Hi there, I’m Jen – creator of Brave Intentional Life. I’m a writer, teacher and mama living in a tiny house in Auckland, New Zealand.
My life philosophy compiles all the random things that inspire and resonate with me: it’s a little bit woo, a little bit hippie, a little bit minimalist, a little bit eco-warrior, a little bit feminist, a little bit anarchist and a lot unconventional.
It’s unconventional simply because once I started to open my eyes and actually listen to conventional wisdom I realised how absurd most of it is. I lived a conventional life for years and never felt happy. I spent a lot of time thinking ‘is this it?’ and wondering how others seemed to be happy while I felt so empty.
Now I realise that actually a lot of people aren’t happy, but they are numb or distracted – by the media, debt, consumer culture, keeping up with the Joneses, staying young, losing weight, paying bills, working long hours, worrying about terrorism and so on.
I used to live like this until a severe depressive episode helped me to wake up to the fact that living a conventional life was making me miserable: Working long hours for someone else and never earning ‘enough’ to make up for it, living in a big house accumulating stuff that didn’t bring me any joy, commuting for hours every day and just trying to stay awake in traffic, waiting for a few weeks each year to enjoy a vacation but being too exhausted to enjoy it, always trying to lose weight so I could finally be happy with my body but only succeeding to ultimately gain more weight with each attempt, trying to just convince myself that this was life as an adult and there was nothing I could do about it.
I’d dabbled with the idea of living more intentionally before, inspired by books such as The Art of Non-Conformity, Time Rich Cash Optional, and How to be Free. But it wasn’t until I started a powerful daily journaling practice in early 2014 that I finally found the inner courage to take an honest look at my life and start to make changes.
I started to create often and share it with others, build a small online business, eventually quit working for someone else and, with the help of my fiance, build and move into a tiny house, downsizing dramatically in order to have fewer expenses and more freedom. I quit dieting and focused on accepting and loving myself as I am. I stopped scouring magazines and shopping malls for happiness, and found I was much happier at home with a pen in my hand and a journal on my lap.
I came to learn that my unconventional ideas about owning less, consuming less, creating more and focusing on purpose and meaning over making money were just the tip of the iceberg. Over time I came to see that much of conventional wisdom is bullshit and, generally, unconventional wisdom resonated more deeply with me, especially when it comes to parenting (I’ve chosen more unconventional methods of raising my son such as refusing to sleep train him, doing baby-led weaning, and when the time comes (or doesn’t come!) unschooling him, to name a few).
My purpose in sharing this is not so much to encourage you to do the same things, but rather to encourage you to question conventional wisdom and find the right path for you. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon and switch off, like most people do: be intentional, ask questions, think for yourself, be brave enough to live a life that is meaningful to you, rather than just following the herd.
My goal in my work is to show up as honestly, authentically and truthfully as I can. I don’t want to hide behind fancy web design, carefully crafted sales pages and a curated online image. I want to share my life in all its rawness and truth, so that I can encourage others to do the same.
Some things about me:
I love dark chocolate, second hand bookstores, crystals, travel, tiny houses, journaling and good coffee.
I’m trained in secondary teaching, life coaching and psychology, but my true passion is learning about intentional living and sharing what I learn through my writing and online classes.
I live with my fiance, one year old son and pup in a tiny house on a hill in New Zealand.
I’m writing a book! Read more here.
If you find my work inspiring or helpful, please consider supporting me on Patreon.