My grandparents live in a storybook home tucked away in the mountains. Christmastime it is plush with winter white, as the snow never fails to dust its bare limbs. It’s truly a storybook come alive, especially when their red barn warms the frost bitten sight.

In the barn, I found time had stood still for 50 years. Dusty dolls from Japan stood frozen, suitcases retired with residue from far away lands, and then there were my childhood photo books and journals lightly laced with cobwebs.

I poured through the pages determined to find an answer to questions I hadn’t quite formed in my mind yet. There was a nagging sense I needed to find something. I think it was me I was looking for. As adults we are on the constant hunt to figure out who we are, yet as children we just are unapologetically.

My journals from when I was a kid far differed from those of my young 20’s. At 9, I talked about the pop tart I ate that morning, and wrote to my Diary as “Dear Jonathan” referring to my big celeb crush – Jonathan Taylor Thomas. As a young adult in my 20’s, my journals were heavy laden with not doing it right and not being enough. It was clear, I was waiting to get it “right” before I allowed myself to live.

Young hearts are sensitive, passionate and open. They are in wonderment of new experiences, yet equally navigating the growing pains of reality in front of them. The bruised parts of the past that were locked away, are also shadows begining to creep into the quiet spaces. It’s hard to let yourself breathe at times. But I urge you, young heart, don’t let the growing pains take your focus from your freedom. Freedom to be young. You have all the space to make mistakes, to take risks, and to fail. Regret is harder to wash off than mistakes being forgiven.

Life isn’t delicate, though it is short. Splatter on the blank canvas of life. I assure you it will make sense one day when you look back at your barn filled with treasures of memories.




I remember the day my independence began. It was invigorating, and slightly scary. Finally, I could take on the world and change it to my liking. I was free.

It was still dark outside, when dad drove me to the airport to head to Texas for a year of soul searching. I was just 18, though I felt like I had been ready for at least 5 years to be out of my parents house. Yet, in typical Jessica fashion, I left all my bedding at home in DC and had to sleep on a bare mattress in the fetal position for lack of warmth. Welcome to adulthood. In truth, I thought I was so prepared mentally, but no one could’ve prepared me for myself.

It’s hard to be an adult, especially when we feel like a kid inside trying to figure out how to do this “adult” thing. So I wanted to tell you what I learned in my experience being an adult and, sometimes a big kid. If you don’t mind, my letters will come in spurts of inspiration as I reflect and continue in my own life lessons.

The one thing you must first remember is that life isn’t delicate, and it isn’t long lasting. It moves like a freight train faster than you think. There are no real rules in how you do it, just standards in which you choose to live it.