Beyond The Pages — An Introduction and Jumping Right In

I’m a pretty open person and I’ve certainly shared a lot about my life here on the blog and elsewhere on Twitter but I’ve put off this idea I’ve had for a while because it scares me. What idea you ask? Well, it’s nothing huge but, as I read, I often want to have conversations with people because books make me think, they bring up things from my past that I want to reflect upon and they really just connect us. Some of my best conversations have happened privately because of books and talking about our shared experiences. Sometimes I’ve thrown in a few sentences in a review but I feel like I don’t want to make my review becomes this huge paragraph of my personal life. But I SO want to give myself the opportunity to share a bit of myself with you (things from my past, random musings, things I’m facing now) when these things come up in books and maybe perhaps learn a little bit about you if you’ll allow? So that’s just what my Beyond the Pages segment is going to be — random things from books that I connected with and want to share. Nothing fancypants. Let’s get right into it. I’ll admit I’m scared though to talk about some of these things that I know I’m going to talk about which could range from my greatest fears, how I was in college, losing my mom or maybe we’ll swap dating stories and the craziest thing I ever did.


So I read Golden by Jessi Kirby recently. My review will go up on Monday but SPOILER ALERT: I adored it and it made me journal for the first time in a while. I’m not going to give anything away but I really connected to the main character Parker in some ways. One of the biggest ways was how she struggled to step outside her comfort zone and kind of played life by the rules — and not always the ones that she set for herself. She let a lot of people and things dictate what she did and didn’t really let herself step out of that and discover who SHE really is. She didn’t let herself always be in the moment but rather just focused on the logistics of the GETTING THERE in regards to the future rather than really living.

In Golden, a teacher poses the question on the board, a quote from Mary Oliver, that reads:


(Image from this Etsy shop where my sister bought me this printable — she has really lovely stuff but I don’t see this one up anymore)

I’ve always loved this line and it fit this story perfectly. It’s a sentiment I think about often when I’m just going about my day or when I hear someone say YOLO (haha as tacky as that phrase seems). It’s been hard for me to think about this concept though lately. I feel like I’m in a weird phase in my life where I just don’t quite know where I am. A little lost even. I lost my job a week before my wedding. I got married. I moved out of my house. I still haven’t found a job. I’ve felt like I lost my identity a little bit. Not because my career was ever my identity, because even at my last job I felt a sense of discontent, but because I’m just in this place where I’m asking myself, “What’s next?” “Who am I?” “What do I represent and want to live for?“What are my passions?” “At the end of the day will I feel satisfied by how I’ve lived?

And I hate that I feel like I have absolutely no concrete answer for myself. WHO AM I? It should be easy, right?

It feels incredibly hard for me to answer that. I put up a good front these days but a lot of times I cry when I sit home by myself. I’m discouraged. I’m feeling like my one wild and precious life is spent sitting behind the computer looking for jobs or doing nothing because we literally cannot afford it. Sometimes at the end of the day I will try to think about what I did all day and it mostly consists of the computer and I feel like if this was my last day on earth I would be really, really sad with how I lived it. And I hate feeling like that because I know I can’t get that time back when I feel unsatisfied with what I did. Like what did I actually do with my life today? Some days I have absolutely nothing of significance that I contributed to life. I know every day isn’t going to be a party but I feel like I need something meaningful even if it is just a wonderful conversation or a hike with my husband.

I have a sort of secret project I’m working on this year that is helping me to combat these negative feelings in a time where I’m just lost.  I’m trying really hard to be proactive to help myself really LIVE this wild and precious life I have right now even if it’s hard — instead of cowering in a corner and crying in my beer about it.

I’m sick of living passively and watching other people live the life I want.

I’m sick of  not doing things because I’m scared.

I’m sick of letting other people hold me back from things I want to do or trying to please everybody.

I’m  sick of not living more fully and intentionally.

I’m sick of saying NO when I really should say yes.

I’m sicking of saying YES when I really want to say no.

I’m sick of being too caught up in the HOW’S and WHY’s and the particulars of the the future instead of just living in the moment and enjoying it.

And I have to say, since I started my secret project January 2013, I’ve felt a little better. Even if it’s baby steps.

I’ve broken away from some toxic friends who have made me feel terrible about myself for years. It was hard. But I feel peace now.

I’ve said yes to things that scare me.

I’ve taken chances even if they were only tiny ones.

I’ve done things I THOUGHT about doing for years and actually did them even if they could have been a failure or not worked out how I wanted (hey there book club!)

I’ve FREED myself of things I was afraid to let go of.

I’m trying, as I think we always are, to answer that question that Mary Oliver poses. Every day I’m trying to be more intentionally with how I handle the 24 hours I have of this one wild and precious life I’ve been given.  I can get caught up in the future and feel anxious about the big picture or I could take a deep breath and focus on the few minutes of drinking tea on the porch, the afternoon of watching Genevieve grow up in little ways or the nights that Will and I decide to be spontaneous and drive all over just to find our favorite treat. I can focus on them and not give into the crushing weight of all those questions I can’t even begin to answer.

And just maybe while I’m doing all those things I’ll start to be able to settle down and start to see those answers more clearly in some ways. I’ll be able to look, with more clarity, at who I am, what I want and where I want my life to go. I’ll never have the answers to everything but I feel like some of them will come together naturally by LIVING that wild and precious life instead of trying to dissect it. I watched my mom struggle to live for those incredibly painful years with brain cancer and I don’t want to waste a single moment because you just never know when it all can be taken away. I want those moments with people who matter. I want to BE in this life and not just watch it happen like I so often do.

Some of the things I want to do with my one wild and precious life:

– Travel more. I want to explore and experience life and cultures and new things.
– Grow old with Will. (but we all know 30 years from now my baby face will still look the same).
– Find I job I love.
– Devote more time to causes I care about — especially literacy.
– Read great books.
– Have great conversations with people who inspire me, encourage me, make me laugh and challenge me.
– Eat more dessert and care less about my waistline.
– Embark on more road trips and make mixtapes accordingly.
– Do things that scare more more regularly.
– Write down stories so Genevieve, my unborn niece and my children, if I have them, know about my mom.
– Skydive!!
– Ring in the new year in a different country.
– Do karaoke more often even if it hurts people’s ears and embarrasses Will.

These are just a few of the things I want to do. That I will do. Intentionally.

So I have to know friends — what is it that YOU plan to do with your one wild and precious life? What do you dream of when you dream big? What has been holding you back? What would you do if you weren’t scared?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. So lovely, Jamie. There are so many things that I would also do with my one wild and precious life. It’s all about taking that leap, I suppose. This is fantastic and definitely something to strive for and keep in mind… 🙂
    Bonnie @ Sweet Tidbits

    • Thanks Bonnie! It really is about taking that leap — feels a lot like how I would hesitate and hem and haw about jumping into a pool that was kind of cold as a kid. It was so much better to just DO it rather than getting myself all hyped up haha.

      I’ve been trying to keep this in my mind lately! Starting out my day ASKING myself this very question.

  2. This is a beautiful post, and it’s so wonderful of you to share yourself with us. I’d love to say something a bit more meaningful, but it’s late and I am sleepy.

    I will say, though, that, as much as loneliness can be painful, it’s much better than hanging out with toxic ‘friends’ like that. I’ve been there, and I still have major trust issues as a result of it, as was proved last month. You’re better off without them, even though I know how much it hurts. At least you have Will by your side! And dessert, which you will enjoy more. Haha.

    So excited to meet you at BEA!

    • Thank you, Christina! <33

      It really IS so much better. I don't feel bad about myself and it's allowed me to make time for new friends -- like my lovely new book club girls. It's been the best thing I could have ever done for myself. My weekends may not be as packed with "social events" but I'm still finding plenty to do with new friends and I'm spending quality time with people who matter -- like my sister and Genevieve. I feel like you and I have been going through a lot of the same things friend wise so *hugs*. WE DESERVE BETTER. Thank goodness for the friends we've made through blogging -- it may have started out because of books but some people in this community know things about me that friends I had for 10 years never even knew.

      I'm SOOOOO excited to finally meet and talk and have an awesome time!

  3. okay first off, Jamie, I LOVE this feature! honestly it really seems like you always post at JUST THE RIGHT moment in my life and read my mind because this is something I think about A LOT. like, this is uncanny. I know it’s scary being so personal and upfront, esp since it feels so well, personal, but I want to say thank you so much for posting and sharing. seriously. I know this post means a lot to you and it means a lot to me too.

    your feelings about Golden reminds me of how I felt about Just One Day. I felt so nauseated over certain parts because it just hit sooo close to home. she was stuck but she changed her life. I feel like Golden will do the same to me, kick me into gear and make me want to change my life. after reading Just One Day, I seriously started making plans to travel no matter what. if only travel wasn’t so expensive. ANYWAY.

