December’s daily #OneGoodThing was dedicated to celebrating extraordinary women I know. Many of the 31 bold, beautiful, brave women featured shared stories of perseverance after abuse, addiction, miscarriages, illness, and loss. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. The series was so deeply inspiring that I felt it needed to live on as a weekly feature in 2020. Each Monday, I’ll introduce you to another incredible superhero—including artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses. It’s about finding the extraordinary in each of us!
Cassidy Kjeldsen is a Santa Cruz, California girl who just keeps coming back. She loves traveling and novelty, and she is always looking forward to a new adventure. She is a career marketer and loves promoting companies that are making the world a better place.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” When I was 6, I wrote a short story about being a “dancing scientist” who goes to Africa, so I suppose that’s what I wanted to be. In a way, I feel like I fulfilled that dream because I got an M.Sc., still take dance classes, and married a South African. It’s a loose correlation ;).
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? The chances I took. At 29, I gave up a stable job to fulfill a dream. I was always jealous of people who had lived in other countries and had had a fascination with France ever since I took ballet in my younger years. On my 29th birthday, I was single and unhappy and made a decision that day that I was going to move to France. I started making a plan to quit my job and go to a language school. Pretty soon, I found a master’s program in France and the stars aligned. My student visa arrived on the last day of my job in California. After I finished the academic portion of my masters, I decided to travel for 6 months (depleting my savings and stock) and in the week before I arrived back to California, I got a message from a friend from my master’s program asking me if I was interested in a job in Dubai. I didn’t feel done traveling so I went for it (despite serious reservations) and I met my (now) husband within my first 3 weeks there and ended up staying and exploring the region for 10 months. I’m back in California and happier than ever and I feel genuinely fulfilled and like a better person for my time abroad.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? I have to admit that my darkest times have always been of my own making. I’m embarrassed by it. I’ve never had any true hardships or adversity, but I have felt depressed at times. I’ve hated myself, and hated myself more because I have no excuse to be depressed. Every time I’ve felt depressed, I’ve tried to run through all of the things I’m thankful for because even in depression, I can logically assess my good fortune. I’ve done everything I know I need to do—write in a positivity journal, workout, dance, eat healthier—but most of all, know that I’m going to come through the other side at some point and be happy again. I guess the biggest thing is to remember that life is full of ups and downs. If you have a big down, the up is going to feel that much better.
5. What makes you smile the most? Being silly I think. Playing jokes on my parents or my husband. Laughter is so important and I think it’s easier to get to laugh with the people you know the best.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? I think it would be to take more chances and travel earlier. When you’re young, you have so little to lose. Even when you’re older, you don’t have as much as you think you do to lose, but of course, you have more family pressures. Looking back now, I realize there is so much I could have seen and done in those 11 years before I left to live in another country. Do a master’s in another country, find an internship, take advantage of working visas in Australia. Once you start doing long-term travel, you realize there are so many options in the world!
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my friend from Santa Cruz, Cassidy Kjeldesen, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.