A dear friend of mine, Jenny, died in 2018 unexpectedly. She would have celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day. As I reflect on 2018 I can’t help but think of her and how I can #livelikejenny.

My friend had a zest for life and she made a conscious choice to actively participate in it. She sought out opportunities to connect, engage and have fun. One such time was when I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon with her and my sister. We volunteered as part of the Expedia team even though none of us worked there. We had a mutual friend who did but was unable to participate. Rather than working the beer tent like we planned, we were asked to “catch bandits” at mile 26. Some fun and hijinks ensued.

We shared a love of travel. Travel was an adventure for Jenny – to taste, smell, and experience life in places she had only dreamt about. It was about sharing a great meal, telling a great story and finding humor even in times where things didn’t go as planned…like a trip to Machu Picchu where the entire group got food poisoning and some people could not participate in the mountain climb. Thankfully Jenny recovered, made it to the top and relished telling everyone her Machu Picchu story.

She was just one month shy of her 20-year work anniversary when she passed. Her colleagues referred to her willingness to help and give support to those in earlier stages of their career. Jenny talked often of goals, of reaching and surpassing them and subsequently winning awards. She also spoke to the struggles of when she didn’t reach those goals. She was able to celebrate the wins, learn from her losses and come back with ideas on how to improve next time.

So how can I #livelikejenny? How can I celebrate her life and remember her? We talked of going on a Russian river cruise to celebrate her big birthday. When I get there I will have a drink or two and toast to her, knowing she’s up above watching. In the meantime, I’ll share her zest for life. I will continue to explore, seek out new work and travel adventures, connect with friends and experience life to the fullest. I promise to hope, to love and dream big dreams and go after them.


Photo by Amy E Mikel. Chicago, October 2016.