    I know life has been hard on you (ugh, seriously, WTF life!) but I 100% , absolutely, and totally believe in you. you are BRILLIANT and lovely and so smart and creative that I will kick life’s ass if it keeps on being so gross. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people but I have to believe that good things happen to good people too because it’s just so depressing otherwise.

    I get what you mean about being discontent because that’s where I am ALL the time. Estelle recently asked if I was happy and I said I was okay, she responded that she worries that it’s not enough. it’s not. but I have to think about the good things I DO have going in my life and how to change the things I’m not happy about. I think I read a graphic somewhere that said “are you happy with your life? if not, CHANGE IT.” or something along those lines which is so true.

    your secret project sounds like a good idea. I’m glad that it makes you feel better. it’s the baby steps that lead to bigger steps and they add up. ahh I wish I could travel and eat dessert with you!! I love what you said about writing stories about Genevieve, I think it’s such a lovely idea. ALSO SERIOUSLY re: skydiving. it is one of the things I want to do before I die. one of my cousins did that in New Zealand and I am soo jealous. also, I want to zip line across the Great Wall of China.

    umm this comment is like, super long, and I don’t know if it makes sense but I HEART YOU HARD. seriously, seriously wishing good things for you and thank you again for sharing. <3

    • Thank you Elena and thank you for metaphorically holding my hand last night to publish it and not delete it lol

      YES!! Just One Day made me feel the same way but I decided to go with Golden because it was most recent. I like rambled to poor Gayle about how I just was in the same place and Just One Day, when I read it in November, was the catalyst that MADE me start my project in January. SO OMG I SO KNOW. That book was fucking brilliant and resonated with me on levels that were scary. While I loved Golden, I still think Just One Day made me think MORE and was my favorite. Just as an FYI. But I think it will be a good reinforcement for you!

      AND UGH YES. I would be traveling like crazy if money wasn’t an issue. And thank you for your super ridiculously nice words <33

      I have always felt a tinge of discontent -- especially in college and right when I graduated. I think I'm always wanting to do more, be more and experience more so I think that is just my personality but I've been trying to learn to make it not effect my level of happiness. I so feel you on this and I cannot wait to talk about this IRL at BEA over coffee or desserts or whateverrr!

  4. This is remarkably uncensored and brave of you. I agree with so many things you have admitted to especially about who you are and happiness whether it be with how we live life, and doing that’s that scare us, or with a job. I must admit I’m open and honest but i wouldn’t have it in me to post something like this. I’m glad that you did. I hope that it makes you feel a sense of relief because it has given me a sense of relief knowing I’m not the only one feeling this way at times. I’m also super glad your project you started has helped you cope with these feelings! And! You SHOULD do things that scare u! Let me know when you do so I can crash ;). (I’m scared of ALL the things outside my norm!). OKAY I’VE TAKEN ENOUGH SPACE!!! Again, beautiful post Jamie. Seriously.

    • Thanks Cass <33 I really tried to be uncensored and brave even though I was like ehhh do people really need to think I'm pathetic because I cry sometimes when Will is at work and I'm looking for jobs and just want to crawl back in bed??

      The response to this post was more than I could ever hope for so far. I thought maybe a few people would be like I hear ya but, it really does give me a sense of relief that people are like OMG I AM GOING THROUGH THIS TOO. And that my words maybe inspired them even though I wasn't going for that?? WOW. I was just trying to be honest...not inspire.

      Let's do scary things together!!!!!

  5. wow what an inspiring post and blog idea (Beyond the Pages is a great name by the way). I think I would love to try living in a different city (if of course I had a job lined up ahead of time) but definitely fear holds me back, fear of living in a place where I don’t know anyone and am not familiar with the area. I’m a bit of a homebody and have basically lived in the same city my whole life, which I love, but sometimes I think about striking out on my own and now time seems to be passing all too quickly. I also agree about the living passively part, I definitely want/need to start living/doing things proactively.

    Great to hear your thoughts on Golden! I can’t wait until it comes out, I love Jessi Kirby’s books!

    • Thank you, Holly! I’m definitely with you on the new city thing!! I’ve been wanting to move so bad but I’ve been letting fear and other excuses get in the way. I mean, I do fear that I will miss my nieces and they won’t really know me (a legit fear) but I think where I stand now I need to figure out what will be best for ME — whether that means move or not.

      I hope you take a leap if that’s ultimately what you want to do! I’m dying to discover a new city!!

      Thanks for commenting and sharing!

  6. Okay so I already left you an unnecessarily long message on gchat but there’s a lot I wanted to say. Elena kind of took the words right out of my mouth. I was all ready to talk about Just One Day and how your feelings are like my feelings after reading that. I’ll just defer to what she said because it’s so true. As painful as it can be, it reminds me of why I love books so much.

    Right now I’m at this uncertain point in the road where for years and years I’ve even following a path to the point where in miserable and I want to make a chance. I just don’t know what that change should be so I haven’t been able to move forward yet. Things are just really uncertain for me and I loved reading your post. We all have these moments and I’m so glad you’re doing something to change that, even if it just starts with honesty. That’s so important. I’m hoping I can do the same.

    Seriously you got me to laugh, you made me teary. Thanks for writing this post <3

    • YES. I mentioned on Elena’s comment that Just One Day recently made me feel that way as well. I rambled to Gayle about how I connected when I met her (rather crazily) but I can’t even tell you how much. It was a toss up for if I was going to use Just One Day or Golden for this but the quote used for Golden kind of sold me. I honestly think Just One Day was the one I connected with MORE and actually changed my life for real (made me take the steps to do some of these things when I read it in November) but Golden was the book that reminded me in a way I could really keep in my mind with an amazing quote!

      YES. That is the hardest part. Knowing that you want to make a change…that you NEED to make some sort of change but not know exactly what move to make. I say start writing out the things that are bothering you or making you feel discontent and start brainstorming ways you could change it.

      <33 Thankful we have become friends!

  7. I recently decided to go to school – and started a few weeks ago – at almost 27. I always felt like it was way too late for me to figure out what I wanted to do until I realized that I just need to do something! I am so unhappy with where I am now professionally that it’s making other aspects of my life miserable because I’m letting so much negativity in (that’s probably the most new-agey thought I’ve ever had!).
    Not to downplay anything you’re going through, but I think part of it is just being this age. We’re at this quarter-ish life crisis time where it feels like everything needs to change and/or be super exciting all the time (maybe biological clocks too, but I definitely don’t feel ready/old enough/maternal). Besides practically eloping, in the last 12 months the most exciting thing I did was probably ride a mechanical bull at a hockey game…and I waited until no one was around to see me do it in case I looked stupid.
    I want to not care about looking stupid! I don’t need to try to impress anyone! Why should I care if someone sees my fall off of a mechanical bull that 20 other people just fell off with just as little grace? I don’t think that I’m perfect by any stretch, so why do I need strangers to? It’s something that I let get in the way of having fun ALL THE TIME and I don’t want it to be like that anymore.
    Last year I made a list of 27 things I wanted to do before I turned 27. In the next few days I will finish making a list of 28 things to do before I turn 28. Hopefully it will help me shake things up a little, even if it’s just doing something dumb.
    This is a great series and I look forward to many more entries!

    • I’m so happy you took action to change the source of unhappiness! So many people get stuck on the unhappiness and they don’t actually make the change and they wonder why they are miserable! It’s scary and you could fail at whatever you are doing but nothing is going to change on its own. And my old job made me so miserable and I DEFINITELY felt it in so many other areas. Will could feel it. It’s kind of the same way with me unemployed right now. SIGH. I need a job that doesn’t suck as bad as my last one with an owner who loved to make you feel like shit.

      AND OMG YES. Sometimes I want to be as silly as I am around my friends and Will but I’m SOO stinkin caught up in what other people think. WHO CARES WHAT WE LOOK LIKE WHILE ON A MECHANICAL BULL! lol

      And I totally have done similar lists things (101 things in 1001 days was what I did) It DID help when I made a conscious effort to review my list every month.

      I wish you the best of luck with school and hope you find something you love! And hopefully we can start not to care what other people think and let go a little bit. i bet we will have more fun that way!

  8. it’s very brave of you to put yourself out there. i don’t think you are alone in these feelings. i’ve been feeling a lot of similar stuff recently. i am older than you and i’ve been trying to figure out what i want to do with my life that would make me, if not totally happy, happier than i am now. i love your goals though and think they are all totally attainable. don’t get too down. part of life is just figuring it out and seeing what happens along the way. and having more dessert is definitely good. 🙂

    • Thank you! That totally is a good point “part of life is just figuring it out and seeing what happens along the way” — totally how I want to be living rather than freaking out about the getting there and analyzing my life lol

  9. Very inspiring post! It is amazing how books and reading can make us reflect on our own lives. I have often wondered as a I approach 30, if I have missed out on opportunities in my early 20’s that I should have taken advantage of. I have been in that place and sometimes still feel like I am, where I question who I am and who do I want to be. You should know that you are not alone in it and that I praise you for taking charge and really going for it. So many times, I have wondered if I was the only 27 year old to have all these life questions and how do they push through this life slump. 🙂

    • Thank you Chelsea! I think that is one of the things I love most about reading — even though people think it is so solitary I find myself connecting with humanity in these stories and then being able to bond over them.

