this incredible post!

  • Madeline @ Greens and Jeans
    September 21, 2009 at 9:33 am

    It is truly amazing what we can do without if we are doing things that we love!

  • Stephanie
    September 21, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I LOVE this piece, thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration Jenna ๐Ÿ™‚ You really know how to follow your passions/dreams and I wish that I had the guts to do that sometimes – even though I like my job and it pays very well – it’s not my passion and I wonder if I will forever maintain a happy life doing it? You are such a positive inspiration to everyone, and I love reading your posts every day!

  • Cara (Cara Craves...)
    September 21, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is nice to read the words from someone you has so much passion for life. I love how you have taken those low times in your life and have turned them into positive learning experiences. Sometimes I find it hard to see the bigger (future) picture in my life, but I just trust in God, knowing that he has a plan mapped out for me.

    “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
    Proverbs 19:21

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    September 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

    THank you so much for this post. I made me cry remembering what you went through and how much happier you seem now that you are doing what you love instead of what you think you “have” to do. I am so blessed to read how you are growing each day.

    You reminded me of why I do what I do. By anyone else’s standards this (pastoring) is a low paying job, with long hours, and not a lot of appreciation. But I am truly happy doing what I am doing because I know that God called me to this and it makes me happy. He gives me the strength to make it through the day and to not have what everyone else has but I’m happy. And that’s all that matters… I’m happy in my Lord’s service.

    Thank you again for this post and sharing who you are.

  • Courtney
    September 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Great post! After being in the corporate world for years and being a “big shot” my company closed and suddenly I had no idea what I was going to be when I “grew up.” I’m slowly finding my way and decided to do a sprint triathlon and become a personal trainer. Will I ever be rich? Probably not. Am I happier already and more relaxed? Damn right! I wish you luck on your path as you find your way!

    Adventures in Tri-ing

  • Callie
    September 21, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I absolutely LOVE this post. It is SO true. I am a licensed attorney and practiced family law when I got out of law school. I hated it. Absolutely hated waking up and going to work every day. Thank God, I am no longer practicing family law. I now work back at my law school, and while I don’t make nearly the money I could, and while I sometimes feel like I’m wasting my law degree, I am LOVING every day at my job. And I’ve been here for over six months. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life is good when you do something you love!

  • Erin
    September 21, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Thank you for summing up my own thoughts perfectly. When I decided to spend a couple of years traveling and living abroad after graduation, a lot of people thought I was crazy. But I’m doing what makes ME happy and that’s the most important thing. Sounds like you’re enjoying this new phase of your life, too.

  • Cait (Cait's Plate)
    September 21, 2009 at 10:05 am

    This was an awesome post Jenna. Beautifully written with an amazing message. You defintely have a future in writing!

  • Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life
    September 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Great Post Jenna, Totally inspiring and I needed it right now.. I am having major career issues and basically just not happy with my life. Thanks so much!

  • Jenna
    September 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

    jenna this such a great post! it is so true you really NEED to do what you LOVE…you will feel so much better doing something you enjoy doing! for me this year at college i finalyl declared my major as nursing and i could not be any happier! school is so much better and i love all of my classes because they are interesting to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anne P
    September 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic post! ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxoo

  • Casey
    September 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Fabulous post Jenna! I’m so glad to know you are doing what you love, at all costs! I am doing the same and I couldn’t go back now…it makes my whole heart and soul light up with joy, warmth and radiant light. I see it does the same for you!

    Keep doing it girl ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Food Makes Fun Fuel
    September 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

    That’s a really powerful and lovely story with a great message. Thank you for being so open and honest.

  • Kamaile
    September 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

    When times get tough for me I keep thinking, what I desire is on it’s way. You are wonderful. Thanks for the positive message today!

  • Amy
    September 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Umm, are you talking directly to me? Your post is like, the message that needs to hit me over the head like a baseball bat. I read this just as I was in the midst of submitting a job application because my current job is not doing it for me. I had been trying to be patient for things to happen on God’s time, but perhaps, the time is nigh, and God wants me to take the initiative, rather than wait for things to fall into place. I find that to be a hard call to make! Hrmmm

  • kelly
    September 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Great post. I wish I had followed your advice and listened to my heart when my brother died 15 years ago. I admire you – keep doing what feels right!!!

  • skinnyrunner
    September 21, 2009 at 10:21 am

    as always, another great, inspiring post! with writing like this, there’s no doubt you’ll make it as a writer!!!

