Five Years

Five years ago today, I launched Life Is For Living with this blog post.

It was 2012. I was twenty-three and at a pivotal point in my life. I was fresh out of nursing school and working my first job in healthcare, realizing, quite painfully, how much I dislike the medical field. I weighed 240 pounds, I did nothing I enjoyed, I was so very single, and I was miserable. I felt so stuck.

This blog became my project, my way out of the pit, my journey from my comfort zone and toward my goals. I wrote then:

This blog is a clean slate, a new place to share and think and create. To chronicle my fantastic adventures. To be positive. I'm tired of just existing. I want to live. 

Over the next five years, I documented my 70+ pound weight loss journey. I wrote about running my first 5K. Going to yoga class for the first time. I shared the details of The Month of No Fear. I blogged about tackling NaNoWriMo. I discussed my adventures in online dating, which, eventually, led me to my husband. I wrote about going back to college to finish my B.A. in English while working full-time as a nurse. I chronicled the months of dating Matt, I wrote our proposal story, and I blogged about the wedding planning. Life Is For Living followed our post-wedding moves to Illinois, then to Missouri, then to Alabama, and documented our first years as newlyweds.

During our first year of marriage, when we experienced truly tight finances for the first time, we began practicing Dave Ramsey's methods. Our new goal to become debt-free became an increasingly frequent topic on the blog, and as time passed, we focused more and more intensely on this one goal. That's why today, five years later, financial freedom become the primary focus of Life Is For Living.

But really, I would argue that the focus hasn't changed. Making goals and putting in the work to achieve them is what this blog has always been about. Along the way, my life's circumstances have changed. A few of my goals themselves have changed. I've certainly changed. But the drive to not wallow in my unhappiness, to improve, to work hard to accomplish things, this remains.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jen is in such a different place from her twenty-three-year-old, tear-and-Doritos-stained counterpart that it's downright disturbing. Did I think I'd be obese again, waiting tables at Mellow Mushroom, working nights and weekends as a nurse, living in a third-floor apartment, still in Alabama, with two dogs right now?!? Certainly not. But I also had no idea that I'd be married to a hilarious, kind, supportive, generous, amazing man, living in a super cool city, in the process of buying my own house with a quiet, gorgeous, tree-shaded yard, and still maintaining and growing this blog, either.

In many ways, I still feel like I did in that very first post. Fat. Frustrated. Fed up with work. Despite all the progress, I find myself crawling back to the old comfort zone regularly. I tend to make decisions based on safety and security and practicality, rather than pursuing what I wish I could do. That's why I'm still working in healthcare and collecting dust on my English degree.

But, I am older. I'm a bit wiser. A bit more determined. I'm still working toward goals, and I'm not giving up. This five-year anniversary has shifted my focus back to where it should be and renewed my resolve. From finances to fitness to fun Bucket List activities, I'm ready to keep moving forward.

To anyone out there reading this, especially those few of you who've been around since that first post in 2012, thank you! Thank you for joining me these past five years, for following my little adventures, for encouraging me with your comments, for sharing your advice. I'm grateful for your readership and your company!


Regine Karpel said...


Lacey said...

I'm not really sure when I started following you... maybe three years ago? It's so weird how time passes, and how much some things can change, and how some things stay the same. It's so good to push yourself to change the things that should be changed, and recognize when you've reached goals and how much good you have in your life, despite lack of progress in other areas.

Anyway, I'm glad I started reading! You are a great person to know! Cheers to five years!