      I seriously wonder that so often. Like WHY didn’t I do this when I was in my early twenties?? I feel like now it is too late for some of those things as I’m getting older. I don’t want to dwell on the past but sometimes it is hard not to!

      You are SO not the only 27 year old in this place. We shall march closer to 30 together where we will probably have another existential crisis lol

  10. A great post and an even greater attitude. It is always scary to change things in your life when it all seems to go well. I think it is great you made this list and even if in the end you cannot manage to do all you planned at least you took the time to consider it which is awesome already.

    To answer your questions. My life is regulated by my health, therefore my choices are made around that. I am satisfied though with the change in career I had to make and I love my house and my friends and my other half. Now I am just taking life a day at a time and see what surprises me.

    • Thanks Ciska! What a great attitude YOU have! I think sometimes there are things we cannot change (health issues) so to be able to adapt and find ways to change our attitude and SOME of the things around us and THAT is a tricky task. Thanks for sharing! <3

  11. I love everything about this post. Thank you for the open and candid peek inside your life and your brain. Thank you for making me really think.

    It’s so easy to get bogged down in life by things, being busy, the minutiae. I was reading the other day about people taking a kind of pride in the fact that they are too busy in life. “Oh, I’m too swamped to do that.” It’s made me try to take little breather moments to just try to enjoy life…all the little every day aspects….whether it’s taking joy in spotting the way a dog joyfully hangs his head out a car window on my commute to work, holding the door open for a stranger and receiving a smile in return, or listening to a song that just makes me want to dance. I think there will always be that big list of things to do with your life….but I think the little every day moments can have just as much importance.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thank you for your kind words!! I honestly didn’t realize that I would inspire people to think so this is just an amazing effect of writing this post that surprised me.

      I think I read that SAME article!! It really stuck with me. And I’m so with you. The little moments are so important and they are something, in the midst of a whirlwind day, where we can take control for a few moments and remember the good. Some of the best parts of my day are a cup of tea on the porch or talking to my sister on the phone and hearing my baby niece say HI HI HI as she is learning to talk or driving with the windows down and good music on. Love those moments.

      I need to get better at remembering to BREATHE and focus on those little things.

  12. This is such an amazing post! I love it so much and I commend you for putting yourself out there and creating such a great and inspiring post! This post kind of reminds me of what goes into my reading notebook. (which is something I just started doing) This post has also inspired me to put myself more out there. Maybe I’ll start doing more discussion posts on my blog?

    Seriously beautiful!
    Stephanie @In Wonderland and @The Raven Readers

    • Thank you Stephanie! I love that you have a reading notebook TOO! It kind of inspired this because I would have all these thoughts and I put some of them into a review but I wanted to go FURTHER. I think it is a GREAT idea for you to post stuff like that because books make us think and reveal a lot about us. I’m so down for a movement where people get a little personal (if they are comfortable with that online) in hte book blogging world.

  13. A in a way a very bittersweet post. Thanks for sharing that with us, I usually don’t tell people my personal things on my blog because I don’t think they’ll care, but I think it was brave of you to do this – and I care!

    I think sometimes you just hit a wall (or many) and you need to find way to get around/over/through the obstacle and it’s not always easy. You’ve gone through a lot and I think it was a really good for you to be rid of friends that don’t appreciate and accept you for who you are. I see that as overcoming one obstacle as they stop putting horrible thoughts in your head and you can really start being YOU. I went through this in high school and totally understand how those toxic thoughts can ruin you.

    The job thing from what I know about the US economy right now, is going to be hard. I’ve heard the aftershocks of the 08 recession are still affecting many jobs? I guess this is something you can’t really control – you’re trying your best but other forces are at work (woah that was so cliche I’m sorry).

    Honestly, I think it’s great you’re doing this. Taking the initiative to do something with your life and acting on it – that’s the hardest part.
    I’ve always been bogged down by expectations – especially with my family and education.

    And if I wasn’t scared? If I did what I wanted to do when I dream big?
    I’d hop on a plane with nothing but a few essentials and backpack my way around Europe and experience a totally different life and culture – and maybe find love (like in Just One Day).

    Thanks for this gorgeous post. It really made me think! Keep us posted on how things go with you and your sekrit project!

    • Thank you! It was really scary to post because I was afraid maybe people just come here for the book recs. I’m so much more than my blog so I’m hoping to show that! And yeah..the job thing is so frustrating because it’s one of those things that makes me miserable and there is little I can do to help it. I can’t force an employer to give me a job…I can only just apply and put my best foot forward. And I so agree..the taking the steps is the hardest part. I could think all day about what bothers me and what I want to change but doing it is HARD.

      I would TOTALLY join you on that journey. That’s one thing I wish I could do — just hop on a plane and go. Freaking money being a key factor in that haha.

  14. Thank you for sharing . I know it was hard for you to do. At age 28 I can relate to everything you said above . And to answer your questions .. GIRL I DON’T KNIOW! Lol I spoke to 2 people this past week and shared the same feelings. I have to say I even feel guilty for , not knowing what I’m doing with my life and this feeling of “lost”. I think of those beautiful children in CT who lost their lives and the victims in Boston /Texas this week and say Juewelz suck it up and get you ish together .. It last an hour or do or maybe even sometimes a whole day . But then flatline … I’ve also learned that I can’t even really talk to people about the feelings I have because they just don’t understand , care or just tell me it will get better . I joke and say I need Dr.Phil to come fix my life lol. I think I am going to journal and start reading the bible or a scripture everyday it’s a good way for me to release thoughts and its kind of like meditation . I don’t know if my comment makes much sense at this point but thank you for sharing its a little refreshing to know I’m not going through this alone .

    • YES. Especially as I was writing this my heart was so heavy with what was going on in the news lately and I just felt like WHY AM I BEING SO MOPEY and wasting my life when these people didn’t even have a choice. And YES.. I get so gung ho and I AM GOING TO CHANGE ALL THE THINGS and then something happens and I deflate. I think my next step is being able to hold on to the good in those deflating moments and now I still can move forward.

      And I totally understand that…it seems like people just want to tell you these kinds of things for fear of getting into the nitty gritty. “everything will be ok” may be right but it doesn’t help figure out how we climb to that OK place. I think journaling and reading the bible is a great way to really find focus and peace.

      thank you for sharing! I feel like I got to know a little about you! You are NOT alone!

  15. I think you are amazing, and it was so brave of you to post all of that. I guess everyone feels like that sometimes- I know I do. I’m only fourteen, but sometimes I just feel stuck, like I can’t get out of school and England and go and do the things I want because there’s a FREAKING LAW about it. I just want to travel around the world, and read amazing books, and meet interesting people. I want to be brave enough to stand up to the girls in my year.
    This post really made me think, and I’m sorry you feel like this at the moment. If you feel like there’s nothing meaningful in your life, just look at your blog. If that doesn’t mean something, what does?

    • Thank you for the kind words, Freya! <33

      I love that at 14 you are already so wise beyond your years. When I was 14 I didn't care about going beyond my comfort zone. I just thought I could hang out with my friends and talk about boys and go to the mall forever. I didn't think about my future really. Funny how I changed! I think because you already know the things you want to do you will be able to do it! You can learn about the places you want to go, look for opportunities to travel through school, etc. It doesn't help NOW (trust me -- I understand bc I'm broke and I know I can't do the traveling I want to YET) and feeling stuck just is the worst feeling EVER but we can do things until we can. Like maybe learn a new language that will be useful for when you travel? And you TOTALLY can stand up to those girls. I think the biggest regrets in life is that so often in high school I didn't stand up for people who really needed it. I will never forget this one girl who got expelled from school and it was my fault for not telling the truth. It makes me so sad to wonder what happened to her and if she went in a bad place because of all of that.

      I hope you do all the things you want in life and I think you will! I really appreciate your comment!