  • chandra h
    September 21, 2009 at 10:22 am

    jenna, this post brought tears! I can’t say how awesome and amazing and inspiring I think what you’ve done/are doing is. you are SO BEAUTIFUL (inside&out), and a highly gifted writer. may all joy and miracles continue to come to you in your life and work, and thank you for your spirit in this blog.

    love, chandra

  • amber
    September 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Such a great and inspiring post. Good for you Jenna!!

  • AprilBinTX
    September 21, 2009 at 10:28 am


    This is a very poingnant post – I’m currently struggling with finding a way to pursue my dreams and I think you’re exactly right – you have to want it BAD and you have to make sacrifices. Thank you for sharing your story and continuing to allow us to follow your journey.

  • anne
    September 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

    EXACTLY what I needed to read today!!!

  • Chelsea
    September 21, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Girl, you are so inspiring! I am in my senior year of college and about to start grad for one year (accelerated program) and then be out in the real world. I dont know exactly where I am going and question my major all the time.
    Thanks so much for this post and this will def stay in my head and make me think things over for a long time to come!

  • Madeleine @ Notes On A Page
    September 21, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Great post! Loved this line: “In a culture driven on monetary worth, you will stand out a little bit by taking big risks.” You’re definitely not alone in this viewpoint! It can be frustrating sometimes, but at the end of the day, all that matters is if you are happy with yourself and your life.

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love
    September 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for such a greatly inspiring post. I agree with Julie, this post came at a perfect time. I am wondering what I want to do with my life too. Thanks to your post, I know that I have to follow my passion (all things food!).

    This was a great way to start a new week — Happy Monday!

  • Dorothy
    September 21, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Great post Jenna! Very motivating. I’m going to go home and reassess my ‘roadmap’ and get back on track for my goals, because, you’re right, you have do just DO it yourself, certainly no one else will do it for you! Thank you for your words!

  • Dotsie
    September 21, 2009 at 11:00 am

    This post is really awesome, and really inspirational. This is just what I needed to read today.

    Good for you for pursuing your dreams and not letting anyone stand in the way.

    You are awesome!

  • Nicole
    September 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Jenna, this is a truly beautiful post. I feel like I could have written it exactly!

  • Amy
    September 21, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Thank you, Jenna! What an inspirational post from someone who has been so much. I often feel overwhelmed by the enormity of becoming a Natural Foods Chef and giving up a cushy job. I hold off on writing my proposals because that means that I might get rejected…I’m sure you know how it all goes. But you’re right – if others can do it, so can I! So in honor of your bravery and everything you’ve been through I’m going to right that darn first proposal tonight and take some real steps toward my dream ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jen (Running With Cake)
    September 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

    You write every day. You pour your heart and soul into your writing every day. You inspire others EVERY day. Jenna – You ARE a writer. The only one who has the power to change that is you. Never stop writing and never lose sight of your dream.

  • Lizzie
    September 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the post and your passion and energy!! You have truly been through a lot in a short amount of time and have no doubt that many great opportunities await you in the world of writing (and running!).

  • Anne Marie@ New Weigh of Life
    September 21, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Awesome post, Jenna!! Thank you for being so inspiring!

  • J@ Whole Body Love
    September 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    What an inspiring post!

  • Julia
    September 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    What a beautiful and inspiring post. I really admire you for your honesty and strength. You’re so powerful and I think you’re an incredible writer and person too!
    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  • Sarah
    September 21, 2009 at 11:24 am

    You are a fantastic writer and that is a great post.

    I have to admit that this post makes me feel guilty though. I went to business school and work in finance. I don’t love my job, but I like it. And I love the life I am able to have because of it. I have been financial independant since I was 21, have travelled all over the world, and have been able to pursue hobbies that I love. I am certainly not wealthy but I like knowing I can take care of all my bills, save for the future and not rely on other people. I’m practical to a fault, that is for sure!

    Good luck with your career as a writer. It seems to be going great so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jen (Running With Cake)
    September 21, 2009 at 11:35 am

    You write every day. You pour your heart and soul into your writing ever day. You inspire your readers every day. Make no mistake about it – you ARE a writer. The only person who can change that is you. Never stop writing and never stop reaching for your dream.

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    September 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

    This post is so inspirational and powerful. Thank you for sharing this with us Jenna. I have no doubt that you will make it as a writer. It is obvious to me that you live life to the fullest, with passion, and it shows. You are an awesome, powerful woman.

