Jacqueline Marie Allen
Are you happy at the moment?
The short answer is yes.
Like the Whos in Whoville the morning after the Grinch stole from them everything that they thought brought them joy… I’m singing and I’m happy and my life is full…not perfect, but full.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I’ve thought about this question a lot in the last few years and I’ve decided that I would change absolutely nothing! Believe me, with the events of the last couple of years, I’ve often contemplated the moment that my life started this course—the one that includes leaving my marriage of almost 25 years, loading a U-Haul, and moving across the country into my mother and step-father’s basement 18 months ago. I realize that if I changed one thing that about the circumstances that made that move necessary, I would change EVERYTHING! (If you’ve seen “Back to the Future”, you know that messing with the Time Space Continuum is no joke!) And I honestly can say, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned so much and I’m still learning. There was so much good is my life even though my relationship wasn’t what it should have been. I have five beautiful offspring; I’ve lived in several places in the U.S., and met some amazing people. The bottom line is I am who I am because of ALL of it!
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Not a new lesson, but definitely emphasized in the last year: The only actions I am personally responsible for are my own.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I actually have a very specific plan. My friend and I are opening a bakery. I’ve moved to Minnesota to help her run the business and allow her to focus on the creative side–baking and decorating. I moved here and landed a job, which will sustain me in the meantime so I will be busy in the next twelve months.
What’s your secret to happiness?
I focus on the potential in life with a positive attitude. One of my favorite quotes is, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with what happens to you.” Everything is better with a positive attitude.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I journal… especially when things are not going smoothly. It helps me to stop and think and analyze and plan.
What’s your biggest regret?
I try not to regret, but accept even the negative as lessons learned. The key is learning from the bad things and the missed opportunities in life. I make that phone call when I think of someone because you never know. Making a mistake scares me less than not taking a risk.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
There were so many important lessons that I had a hard time narrowing it down. I polled my three daughters and two answered, “Boys are stupid” (lol) and the other reminded me that I taught her not to compare herself to others and to be okay with being the unique creature that she is. They are amazing people, and should behave accordingly. I always made sure all five of them knew that I was their number one cheerleader.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I put off things that are difficult. I am in the process of changing it. Hey, I’m not dead yet so it’s not too late to make changes.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
Outside of motherhood there isn’t a thing. I spent the last probably thirty years centered on being the best mother I could be. My oldest is 25 so it was way before she was even born. But what I’m realizing is I am resilient. The way I mothered was “to be”. I didn’t teach, “I was”. I tried to be what I wanted them to become. Ultimately, even my decision to leave a bad relationship was because I didn’t want my children to make the same mistake of settling for bad behavior in another just so that they are not alone. I’m learning to love me for me—and not accepting someone else’s definition of me. I am an artist, a friend, a mentor, a student; and I put my all into everything I do.
When were you happiest?
I don’t know if there is only one moment in my life that I can identify as the happiest. I prefer the feeling of contentment.. I remember a moment the day last child came home from he hospital. I sat outside on my front step in a chair. I held my baby and the other four romped around the front yard with the neighbors’ children. Everything that I worked for and worked to do up to that point was realized in that moment. I remember drinking in that moment.
Another one recently was on my drive to Minnesota. I was feeling, as I gazed on the beautiful scenery along the highway, that for the first time in my adult life, my choices are my own. I was singing Jennifer Hudson’s “I Got This” as I headed to my destiny, my reason for being. I was definitely happy (content) at that moment.
What ten words best describe you?
Understanding, friendly, loving, joyful, artistic, loyal, beautiful, talented, kind, and leader.
Jacqueline Marie Allen, Jacki to her friends, is one of five daughters, graduate of Girls High in Philly, who became a Finance Major in college. She is a mom to three daughters and two sons ranging in age from 25 – 14. While raising her kids she made money making cards and teaching others to make cards. After 25 years of marriage she transitioned back to being single to move to Minnesota to realize a dream.