  16. Oh, Jamie! This is so perfect. Sadly I didn’t fall in love with Golden but I DID fall in love with that quote. Trying to take a step back and reorganize your life to make sure you’re happy sounds easy but it is HARD. I’ve done some of the same things recently, especially when it comes to friends. I feel absolutely terrible (even still a little bit) that I don’t talk to all of the girl friends that I used to have, but you know what? I really feel like my life led me to Shane for a reason. He’s made me feel like such a better person than I was and made me want to live life more un-selfishly. Those friends that I used to talk to were always frustrating me, flaking on me, making me feel bad about myself, or cutting ME off for no reason. It wasn’t an intentional decision at first and it was hard to step back from those friendships once I decided to, but I feel SO much better with my life now than I ever did.
    I’d still love to so many things with my one wild and precious life, but for now I’m focusing more on the precious and less on the wild. I would love to go to Europe — it’s always been a dream of mine — but what’s more important to me now are things like finding a home with Shane, getting married, and in the long run, eventually having little childrens. That’s where my focus should be and I’m so glad I’ve really cut down the time I used to spend with all the friends who wanted to go out drinking and to bars (not that I’m judging – Just that it’s SO not my style anymore) and feel comfortable saying no and just being ME.
    Anyway, I ramble. I love you for this post because I think the people who haven’t realized there may be something they want to change could possible realize it after reading this post! Sometimes all you need is to hear it from someone else and I totally commend you for putting yourself out there! That’s definitely not easy to do.
    Let’s end this with hugs! <33

    • It really IS hard. There is so much noise in our daily lives and distractions to boot that to really sit down and try to figure things out is IMPOSSIBLE sometimes. AND YES to that about life leading you to Shane. I feel the same way. I think that having people in our lives that don’t make us feel like shit help us to know what we deserve and then you can find friends outside of Shane who complement that. That’s what I’ve had to do. I don’t know WHAT I would do without Will’s friendship and loyalty all these years.

      Those “precious” things are so important — not just the grand,wild things. And you know what? All those things you listed ARE wild adventures in themselves — home buying (god we laughed so hard with things like moving and looking at home and apartments — still in an apartment haha), having kids (the stuff my sister goes through is an adventure that is so precious and amazing — watching Genevieve grow has been so wonderful for me too). etc. I’m also glad I’ve cut down on spending time doing things I really never liked doing or that I grew out of. SO WITH YOU ON THAT. We go out to the bar sometimes but some of my friends were ALWAYS going.

      Thanks for sharing, Brittany! I am sooo glad blogging brought us together!!

  17. This post is so perfect. It is SO EASY to get caught up in the monotony of daily life: homework, bill-paying, zombie-staring at a computer screen, hoping it holds the secrets of the universe but knowing it doesn’t. I especially agree with the point about wondering how and why in regard to the future because there is so much I want to do and I hate just going about my weeks not doing anything major to work toward it. You really do have to appreciate the small yet meaningful things; not every day is going to be huge and we have to accept that. Recently, I’ve had a few beautiful little moments in which I am laughing hysterically with my friends and I just take a second to watch myself. Not BE myself, but look at myself from the outside and see the sun on my face and in my eyes and just appreciate that maybe MY FUTURE is not a concrete place, a trophy to be won, but a pebbley road that never really ends.

    Long story short, you’re not the only one who feels this way. Good luck living every day to the fullest and best wishes for finding a job, succeeding in your secret plan, and appreciating the small seconds that weave together to form a life so vast it is impossible to see it in its entirety. Just focus on the section in front of your face now.

  18. Jamie, this is absolutely beautiful and I’m positive it’ll inspire others to take a step back and really see their lives. There’s so much that goes on that we don’t share (or even want to admit) – after all, who visits a book blog to read about job worries or health issues. Life isn’t always perfect and it’s extremely brave of you to step up and share yourself like this.

    While my boyfriend & I are both lucky enough to have jobs, our housing situation terrifies me. We’re currently renting his grandmother’s house which is all fine and dandy. It’s a beautiful house in a great neighborhood, what’s so scary about that, right? Thing is, she wants to sell the house and is actively trying to do so. Last summer it went up for sale and Jamie, I cannot begin to tell you how panicked I was any time someone called to set up an appointment. Because she had moved prior to us moving in and had left for Florida in the fall, we had a bit of breathing room just because of all the extra work involved since she obviously couldn’t be here in person were it to sell.

    Summer passed and once the weather turned cold we relaxed. No one buys houses in winter. But now it’s spring and already we’ve had two people in the past month. We’ve added clauses in the contracts that give us an extra two months after closing to move, but even with that it scares me so much to think that one person could come here, look around, and decide to buy the place.

    We’ve been looking around for other places, but either the apartments are in really awful areas or the house are way out of our price range.

    I’ve never shared that with anyone online, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone with your fears and worries. I have no doubts everything will work out for you, Jamie. Even though things might not seem like they’re going well, I haven’t lost hope and you shouldn’t either.

    🙂 I absolutely love your list of things you want to do. Growing up I was SO shy. I had my group of friends and if they had no interest in doing something I really wanted to (play a school sport, audition for a school play, etc) I wouldn’t do it. Looking back I deeply regret not doing the things I wanted to and have been trying to come out of my shell. I’m originally from a tiny town – there were more cows than people – and a few years ago moved to Pittsburgh. Haha, talk about culture shock. Even though I was scared I’m SO glad I did it. I wouldn’t have found my job, met my boyfriend, or met amazing people. I’ve been talking to strangers and actually starting conversations.

    It’s funny that you mentioned karaoke. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. About two months ago I was invited to go to a bar with a group of friends for karaoke night. It took a few visits, but I worked up the nerve to finally sing with a few others. I still haven’t sung on my own, but to come that far is a HUGE step.

    I’ve been way rambly, but know that, although we haven’t spoken much outside comments, I think you’re a pretty cool lady and someone worth admiring. Keep positive and have an extra cookie or two.

  19. Aww, this post was so inspiring! I’m always thinking about my life, and planning out my future. One thing that scares me is that I won’t get to do or accomplish everything I want to. I know that’s really stupid because there’s no WAY I’ll ever be able to do that, but I just can’t help not knowing that everything’s going to turn out fine. Anyway, this was a great post and I’ll be looking forward to other Beyond the Pages posts! 🙂 And good luck with your secret project! You’re doing great so far, wish I had the courage and willpower you do!

  20. Hey! I think this idea is really rad and I can completely understand the being scared and it preventing you from doing things you want to do and other things you said… Anyway, I think your ideas are great and I look forward to your personal posts because you’re cool and also like this may be a book blog but you’re right that can open up other things and that’s cool! 🙂 You go, Jamie!

  21. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes what you need to do IS share more and even that opens up more opportunities – in fact, but sharing something so deep about yourself to this public, you’re going to inspire others that rise up against their own challenges.

    I started practicing yoga late last year and it’s been the perfect thing I needed in my life to get it in a positive motion. There are still ups and downs, but it helped me courageously quit my last job where the management did not respect me as an employee – I’m sure the things that were going on with the management there borderlines employee abuse. Although I don’t have another job, I’ve found an incredible support system and the physical practice has helped me do things I never thought I ever could… which reflects in my mental practice. To do things you thought were once impossible? If I can do this with my body, I can do it with my job, my love life, my writing, my drawing, my music… anything!

    Find something that scares you, conquer it and make it your bitch.

  22. YES! I love it when book bloggers get personal! this is so wonderful, I love it.

    if you’re interested in getting in the academic-side of books, let me know and can tell you more about graduate school and teaching undergrads!

  23. Such a beautiful post. x

  24. Wow! I am beyond speechless right now.. Oh Jamie, you hit the nail on the head with this post. Believe me I would know. I’ve been there, done that. The economy is horrible right now and trust me, it’s hard to even feel secure in any job or even know what the heck you’re doing in life. I applaud you for doing all those changes, and turning them into action. It sounds like you’re growing confident and stronger every single time something bad has happened. *hugs*

    “Like what did I actually do with my life today? Some days I have absolutely nothing of significance that I contributed to life.”

    We all have our days like this, we all battle with our demons. Mine has gotten so bad that I need anti-anxiety medication… (Yay for honesty!) I am so proud of you for not giving up, for trying to work through it and keep pushing. Life is so much better when one is living in the moment and not the future. That was my biggest problem too. Looking at my life 10 years ahead and not just taking it day by day. Life doesn’t always go according to plan.. I thought I’d be married and have my own business by now, but I am single and still in the process of working for myself.

    To answer your question simply, that’s my big dream for myself. To freelance full-time and actually make a profit. My fear of knowing nothing about owning your own business is what stopped me from ever doing it before. But after my brief stint at Penguin, I realized it’s exactly what I need to do. Work for myself and be my own boss.

    I know for a fact you’re going to finally know what you want to do. You’re going to get out of bed and do what you love. You just have to figure out what it is. And in almost all the stories we read, getting there is half the battle! We support you. I support you! *hugs*

  25. Jamie this made me cry! I think about this stuff so much too. I’m generally happy with my life but sometimes I feel like something is missing. And I KNOW it’s writing. But I also feel so scared to throw myself into something when I couldn’t find an agent for the first thing I wrote. And working in publishing and thinking so much about what does and doesn’t sell doesn’t help. So that’s my thing that I wish I could be doing but I struggle with.