  • Molly
    September 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I LOVE this post for so many reasons! I feel like I am in the exact same spot as you right now. I am DETERMINED to make it as a writer and finally do ME! Knowing that I am not the only one seriously gives me so much drive to keep going (because it does get really tough some times).
    here’s a quote I have on my facebook that I think you might find describes it all perfectly:
    “She always lived for tomorrow.
    Sheโ€™s never learned how to live for today.
    She’s dying to try something foolish, do something crazy, or just get away.
    Something for herself for a change.”

    Happy Monday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • angieinatlanta
    September 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Amazing post!

    I share your viewpoint – I’m a teacher and I don’t make a lot of money or even get that much respect from my family (who values financial success above all) but I LOVE what I do and I feel fulfilled. That’s all that really matters!

  • Kailey (SnackFace)
    September 21, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Jenna, I am sitting in Alden Library with tears in my eyes. This post is beautiful and absolutely what we need to read/hear/see constantly. I will come back to this post in times of stress and pressure and hopefully be relieved. You are truly extraordinary and I am so thankful to be able to read about you and your life daily. Thank you!

  • Jamie
    September 21, 2009 at 11:56 am

    That post was so moving/motivating. You are absolutely right… LIVING your life is a must. I have been struggling lately with what I want to do w/ my life. I am happy at home but my job… it’s just not fullfilling. I do like it but I just feel as if I need MORE out of life and my job. I am struggling with what I want to do. Ugh! So hard because money makes the world go round and you get sucked into a certain lifestyle where its hard to change that.
    LOVE that post!

  • Amandamoo
    September 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Oh sweetie,
    It was a lovely written piece but you just shopped at Whole Foods yesterday! Oops! Those apples are so expensive! I could never afford Honeycrisp so I’ve never had one!!! And I can’t believe how much Kombucha’s are! Oy!

  • tmo
    September 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I do agree that this is a good post, but it really isn’t that simple always. Life would be very different for many people if money wasn’t an issue, but the truth is- it IS an issue. Yeah, sacrificing whole foods and new shoes is one thing, but you still need to be able to put food on the table and pay the rent. I’ve been feeling the same way as you have lately, but I don’t have the luxury of just ‘following my heart’ without the consequences financially. I am SO HAPPY that this is working out for you and that you have found peace in your life, but I feel so parts of your post oversimplified the issue.
    Best of luck in the continuation of your journey!

  • Gloria
    September 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Jenna, you are an amazing writer. Your posts are so inspiring to me and I always feel so awesome after reading them. I have this amazing, well paying job that I busted my butt in college for, but I’m passionate about so many things that it’s making it tough for me to decide what is truly going to make me happy in life. I love what I do. I just need to smile and LIVE! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • christine
    September 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    hey jenna i love your writing! your blog is even my homepage because it reminds me to eat healthy and run and i just love reading your posts!! i’m training for a half marathon in november! good luck with everythinggggg ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nicci@NiftyEats
    September 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Great article, you reallly have to do what you love to truely be happy. I 1005 believe this and am workig towards that kind of lifestyle right now. I have to do things for myself and follow my dreams.

  • Meredith (Pursuing Balance)
    September 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I LOVE this post!!!! Very inspiring. Have you read the Success Principles by Jack Canfield? He’s the guy who came up with the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. It’s magnificent and I think you’d get a lot out of it.

  • Kristin (Kristin's Nibbles)
    September 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    What an amazing post. It’s true- you won’t be happy unless you do what YOU love, not what everyone else wants you to do.


  • Jackie
    September 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks so much for your inspiring post! It really makes me motivated to map out my personal goals and where I want to be and what I have a passion for.
    I was going to ask you if you still have the post you created for how you found yoga and how it helped you…I was trying to find it the other day and couldn’t seem to find it.
    Thanks and have a great day!

  • Jackie
    September 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks so much for your inspiring post. It made me really think about my own personal plan and what I have a passion for.

    I was going to ask you if you still had your yoga post from where you wrote about how you started yoga and how it helped you. I was trying to find it the other day…but couldn’t seem to locate it.

    Thanks so much! Have a great day.

  • Lizzy
    September 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    You are such an inspiration to me Jenna! i just wanted to Thank you!

