Catalyst Cooks

Make. Food. Happen!

Rollin’ down the River April 8, 2010

Filed under: © Jen Antila and Jen the Catalyst, 2010 to present. — Jen Antila @ 8:19 am

How in the heck did I get here from there?  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

It all started here…

Jenny pondering cooking

Just kidding!  As much as I love giving context or the backstory, I’m not going to start there. 

Do you remember the first big decision you had to make in your life?  My first independent choice was to select where to go to college.  I was smart, but not the smartest; I knew what I liked but didn’t know what I wanted.  After a visit to my friend Missy who was in her freshman year at a very nice and beautiful school, I decided to go here:

It felt good when I visited there.  I didn’t need to rationalize it any further.  I applied for early admission and received my acceptance in November.  No big whoop.

I don’t remember learning to do laundry, but somehow I managed to dress myself presentably after I moved into my dorm.  I had gamed the system at home – let’s just say I learned via observation rather than by doing.  When I arrived at school, the extent of my Suzy homemaker skills was making my bed.  Probably not very well either.

(a sidenote to parents completely exasperated with their children’s contributions at home: all is not lost.  I learned how to manage my household.  and some days I even want to do it.)

In my sophomore year at college, I decided to major in French.  Why?  Because I liked it.  Foreign language was more natural to me than some of the other things I liked.

I guess I like to do what I like and “go with the flow” of my natural talents.  I watched a lot of people fight an uphill battle… stay up all night studying… (I did that too, but only once I think, and it was due to procrastination on my part)… I was sometimes envious of the drive some friends displayed, pulling all nighters 5 of 7 nights a week and aspiring to big, big things.

French majors usually want to go to France.  My gut said, Not me!  When presented with the opportunity, I was scared.  I was pretty comfortable in my college life.  I’d miss Homecoming!  What about the start of hockey season???

Well… I ended up here:

Jen and friends (including Kendall!) in Paris, 1992

The Paris experience kicked me into a new phase of life, appreciation and joy, including my first attempt at making mashed potatoes (and much more!)  I’m looking forward to sharing the story of my first-ever dinner party, which was the first sign of my cooking bug.

What was a major event that changed the course of your life?  What are you doing today that you can trace back to that experience?


2 Responses to “Rollin’ down the River”

  1. Hi Jen,

    I SO admire you for trusting yourself–and life–enough to go with the flow and do what feels right. We each have a deep and inner knowing of what’s right for us…and the answers lie in our heart and gut, rather than in our head. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve always been so drawn to you: You have a special ‘easiness’ about life. Your desires are simple–to enjoy life, to have fun, to make a difference, and to be your best. What more is there?

    To answer your question, the major event that changed the course of my life was making the decision to leave my corporate job, my dream home, my “things,” and my life as I knew it…to downsize, move into a townhouse, go back to school, and launch my coaching business.

    Every day these last seven years I have been extremely grateful for taking the risk to live the dream. I couldn’t be in more of a ‘right’ fit with my coaching! And I’m sharing my best self with the world (well, let’s be honest–I’m a work in progress, just like everyone else!) and helping other women live more joyfully. There’s no better feeling than living “on purpose.”

    Thanks for sharing “you” with us and giving us the opportunity to come along for the ride.


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