  26. Jamie, what a gorgeous post. I’m so sorry that things are a bit hard right now – you’re so talented that it’s sometimes hard for me to believe that you’re unemployed – because if I was an employer, I would see your skills and talent and energy and brains and I would hire you in a second to do all of my social media stuff. =)

    I’m been there, I swear. I was unemployed for six months after grad school, and it was just total misery, a lot of sitting around watching random TV, and a lot of stress and crying. It culminated in me taking a really awful, crappy job where they treated me terribly because I was desperate for money and I just needed to do something. I kept on applying for jobs through that time, and yeah, it was hell. I look back on that time as one of the lowest points in my life…but I also think that I’m a lot stronger because of it. And you will be, too. Things WILL get better, you will get a job that you love, and in the meantime, it sounds like you’re taking some good actions to live intentionally and enjoy the little moments, whether it’s cooking something extra delicious on a Friday, or just taking one of your books outside to a park to read.

    I really hope your secret project continues to pan out. Push hard and don’t be afraid to step up. =)

    Also, I just wanted to let you know that recently, I’ve been a little bit more personal in my book reviews, and I feel like people have really responded to that. Don’t be afraid to give personal as well as “analytical” or “professional” opinions – those matter a lot as well.

    About the karaoke – as someone who is a trained singer, I wanted to tell you that you should NEVER be embarrassed about your voice – I find it awesome whenever ANY of my friends sings. Esp the ones who suck and fully admit it/own it. Because that’s what karaoke is about – getting up, getting over your fears and putting yourself out there. And trust me, even as someone who has performed MANY times in front of a crowd, I still get hella nervous. It’s totally natural, and it’s extremely brave when you can get through it.

    Also, have you tried room karaoke? Bring your book club. It’s super fun!

  27. Jamie,

    I absolutely LOVE this post! It’s so honest, and has so much heart, and I think you’ve been in a place where so many of us find ourselves at different points in our lives. The beautiful thing is that you’re doing something about it! This post itself–putting it out there and letting others read your words and the things you want to do is a huge step and I totally admire that. 🙂


    Jessi Kirby

  28. Oh man, I cannot tell you how much I feel the exact same about basically everything you said in this post (well, you know because we’re in the same unemployment boat and talk about it when we hang out haha). I spend so much of my days doing nothing important and it’s so frustrating to not be able to do anything because you don’t have a job that gives you the money to actually do stuff. There’s so much I want to do in life, but I’m just not being proactive enough about it. I definitely need to step up my game.

  29. michelle_etc says:

    I love this, Jamie. I LOVE THIS. And I relate to it so, so much. Everything you’re sick of? I’m sick of, too. I see so much of myself in those things you listed. I get harder on myself as the years pass and I get older and do nothing about it. I always feel on the verge of change but never follow through, and that cycle of fear and sadness starts all over again, but I’m left in the same place. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so honest. I believe you will do all these things for yourself! I believe in your wild and precious life 🙂 And maybe mine, too. xo

  30. I want to travel the world. The thing that is holding me back is my fear and the whole no money thing.

  31. I already told you my thoughts on twitter but again wanted to reiterate just how much this moved me. Sometimes I feel so alone and “left behind” when talking to my RL friends because they are in such different places and I’m struggling to find a job, a man, a life etc and think I should have my “shit together” by now. Like I said I try my best not to compare my behind the scenes to everyone else’s greatest hits reel but sometimes I wonder how I went so wrong when I did everything “right”. It’s hard to stay positive all the time but I try to tell myself that just because it’s taking a little longer to get there doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it in the end. Anyway just wanted to say thanks for posting, it meant a lot to read it this morning and reminded me to remember that life’s there for the taking, we have to grab it not wait for it to come to us despite how scary that may be. xxx

  32. I LOVE this! You really touched on some things I’ve been feeling as well. This from your post:
    Sometimes at the end of the day I will try to think about what I did all day and it mostly consists of the computer and I feel like if this was my last day on earth I would be really, really sad with how I lived it.
    That? Yeah, I’ve been feeling this way so much lately. I’m graduating in May and I LOVE college. I LOVE learning. The way college is structured is just SO conducive to my learning style, and I’ve been so grateful for it. I know some people don’t learn in traditional teaching ways(many of my friends) & I do wish that professors would seek to different learning styles, but the way classes are structured are perfect for me. I love my major, I love learning, and I love writing(which is my major). I went to the college that I did partially to get away from some toxic relationships and it’s been SO GOOD to me. But as graduation approaches, I feel like this: who am I, what do I want, how do I impart meaning into the everyday? I’ve been searching relentlessly for a job and haven’t found one yet, and it’s looking like I probably won’t by the time graduation comes around. I’ll have to go back home and I just think of what my days will look like: wake up, search for jobs, walk a bit, read a bit, sleep. Those days aren’t awful in and of themselves but looking at a sea of them makes me feel so . . . sad? meaningless? I’m grateful that my family is supportive, don’t get me wrong, and excited for me to spend some time at home, but I don’t have any friends/connections left in my tiny hometown, not a whole lot of people my age, etc. So your post is really timely for me!

    I know things I WANT to do, but I don’t always know how to get there, either. I want to travel ALL over the world, get a master’s degree(but not this year! I decided NOT to apply for grad school for the fall because I was not ready to jump straight from undergrad to grad), write a book. Get rid of STUFF. Play piano again, play more tennis, don’t force myself to finish books I don’t like, support local libraries, support literacy, etc.

  33. I was on my phone when I read this last night, but I wanted to come and re-post my twitter comments because I really do think that so many people will relate to this, so just know that you’re not alone in these feelings, even when it feels like you are.

    I love the lists you’ve made and I definitely share the feeling of wanting to do, and be, more! I just need to stop being lazy and do something about it 🙂 I have felt this way ever since I finished working as a vet nurse ( a few years ago now) and started my new job. I felt like I was doing so much and contributing and making a difference at the clinic, and I lost a bit of myself when I quit that.

    But we have to make the most of now, right? 🙂 xox

  34. I love this idea Jamie! I want to travel, a lot! It’s been my dream to go to Italy and France and London and I really want to make that happen. Maybe I’ll travel for a year or two when I finish university, if I’m not too broke!! 😉 and I too need to say no more when I usually say yes, and say yes when I want to say no!!!

  35. Hey Jamie,

    As a junior in college with absolutely no money, no “real, stable” job and no direction to point myself in to begin living the life that I want, I completely understand. It is utterly exhausting to ponder those questions every single day. And even though making changes to your life to make it better is also exhausting, at least you go to bed every night happier with what you’ve done.

    I really needed this post today. I have been diagnosed depressed for almost 7 months now. Ever since talking to my doctor about it and getting some of the help I need, I’ve struggled to make positive changes to my life. Sometimes it can be so hard. It’s a fight daily for me to choose to get up and live this one wild and precious life. There are I times I fail in this and I take it harshly. Yet when I am able to succeed in doing something I didn’t think was possible, or get to do something that really makes me feel like I’m living, it all becomes worth it.

    Please, just remember to be kind to yourself whenever you feel lost. You can’t always control what happens in your life, but you can choose how you feel about it.

    So, thank you for posting this on a day I really needed it. It’s nice to know that someone is trying to find their way out of the labyrinth, just like me. 🙂


  36. Wonderful post Jamie! I love the quote you shared from Mary Oliver, I feel like I need to plaster that on my desk somewhere or dresser mirror on my forehead so that one remembers xD

    Anyways, I just wanted to comment to say that you’re not alone in trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do. I can totally relate with a lot of the questions you’re asking and the stuff that you’re sick off and it can be discouraging to see fellow peers doing well and doing the things they want to do when you’re also trying (last year was not a very good year, everything pretty much imploded in my face so I was all 🙁 as well). But I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to make those changes in your life! Hope things keep looking up from here on out 🙂

    I love your list that you’ve set out! Traveling is a lovely experience, I’m itching to go back to Europe but alas, need to finish this new program first before I can even consider it. You’re going to enjoy it, it’s so much fun and a totally memorable experience 🙂

    Aside from wanting to travel again, I want to write something that I can publish. I don’t know if it’s time or my discipline or my fear that’s holding me back but I know I can do it, I know I can finish a manuscript completely. I just need to focus, lol. That’s just one of the things I want to do but it’s one of the high priorities for me…

  37. Jamie, I WISH I could find some way of telling you just how much this post (and your quote) spoke to me. SO much of what you were saying are things I have thought and said. In some ways, I’ve done more in the last 6 months, been more terrified and more hopeful than I have in a long, long time. Although I’m happy with myself for the most part, I’m always looking to improve, and trying to find new ways of challenging myself. Like you, I want to really LIVE.