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
    September 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    This post was beautiful. I couldn’t agree more – DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Spending 8 hrs. a day miserable in a job you hate just isn’t worth it. I’m so happy you’re happier. I also worked in a job I hated and it consumes your thoughts and is physically exhausting. It’s so much better to do something you enjoy and I’m glad you’ve found that!

  • Tina
    September 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for this post.

  • Mary
    September 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    What a great post! I have a son in college right now pursuing his dream to be an actor. He has received so many negative comments about his choice of career! It makes me sad every time some one says to him…”you know, being an actor isn’t easy and you may never make it”. But you know what? He believes in himself and just brushes those comments off. I support him and am so proud that he is so strong!

  • Lauren
    September 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    As usual, I love your post, Jenna! I too majored in Creative Writing in college, and went on to get an MFA in Fiction at NYU. I know that writing (exclusively) is my destiny, but for now, I have a full-time job and write on the side. Sometimes, the idea of quitting my job and committing myself to writing full-time is incredibly appealing. Other times, it’s terrifying. I feel as though I’m at a crossroads right now, but know that I will ultimately make the choice that is right for me. No matter what happens, I will always be a writer!

    All the best to you. You are a great writer, very real and relatable. I look forward to reading more your published work someday!

  • Shannon
    September 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Wow, you have inspired me!

  • Stefanie
    September 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    It’s great that you’re pursuing something you love Jenna! I always wanted to write myself and, after 9 years in a job that pays the bills but doesn’t seem quite so fulfilling, I’m finally starting to get some stuff published! And you’re right… it’s great to do what you love!

  • nickee
    September 21, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Great post…and it’s so true.. You need to do what you love. I’m in a situation right now where I have to stick with what I’m doing but maybe down the road when I have the freedom I can explore other options!! Whatever you do though dont ever stop writing this blog… I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Felicia
    September 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for this post today, Jenna! I really smiled when I read it. When I was a senior in college, most of my friends were interviewing for finance jobs. I knew that this was something that I really didn’t want to do and pursued another path even though I felt pretty lost at the time. I am not completely in love with my job, but I generally go to work happy almost every day. I think the true blessing for you is that you know what you are meant to do in life! That is so wonderful. I’m still trying to figure that part out, but I can absolutely say that my job makes me happy which is good enough for now!

  • Jennie {in Wonderland}
    September 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Jenna. This is just an amazing post. You are, and continue to be, an inspiration to me.

    My brother is going to Afghanistan for 7 months, and I constantly imagine the horrible what-ifs and I think, “but he is the only person who knew me as a child… besides my parents, he is IT” and it is terrifying and I just want to cry and curl up in a bed and never get out until he is home and safe.

    BUT I read blogs like yours and I think, wow, this girl is BAD ASS and strong and yes, you have your times, but you work through them and it is sooo inspiring. This post just SPOKE to me. I completely get the drive to write, and the love of words. I wish I could make a living doing what you’re doing … maybe someday. For now, I’ll just enjoy your blog and I’ll try not to be so scared anymore.

    Thanks, Jenna. <3

  • Jessica
    September 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing Jenna. As always, your posts are so inspiring. And like others, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in my last semester before student teaching, i’ll be graduating in May, and i’ve come to the realization that I just don’t want to teach. I guess I kinda got into teaching because all little girls want to be teachers at some point right? I never realized what I really wanted to do with my life until last year and then I thought it was too late. And here I am about to graduate with a degree in something that my heart just isn’t in. I was sitting in class today in fact begging God to do something, change something, show me what i’m supposed to do and give me the courage to do it. I hate to quit now and waste all the money I and my parents have put into my college career but my heart just is not in it. I REALLY want to do something with nutrition and food – maybe get my R.D. or go to culinary school, I don’t know for sure, i just know that i’m not where I should be and I don’t know what to do about it.

  • Catherine
    September 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    That was beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing and being so open and honest.

    I am about to turn 26 years old and not sure what I want to do with my life yet. I have a job that I like and that pays the bills… but it just isn’t what I want to do forever. You’re story about quitting and following your passion is very inspirational. I love to write and have always wanted to find a way to make that my career…. Thank you for your words of inspiration.

  • Errign
    September 21, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I was going to write a really long and wordy comment, but I will leave it at this – you are an inspiration, pure and simple. I love reading about your life and the way you deal with challenges.

  • Julie @savvyeats
    September 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Jenna, I know I already commented today, but I am just so impressed by how many people your post has touched! You are so inspirational. Thank you for doing what YOU love!

