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Inspirational Interview: Jolene

by Ashley on January 7, 2013 · 4 comments

This is the first post in a new series of Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Jolene about her divorce, her love for barre, and finding love again.

me w M

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I am 33 (ack, why does that feel so *old* when I write it? ;-)), I’m madly in love with a man I will marry this year (more on him later!), I’m a runner, barre (as in barre n9ne studio) geek/instructor/diehard, and live for all things balance, moderation, happiness and…wine. I’m a triplet (my two sisters are my very best friends). And I am divorced, but now, just about four years later, I realize that that was the best thing that could ever have happened.

2. What does living a “super awesome life” look like for you?

I believe my divorce was the biggest catalyst for me in becoming the best me I could ever become, earning a wee bit of fearlessness, a large dose of independence and an even heavier dose of happiness than I ever thought possible. It is what has pushed me towards pursuing this ‘super awesome life’ I live now, a life I never would have even pursued if I were still married to my ex-husband. I took a leap of faith towards a job that is more than 3,000 miles away, I forayed into instructing group fitness classes, running two half marathons, and dating – which, for any of you that have ever had to date (as a means to an end, let’s face it!), it can be incredibly daunting, humbling, and all-consuming and is an achievement in itself ;-). But all of the leaps of faith I’ve made, all of the ‘unseating’ of comfort zones I have experienced has been incredibly worthwhile because I truly am living the happiest life I could be – equal parts love, family, sweat, traveling and just LIVING.

3. You went through a divorce 4 years ago. Can you share a bit about that experience and how you moved forward?

It feels like a completely different life at this point. Four years might as well be 10 or 15, honestly. I cannot wrap my head around my life then vs. now, or the ME then vs. now. I was relatively co-dependent, feared being alone, and sort of just went through the motions of life. My ex and I met when I was 20 and he was 19 and we were together for just about 10 years (married for just under 3, technically). I describe our love as immature love, because it never truly progressed or grew in time, and our lives and our personalities didn’t either. We stagnated. We grew complacent. Yet I never saw it. And never would have, if he did not make the decision to divorce. While I didn’t agree with his approach to our divorce then (he basically just decided out of the blue one day, no interest in counseling etc), I am actually extremely grateful he made the decision. Because I couldn’t be living a happier life than I am now. I also credit dating – yes dating – to moving forward and initial growth after my divorce. I did the online dating thing on and off for about two years and not only is it incredibly humbling (you just sort of have to laugh after one too many one-date-wonders!!), I really did learn something from every single person I dated once, twice, or longer. It helped me cultivate my dealmakers AND dealbreakers and realize that ultimately, I wanted a man IN my life but not to BE my life.

4. And now you’re head-over-heels in love and engaged to be married! What advice would you give to someone wondering if they will ever find love again?

My favorite quote comes from this pin, that says: “To those that have given up on love, I say trust life a little bit.” And that is completely my advice to anyone that has gone through divorce or has simply not met that ‘made for them’ person in their life yet. It may have taken me a divorce, many many one-date-wonders and failed almost- but-not-quite-right fits to find M, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because like I said, I learned SO much from those two years of dating and had I met M right out of the gate, I don’t know that I would have learned nearly as much about myself. As for M (as I refer to him on my blog), meeting him was truly one of those ‘when you aren’t looking…’ moments. If it was my self-professed last ditch effort at I signed up back up, and he was
one of the first profiles I read, and it literally felt as though it were written specifically TO ME. So I emailed him, not expecting to hear back, because naturally, the one you think is perfect for you never does (wink), and he did, that very same night. Not only were we both divorced (within a year apart), we were born 3 days apart and shared the same outlook on life, fitness, and happiness. Our first date was my last first date of my life and neither of us has ever looked back. He is my heart, my best friend, and partner in life. We got engaged in September and hope to get married – quietly – later this year J

5. Fitness is obviously a huge part of your life. How did you get into barre? What inspired you to become an instructor?

I have always loved working out and fitness but after my separation and divorce, I really got more into it. I started running (something I thought I’d never do – one of those ‘I hate running’ people). I ran two half marathons (but since, have decided races are not my thing and now I run for fun, but did my ‘own’ 13.1 last summer, which was just a fun way to hit that number again but on my own turf!). Then I found barre n9ne studio and checked it out. They were holding a contest for a 60 day ‘body transformation’ and to become their spokesperson for a new 60 day challenge program. I entered my identical sister Jess and I to the contest (since we do everything together and I knew she’d be mad if I won, and vice versa!) and we won! Last May, we went through this challenge, which incorporated four classes a week, nutrition guidance and tracking etc. and we both lost about 18 inches in those first 60 days, and a total of about 22 inches and 25 lbs since staying with the challenge program. After that, we continued at the studio, taking countless classes, and officially became certified to instruct classes last March, and ever since, have been instructing and taking as many classes as possible. It is my happy place addiction, like whoa!! I love love love being an instructor, helping clients reach their fitness goals and push themselves even further. It is such a passion and it never gets old, ever!

6. What little things in life right now make you you do a happy dance? Big things?

Wine makes me do a happy dance. Not kidding. I LOVE wine. Big things: related: wine country! I love Healdsburg California, it IS my happy place and my place to do a happy dance. M and I and a few friends and my sister Jess and brother in law go every single year now, and we absolutely adore it! If you ever get the chance to go – GO! (It’s in Sonoma, which I find less snobby than Napa!)

7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

Oh good question. Sandra Bullock is cute, perhaps her ;-)

8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?

Judgmental people. Hands down.

9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?

Right now, I think it is this quote: I have always found that I have grown most when I step out of my comfort zone and do something different, scary or new.

10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?

I have always been a motivated person and one that goes after goals and challenges. Those are what drive me and make me happy and keep me from stagnating. Staying the same all the time is boring, change is exhilarating.

Thanks so much for sharing, Jolene! Have any of you ever begun living your dreams after a tough break-up?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jobo January 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

Thank you so much for profiling me! I love this idea for a series and look forward to reading others’ stories here too!


Katie B. January 7, 2013 at 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more profiles! Such an inspiration. I’m 9 months out from my divorce and just recently became very aware of how *happy* I am now! Such a great feeling.


Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Love this post and love your story Jo! Such an inspiration in so many ways and so many incredible lessons. You are truly living a super awesome life and couldn’t be happier for you!


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