    I want to tell you how proud – really, really proud – I am of you for this post, AND for the steps you’ve already taken. I’ve alluded to it a bit on Twitter but I SO am with you on letting go of friendships. I took a huge step back last year from the woman who was my best friend for about 7 years when I realized I had changed, but so had she, and the friendship on my end was one-sided and on her end, well. It wasn’t the same as it used to be. I had to realize that I deserved better, and that I couldn’t be what she needed without hurting myself. It’s painful and I may do a post on it and tie it into my reading/writing but I’m not sure, I’m still healing in some ways. But anyway this is about you and how courageous you are. Really. It takes SO much strength to realize when you’re unhappy and DO something about it, so YAY JAMIE, go you SERIOUSLY.

    I was going to write a longer comment, but I just want you to know, from my heart, this post spoke to my soul. I know I’ve struggled with so many of these questions, losing a job I thought WAS a career, kinda feeling in some ways like I’m spinning my wheels. I’m asking myself: what am I going to do now to set myself apart? What am I going to do to not just exist, but LIVE?! I know I spend too much time online, but I’m trying to write a book I hope to self-publish, and job searching, and I’ve thrown myself into the blog, because although I go out as much with friends as I can, it’s not like it was – I can’t afford to DO as much, and that sucks. I won’t say I was depressed this winter but I definitely had the blah’s, so I am SO thankful for spring/summer and renewal. I think we both need that.

    Hopefully you find your answers. I am ALL the way behind you, and I love this post, and look forward to more from you like this. *huge hugs* I believe in you, and I hope you make the most of your wild and precious life.

  38. Oh Jamie, I SO get this. I feel like you’re speaking right to me (I haven’t read anyone else’s comments, but I’m sure many of the people here feel like you were talking right to them). Sometimes I feel so lost and aimless. I’m lucky to have a job I’m passionate about, but I feel like I’m waiting for everything else to fall into place and wondering if it’s ever even going to happen. I try so hard to stay positive, but sometimes it’s really hard. I see people living the life I want to lead and I wonder how to go about it and get out of this *stuck* feeling I’ve had for so long.

    At the end of last year I was determined 2013 was going to be the most epic year ever. I had such high hopes…and then near the end of January I hurt my back and 11.5 weeks later I’m STILL recovering. It’s been hell, and it’s really limited what I can do. I’ve hardly left my apartment, and I haven’t seen anyone but family and doctors. It’s seriously depressing, but as I’m slowly getting closer to being 100% better, that hopefulness is starting to return, and I’m beginning to believe that even though the year started out really crappy it can still be epic. It will be what I make of it. I’ve learned a lot about my priorities and I’ve vowed that when I’m better, I’m not going to let things hold me back the way they did before. Even now I’m trying in small ways.

    Also, I’m so sorry about your mom. I know what it’s like to lose a parent, and it’s something you never get over. I know you don’t really know me, but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (just recently started commenting though – I’m always nervous about commenting on new blogs and feeling rejected when people don’t talk back, but it’s something I’m trying to get over!), and if you ever want to talk, I’m always around. People can sympathize but they don’t truly get it unless they’ve been through it. So…I just wanted to put that offer out there. It’s obvious from the comments here that you have a lot of people who really care about you, so just know that you’re not alone and you don’t HAVE to be alone.

    Have you ever considered writing? This is such a beautiful, eloquent, touching post. Journaling is great and definitely therapeutic, but maybe you have some stories in you? My first and third books dealt with tragedy, loss, and grief, and writing them was like having a weight lifted off my shoulders. It left me completely emotionally drained afterward, but I swear it was as good as therapy! lol Anyway…just a thought. 😉 Thank you for sharing yourself with us and being so open and honest.

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer

  39. This is something I think about a lot. But for me, I have a hard time telling the difference between who I think I should be (based mostly on others’ opinions) and who I want to be. As you may or may not know, I’m a stay-at-home mom. We don’t have a lot of money to buy and do a lot of stuff, but at the same time, I’m home with my kids. I get to watch them grow and be there for them at school events, sports, girl scouts, dance, whatever. I feel like society looks down on me for that, like I should be working and contributing to my family’s income, have a house. But realistically, are my kids going to look back in 20 years and think “Damn, I wish my mom had worked so I had more stuff?” or are they going to be glad that I was there for them?

    Anyway, sorry to make this all about me, but your post (coupled with another that I just read) really made me think about that. Great post, and I hope that you can find the you you want to be. 🙂

  40. Jamie,
    ((hugs)) I completely understand the discouragement you feel. I hope you get to check some of those things off of your list! I vote that you go sky-diving, I did it last year and it was so worth it! Scared the jelly bellys out of me, but still. 😀 If you feel like reading, I blogged about it here —> If not, no big deal.
    Blessings to you and Will!

  41. Right now, I sit here wiping tears away. I resonate and relate with what you’re going through so much and the things you’re feeling because I feel them too. I think about the future a lot and what I want to do and if I’ll be able to make it happen. A lot of people struggle with that they want to do and which career path to take but that’s not my problem, my problem is knowing exactly what I want and then worrying about if I’ll be able to make it happen and if I have it in me to follow my dream. I want to act, plain and simple. What worries me though is that I might not be good enough or pretty enough (not to sound conceited or shallow, but when you’re an actor, you have to be in pretty good shape). I often long and think about the future, waiting til the day I grow up and though that sounds like a typical, cliché teenagey response, it’s not because I want to be free and in control of my life and be making all my own choices. It’s because I want this current stage I’m in – this feeling unwell feeling that is unknown and can’t be named because every test under the sun can’t explain why I feel the way I feel – to pass and be gone already. It isn’t as bad as it was a while a go but it still lingers and get’s in the way when I want to dance and just because. I hate that I’m waiting and letting life slip by without truly living it and sometimes that really get’s me down but to a certain extent I can’t help it. Sure, I could try and get our of my comfort zone more and do things that scare me and just LIVE (distractions are actually good and can pull me away from the thinking when I’m not feeling my best) and it’s something I try to do whenever possible, but still.

    Even though we might be feeling pretty sucky, at least were aware of our discontent and are trying our best and putting one foot forward to try and change it. You have to start somewhere, right? HUGE HUGS for what you’re going through and for being so open and honest and sharing this with all of us. I really, really, really appreciated this post more than you’ll even know and though I don’t wish this on anyone, of course, it’s reassuring to know that were not the only one’s feeling this way and thinking so much about the future and what we want in life. From the comments above, you can see how much this post means to people and has moved them to open up themselves and share what’s going on in their lives so just know you’re not alone and that you always have a friend in all of us, and especially me. My ears are always open and though we don’t chat/tweet/talk as much as I’d like, I secretly (not so much now though) think you’re so very awesome and sweet and lovely and gorgeous and let’s be friends!

    Also, I think traveling is SUCH a good idea for you. I know you don’t have money to just blow but what about a road trip and camping and sleeping under the stars and toasting marshmallows or if you’re not a camper-type girl, stay at a friend’s for the night and then continuing the road. *hugs*

  42. Sometimes I feel like we’re one person. And I know I tweet you enough as it is, but really I’m fairly convinced often that no one out there gets me but you, which is why my fear is you emailing/tweeting me telling me to leave you alone. Because really, it’s me, not you. REALLY.

    I have to remind myself things will be okay. I’m getting my masters soon and in theory I could get a job ANYWHERE. And that scares me because my brain goes into this scary death spiral as I call it of everything that will go wrong. My brain always does that. Always has. Everything can (and generally will be fine) and my brain will still do that. That being said, I need to work on saying no more to the bad things and saying yes to the good things. Which sounds obvious but, I try to be the ‘good’ friend and the ‘good’ person at the point of exhausting and hurting myself. I also have gotten rid of some toxic friends and am working on more.

    Thank you for being open and honest with us. I love you Jamie.

  43. One thing you can be sure of is that even though you might think someone is living the life you want, they are looking at someone just like you and saying I wish I had that life. Because you know what? NO ONE is ever completely satisfied. Humans are programmed to want, want, want and need, need, need and I don’t think we are ever completely content. It’s all about being happy with what you have and being rich in THIS life. I know I talk a big talk (people should take their own advice) and I complain with the best of them, but I AM really working on this. It’s certainly not easy to stop wishing you had something else. But I do know that I have more than most people have even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. I bet you do too. It’s all about the mindset I think. To be completely honest, I needed medication to help me get there. That’s how messed up I am. I KNOW you can do it. And you will get to where you are happy. You’re an over-analyzer and over-planner just like me. You need everything structured. And it sucks when it can’t be. It sucks when you get to the end of the day and you still have so much shit you didn’t get done and it makes you not sleep well.