  • Johanna
    September 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Simply Amazing. You are truley Amazing. I admire you, thankyou for sharing your story Jenna. I believe you will go far with writing… and I KNOW God has a beautiful ending to your story. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison
    September 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Great post Jenna!
    As a medical student the pressure to get a well paying job is high and with the mountain of debt I will have it certainly makes sense. However, I did not go to medical school to make money and your post just reminded me that I will be a lot happier helping those who need it than being rich. It’s all about following your passion no matter what and I’m happy you are able to follow yours.

  • Blaine
    September 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Jenna, this post brought me to tears.

    I’m at a real juncture in my life and just recently decided to make a huge life change to follow my dream and go against what was expected for most people of 21 years old. That is so hard, but I feel it in my bones that I must do it or give up a chance for something wonderful and completely fulfilling – choosing life. The message of following your heart is an everlastingly valuable one. Your affirmation in this post was so great to read, thank you thank you.

  • Ann
    September 22, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Very inspirational. I have recently taken a very hard emotional blow and have been dealing with some intense personal problems. I was having a hard time getting up and going to work every day so I made the decision to sell my house and cut down to part time, so I, too. could pursue writing and go back to school to pursue a career in bariatrics and sports medicine (yes, I am going to attempt to go to medical school). Thank you for writing this ๐Ÿ™‚ It just reaffirmed my choice!

  • Emily
    September 22, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Thanks for this post. I have recently graduated and didn’t get that job that I always thought was there. I also haven’t given myself permission to be happy anyway. It’s important to try to do what you love- and be happy- even if other things in life don’t work out, and you’ve reminded me of that fact.

  • Emmanuelle
    September 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Hi Jenna,

    Thank you so much for such an inspiring post, which comes at a perfect time for me.
    My job is ok, but I didn’t really choose it, and I don’t LOVE it. I have the feeling that there is something else for me somewhere, I just have to figure out what it is ๐Ÿ˜‰ and work to reach my goals!
    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” R.W. Emerson

  • holly
    September 22, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I started today feeling down… the pressures of the day and the non-stop activites to come were heavy on my mind and heart… but after reading this post I know I can make it through the day– You are SUCH a strong woman– I hope to meet you one day perhaps at a blog summit event or something! You INSPIRE me- constantly! You have the true heart of God– a servants heart!

    **May God Bless you through and through!!**

  • sassy molassy
    September 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    yes, this is an AWESOME post. props to you for figuring it out so soon and making it work!

  • Lisa
    September 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. It truly hit home for me.


  • Lester
    September 23, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Inspirational to say the least. This gives me strength and direction when I’m facing the crossroads in my life now. Thank you, must have been a god-sent for me to read this. I’m very happy for you, and how you live life is something I want to be able to mimic in the future.

  • anna
    September 27, 2009 at 2:08 am

    beautiful! thank you for sharing this. i too am changing gears…just quit a restaurant job that left me feeling abused and undervalued, and now I’m following my dream, whatever that might be! every day, i tell myself i can do anything, and i’m proud of myself for not doing what’s safe. i know we can all thrive doing what we really love. <3

  • Meghan
    October 26, 2009 at 11:02 am


    This is an incredible post. Very, very inspiring. I’m catching up on your whole site after being away for weeks. Great job and congrats on the move!


  • Kristin @ thefreshfind
    June 23, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I can’t tell you how amazing this post is. It is very inspiring and completely applies to this time in my life. I also am reading your posts about moving across country and I am thinking about making a move from California to Texas and I feel the same way!! It is amazing to see how much you and your blog have grown since the start of it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharla
    January 4, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I so needed this post today! Just stumbled across it from your current post, and now, having read your book and following your blog – this is SO inspiring!!! Look at all your dreams coming true because you worked hard and didn’t give up! LOVE IT!

  • Sierra
    May 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I know you wrote this post 3 1/2 years ago, but I somehow am just now reading it. I needed this SO much today. The job I have? I like it. It’s not what I want to do forever. I’ve been toying with starting a blog AND looking into launching my own business (bakery/cafe) and this is just what I needed to push me over the edge. With big risks come big rewards, right? Thanks, Jenna. (And congratulations on your upcoming nuptuals! Marriage isn’t always easy but I can’t imagine the last 5 years of my life without my husband. Blessings to you both!)