Inspiration comes from different places and can come to you at any time. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such strong, independent, kind-hearted women who inspire me and have had a hand in shaping me into who I am.
Let me tell you about my friend Jenny. I’ll start at the beginning, our friendship is one that was simply meant to be. We first met in pre-school, although we don’t remember any of it, we have pictures and video recordings from our time in school and field trip as evidence. Our families moved and therefore we attended different schools through sixth grade. We didn’t keep in touch at all during that time. In the summer before 7th grade our families moved to the same area, our new homes were just a few minutes’ of a walk from each other. We were both new to the middle school and had a few classes together, so we became instant friends. We became best friends. We have been the best of friends since re-connecting in 7th grade. I like to say that the universe made sure that our paths crossed again.
I recently got a chance to visit my best friend and I received a huge burst of inspiration from the time we spent together. So, let me tell you a little bit about Jenny and some of the ways that she inspires me.
A few years ago my best friend did something courageous and joined the United States Army. I was so proud of her for what she was going to do, and I continue to be proud of her for all that she has accomplished. I know it hasn’t been easy and I can’t imagine how difficult its been having to move around the country at any given time, go overseas on deployment, and spend so much time away from friends and family. I will forever be proud of what my best friend chose to do and I can’t wait to see where this path will take her. This alone shows how strong she is, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally as well. The Army brought her many things, including a loving husband and to her current destination in Florida.
*Side note: Florida is my home away from home, so you see how the universe keeps bringing us together?
In high school, we both took AP Environmental Science and it changed our lives. We became vegetarians and we were determined to reduce our carbon footprint. I kept my vegetation lifestyle for a little over 4 years and then I met Mike (my husband). I blame him for my downfall. Well ok, I take responsibility for falling off the wagon but I’ll save that story for another post. Jenny has been a vegetarian for 8 years now and even goes through periods of trying a vegan diet. I’ve wanted to start up my vegetarian diet again but found it to be difficult compared to the first time. There are times when I still buy alternative options or do “Meatless Monday,” but I truly admire Jenny so much for being able to fully stay a vegetarian. Spending time with her on my recent trip to Orlando gave me the push of inspiration I needed to get back to the vegetarian lifestyle. So this is it, I am holding myself accountable by publically stating that I am a vegetarian once again.
- Cruelty-Free and Minimalist Lifestyle
I recently asked Jenny about one of her side hustles, which was selling for a make-up company. She was doing pretty well, but she gave it up because the company decided to move to a country where animal testing is permitted on the company products. Upon that change in the company, Jenny walked away. Anyone, who walks away from a stream of money in order to not comprise his or her principals, deserves a round of applause in my book.
Remember when I mentioned we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint? Well, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is still very important in my life. Jenny, however, takes it a step further. In her home, you will not find disposable paper towels, you will only find washable dinner napkins or hand towels. You will not find plastic pre-filled water bottles, instead, you will have water from the Brita filter pitcher. The sauce jars are used as “mason jars” for drinks or as jars to hold trinkets. My household is pretty amazing at recycling, but my recent time with Jenny has reminded me to increase our awareness and focus more on reducing and reusing as well.
Jenny was one of the first people to talk to me about minimalist lifestyles. Now, I don’t think she is an extremist but it’s something that has inspired me a lot this past year. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be a minimalist, but trying to think like one when making a purchase is a step in the right direction to decreasing our carbon footprint and maintaining a de-cluttered house. If you want a little more inspiration, think about all the money you are going to save! I recently heard someone say that a minimalist lifestyle is not necessarily about not owning anything but rather ensuring that what you own truly brings happiness to you.
We are opposites when it comes to our personalities but we hold the same core values. We compliment and complete each other in many ways. I could really go on and on, on the number of ways Jenny inspires me or how our friendship has helped me become a better person. In this season of thanks, I am thankful for her.