    You know what? I think at some point I need to do a post too. I hope you don’t mind me utilizing this idea for my own blog at some point when I need to vent.

    I want to travel so bad!

    You’ll get there. And remember, everyone around you loves you for who you are. Even if sometimes it does get pretty overwhelming inside that head of yours. You are beautiful, even with your flaws. I am proud to call you my friend.

  44. Jamie, this post is BEAUTIFUL. I know that I’m going to end up reiterating what everyone above me has already said, but, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being so brave and saying what so many of us are feeling. You are so not alone in this. I think that many people go through moments in their lives where they’re like, “What am I DOING?” and wishing that they were someplace else. I know, personally, I struggle with the fact that I am STILL in school, even though I’m over 30 and STILL working towards acquiring the education needed for my dream job of working in a library. I have to laugh at myself for acquiring another degree, and two-thirds of a second degree (that’s a LONG story), only to come completely full circle and realize that my third grade self knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I changed my mind many, many times since Grade 3, and now I wish that I’d listened to my eight-year-old self and gone straight into library sciences after high school. Yet, at the same time, those educational side trips that I took along the way taught me a lot about life and made me into the person that I am today, so I don’t regret anything (although, I do sometimes wish that I hadn’t spent all that money!) So, even the things that you go through that don’t seem worthwhile DO have a purpose in your life, and sometimes you just can’t see that until you look back.

    One last thing because this is getting long. My husband always quotes Deepak Chopra to me when I’m all “Why me? Why is this happening?” He says: EVERYTHING IN THIS MOMENT IS AS IT SHOULD BE. And I’ve kept that as my mantra for years now. It helps to contextualize things for me. Even if it seems like the world is crashing down around me, there is a reason why things are happening the way they are, so I just trust in the moment and go with it. I hope that makes sense.

    Anywho, sending you a massively big hug from Canada — hang in there! You have a world filled with people who love you.

  45. Hey Jamie,
    I read your posts and follow you on twitter etc but rarely comment (sorry) but I wanted to say that this is an AWESOME post and I totally get it. So much of this is just stuff that I feel, but I too am too scared to go do stuff. I want to make a list now, and do stuff… in fact I will go do that! I just love this and it’s so brave, such a brilliant idea for a new feature as well. And (I wasn’t sure how to phrase this) thanks (already) for being open about losing your mum, becasue I too lost mine and to find other people around a similiar age who have been through similiar experiences and are open about them is always nice (if you know what I mean), as it’s so rare for people to be open about it…. does that make sense? I couldn’t really phrase what I wanted to say, but I hope I got the idea across? Lots of love xxxxx

    • I just saw Marie post something similiar about having lost a parent and of course she said what I wanted to say perfectly. Same goes with me, if you need someone to talk about it, I’m here and I get it 🙂 xxx

  46. This is such a fantastic post, and like I said on Twitter, you’re so brave for posting this. I can totally relate to you when you say that you don’t know what you’re going to do in life, and I think that a lot of people usually have that feeling early on. Although I can’t tell you that it gets better since I haven’t lived those years myself, I feel like you’re going to have a fantastically bright future ahead of you 🙂 And things like this will only make you stronger and ready for what amazing things are ahead of you.

    Also, I’m so happy your project’s working in your favor, because that quote is so true. I think a lot of us worry unnecessarily about things like our waistline and how we look when we should just enjoy what we have and love every minute of life 🙂 Don’t worry, Jamie, you’re not alone when you talk about doing things that you want to do but can’t because fear takes over. This is just such an inspirational and deep post, and I’m just so happy for you that you’re finding your way in life; even if it may take a while, I have total confidence that you’re going to get to where you want to be in life and be completely happy with it!

    We all love you, Jamie! Keep on being awesome <333

  47. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Even though I emailed you my personal thoughts about this, I just wanted to say here that I love you & thank you for being part of my one wild and precious life <3

  48. This post is so inspiring, Jamie. I commend you for being so brave and sharing with us all because I know how hard that can be. I had very similar feelings throughout my first two years of college. They were probably some of the most difficult years of my life because I was so miserable. I had spent my life doing things everyone else wanted me to do rather than living my life how I wanted. I had people in my life that were putting their interests before me and this did a lot of damage to me.

    This past year I’ve focused on doing the things I want and filling my life with the people that make me happy. It’s been hard and scary as hell, but totally worth it. I’ve done some really crazy things that I wouldn’t have done in the past that have changed my life for the better. Along the way, I’m learning who I am. The number one piece of advice I could give is never give up. Never stop striving for whatever it is you want. I’m a firm believer that if you want it enough, it will happen because YOU will make it happen. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it has been true for me. There have been things I’ve worked for for my entire life that are finally happening now and it’s amazing. Being mindful really helps too. If you’re focusing on the moment that you’re in, you’ll notice extraordinary things that you might not have otherwise. Sure, I have days where my entire day is spent at the computer which in itself sounds like I did nothing, but a lot of the time I was having fun. I was talking to people and learning new things and if I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a waste of time at all.

    Anyways, *giant hug.* I really like the list you made for yourself. It’s filled with awesome things and I know you’ll accomplish them 🙂

  49. I already told you this on Twitter, but this post is so beautiful and inspiring and it totally made me tear up reading it! I love the quote and image you posted about your one wild and free life. It is so true and right now I’m in a bit of a rut so I can totally relate.

    Fear and anxiety and my idea of others perceptions of me have held me back for so long. Last year I decided I was going to do something that I’d been wanting to do for a long time: study abroad in England. It took a lot of support and convincing myself to do it, and when I did, it was AMAZING. It felt so freeing to shake off fear and anxiety, and actually I was so so happy while abroad. Coming back home to no school and no job though (I feel like we need to start a jobless book bloggers support group or something, LOL!) with graduation coming up has left me feeling pretty down. Like, now what? I’ve accomplished a lot of the goals I had set out and I’m not exactly sure what I want to do. I know wallowing won’t solve anything, and I need to get out there and explore, but I’ve let the anxiety take over again I think.

    I’m going to spend the next while or so thinking about the question you pose and creating my one wild and true life. Also I highly recommend this 30 day (free!) course called Make Your Life Amazing. I did some of it last year and it really helped me clear my head and I actually accomplished all my goals (and most of them were more long-term/in the future things too). Here’s the link: (you just have to scroll/click back to the first post). Hope that helps & all the best to you Jamie in your journey to live your best life!

  50. I love this post! I absolutely love that you put yourself, your fears, your hopes out there for everyone to read. I often feel exactly like you do and it helps to know that there are others out there that are in the same boat with me. I am 28 years old and feel that I have little to show for it. I have accomplished a lot, but the things that I have accomplished don’t feel like enough to me. I am working on that (both feeling like what I have done is enough for who I am, and working towards doing the things that I wish I had already done). Like you, I want to live life to the fullest and feel happy with myself. I want to recognize the good in myself instead of dwelling on the not so good. I read this post yesterday and I have been thinking about it ever since. I even had a dream about the quote you mentioned! Thanks for letting us into your feelings and inspiring me to make the most out of what I have.

  51. Have you read the wonderful book Reboot by Amy Tintera?

  52. Like so many others I love this post and I can completely relate to it. I feel like I should have my life all settled by now, but I feel just as lost as I did years ago. There have been ups and downs, definitely, but right now I feel stuck in a ‘down’ period. I also haven’t had any luck on the job front. I have 2 part-time jobs, but they’re both very sporadic hours, and 1 of them is only a couple of hours here and there. I have so much education, and yet after each degree I can’t seem to find full-time work. At this point I feel like there’s nothing out there that I’m passionate about. It’s such a frustrating feeling, and I completely relate to that feeling of not contributing anything to the world on a given day.

    I think, in some ways, I really let fear dictate what I do, and that’s not a good feeling to have. I definitely need to work on opening myself up to new situations, and going after the things I really want. I love that you started a book club, and that’s something that I really want to do as well. Maybe that will be my first step.

    Thanks for this lovely post. *hugs*

  53. This is a very inspirational post that I applaud you for writing it, it takes guts to put yourself out there. I know I don’t know you well and I only started following your blog a few months ago, but I have faith in you that you will get all of those wonderful things crossed of your list! I myself rarely know exactly who I am or what I want to do. After reading this my husband and I decided to put together our own lists because some days I feel like I’m just going through the motions and we always have reasons on why we can’t do something. (mostly lack of money) But really if we want it bad enough I think we can get it. We only live once, no matter how cliched that saying is becoming it is entirely true. Okay I think I have rambled enough. Good luck with that list and thanks for the post!

  54. Ahh man. This post rang true with my life right now. It rang so true that it was incredibly hard to read. I actually had to stop and then come back when I wasn’t feeling so emotional. This post describes every fear I am feeling in my life right now, in fact this is my life. And it is so hard to admit to. I have respect for you for being able to be so honest and open.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve been working on this and that it’s successful! One thing about facing your fears is having the courage to. Right now I feel like I’m in limbo, stuck between the place where I know I should be going/where I’ve been working my ass off to get to for the past 7 years (With hardly any results), and the new direction of where I think I want to go now. A whole career change. It’s such a big life change that it scares the crap out of me. And also feels like a lost cause. Financially I am in no position to change direction. So I have done nothing except push these thoughts to the back of my mind and live my life the way I’ve been living for the past year.

    Your post has made me bring all of these thoughts back to the surface. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about financials? I’m not happy in my life and I’m the only one that can change that. Except it’s so hard to figure out what I want and what would make me happy if it’s not the career path that I thought I had a passion for seven years ago. Where do I go now? What do I do? Who do I even ask for help? I think of going to a career advisor/counsellor or whomever would be more suited to helping me, but then I remember there’s no way I could afford that. So I move back to square one. It feels like a huge ugly cycle. And I’m only 23…

    I definitely I don’t feel like I’m living life to the fullest and perhaps may be wasting away this one precious life. And that’s hard to bear.

  55. Dude, I haven’t been following you long but I LOVE your blog.
    Your post is so honest, congratulations for putting yourself out there.
    I want to have a mortgage and a house by the end of the year with two puppies. 🙂 But until then I have to smile at the little things. Watching the sunrise, walking hand in hand with my partner, watching him work on his car smiling, family chats, patting dogs, walking on the beach. I completely understand you have to push your worry for the furure aside and revel in moment.
    Best wishes for starting and good luck *hugs*

  56. Danielle Nguyen says:

    God, I can identify with this in so many ways. “I’m sick of not doing things because I’m scared.” 1000 time yes. I’m so sick of being paralyzed by fear and the resulting inability to make decisions. You are definitely not alone. It’s so damn hard to take risks, but we’re not doing ourselves any favors by keeping everything the same. I’m glad you’re making some progress and I love that you wrote this post. That’s pretty fearless, in my opinion 🙂

  57. What a great post, I think it’s amazing that you put this all out there.

    I’m in the midst of a huge, huge life change. I’m in the last week of a job (working in sales for a book publisher) that I’ve had for five and half years (since I graduated college). Next Tuesday I will be moving from Brooklyn (from the apartment I’ve lived for five years) back in with my parents on Long Island to take pre-reqs to apply to grad school to be a registered dietitian. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I was so scared of how I’d do it and how much time it would take, but I decided that it’s pretty much now or never.

    But it sucks to move back in with my parents a week before I turn 28, to leave all my friends in NYC (although I won’t be that far away), to not make any money (although I’ll probably get a part-time job), and to not have health insurance. When I was making the decision about whether to do this or not I came across this quote by Earl Nightingale and, cheesy as it might be, it really helped me: “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” I don’t know if it fits with your situation, but I thought I’d put it out there.

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. I am a big believer in life coming together as it should, but I also think we need to put the work in to make it come together and I know that can be really tough.

  58. LOVE this post, Jamie! I could totally relate. I took a huge risk when I decided to move from Manila to Singapore for my current job. And it was so hard to be away from family and friends and not have a support system. I took comfort in reading books and trying to find a balance between blogging and adjusting to a new chapter in my life. Lately, I feel like I’ve finally gotten used to things. That gives me more time to think about the future and what I really want to do with my life. I was offered a great opportunity when the chance came for me to move here so I took it. But now I’m starting to wonder about next steps. Because I feel like this is just a stepping stone and I still need to figure out what is it that I really want to do with my life because I would love to do something that I’m passionate about – to wake up every morning and not feel like you’re going to work just because you need to pay the bills. I’m always jealous of people who have jobs that they love because not a lot of people are lucky enough to be in that kind of situation. So yay you for being more mindful about doing the things that you want to do. We should all be doing that. 🙂

  59. Jamie, I just wanted to say that I’m right there with you. In the last year I have moved to a new city, started a new job, purchased a house, moved-in with my now-husband, gotten married and had my very best friend move away from my new city. I feel like I’m still trying to figure out who this new version of me is too, and it’s tough. I’m also working on a project that’s helping me feel a little less crazy, but just so you know, you’re not alone. 🙂

  60. This is a beautiful post, Jamie. I can connect with a lot of what you said (especially not doing things because your scared to do them). I’m not sure if I’d be brave enough to make a post like this, but I’m really glad you were brave enough to. This is really inspirational, actually. To me at least. Since you’ve been going out and doing things that scare you, that I surely can, right? Maybe I will go to my friends party this weekend instead of sitting home by myself….(:

  61. I’ve been meaning to comment on this ever since you posted it BUT I was on my phone and can’t comment. Fail. But anyways, I LOVE this post! And I was feeling the same way a year ago. I wanted to do all these things and travel and have my own adventure and I realized that me sitting here wanting it is never going to make it happen. I have to go out there and grab life by the balls and make it happen. I traveled around Europe last year for 3 weeks and I went to Toronto to visit a friend I met there AND I’m going back to Europe for all of October. You HAVE to do what you want because life is so short and unless you seize the day you’ll be 10 years from now wondering why you never did it when you were younger and had times. I have no regrets about traveling or spending a ton of money on flights or tours because it is what I am passionate about and what I want to do. I know you will do fabulous things and I know I’m only talking about traveling but if you want to see the world go do it. Carpe diem 🙂

  62. I honestly know that if I answered this questions you posed at the end of this post… I might end up writing an entire blog post in your comments. While I would love that, and I know that you’d be interested in reading it… I will TRY to restrain myself a little bit first and talk about YOU.

    Ever since we’ve first met, I’ve found you fascinating. There’s so much brimming beneath your surface, and it constantly surprises me how much you and I (who appear so different) have in common when it comes to dreams (namely, books and travel and cute dresses and yummy dessert… and more). I think it’s wonderful that you’ve decided to open up and share even more of your awesome self with the rest of the blogging world. The authenticity and heart that went into this post struck a chord with me, and with all the other amazing people who’ve read it, and I think that you’re on the brink of starting a revolution in this community with this self-reflective post.

    I am glad for you that you’re starting to accomplish your secret project/goals, and I look forward to cheering you on! On your list, my favorite things are travel (obviously!) and the part about writing stories down for Genevieve. I was thinking about history the other day, namely mine, and I want to ask my grandmothers and my parents little bits about their life and their stories. I want to make that a concrete thing (like a family memoir) and I hope I can get jump started on this project soon, alongside my sister.

    Now, to answer your question, the short answer is…. a whole lot of things. I’d get married (oh wait, that’s already happening) to the love of my life. I’d have three to five kids and raise them all with a firm hand, but a gentle heart and loving spirit. I’d travel to all the places on my bucket list and learn their cultures and find a story in each one. I’d write a book, one that will touch the hearts of the readers and make them think or make them laugh or make them gasp. I’d work in a library or own my own bookstore and cafe. I’d find a way to make sure I could stay in touch with all the people I love – and hopefully, it’s something crafty. I’d learn to take better photos, and try to learn to cook. I’d chase after my whims whenever I could, trusting that they could happen if I just try hard enough. I’d reach out more to other people, since one of the things that is important to me is making a difference in someone’s life. I’d LOVE so fiercely and so much and so hard.

    What’s holding me back? It’s a lot of mind games, all of which trace back to my fear and insecurity. I’ve been learning how to deal with these things slowly but surely. I’ve found journaling after a day has helped, because I get to see things in retrospect and figure out what to do the next time I encounter them. I try to be intentional about the choices I make or things I do, which has helped greatly as well (since I’m goals-oriented). I think, in part, that even though there are things holding me back… I do try.

    Whew, okay, I know, that was pretty long. But your post just calls for an equally honest, true response and I hope I gave you that!

  63. Jamie,
    I followed a random link to your blog over a year ago. I just wanted to let you know that you are the person who inspired me to start blogging!
    I need to be inspired more by you and put more personal posts up and not JUST posts about books! I love your posts an love to read what you write. This post was amazing. I work with my youth group at church and was talking with one of my youth on Sunday and she has recently cut out one of her friend who has been toxic to her. It has made all the difference in her life… I’m so inspired by her (and you!)
    I’m actually getting ready to make a huge leap and quit my job and I’m terrified, but like you, it is something I need to do to make me happy. I can’t wait…. 🙂 You are so amazing and everyday I wait to hear that you’ve gotten a job! Crossing my fingers for you! Adriane

  64. Hailey McQueen says:

    I lovw this post! I love your blog in general! I love reading too, and I like to read your reviews on some of the same books that we’ve read, it’s fun to look at both of our opinions! But yes, I just wanted to tell you how much I love this blog, and I’m a very frequent viewer!(:


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