Interview 003: Jourdan Fairchild
For the third installment of Infrequently Asked Questions, I interviewed Jourdan Fairchild... who interviews people professionally (like "Gone Girl" author, Gillian Flynn), and recently penned a craft/travel book so... no pressure. As a Kentucky-raised gal who survived her twenties hustling in the New York publishing world, she is equal parts southern charm and razor sharp wit. I have never met anyone with a bigger heart or a bolder spirit, and I'm one of countless creatives who look to her for warmth and wisdom. Here's Jourdan.
What character stuff have you had to actively work on over the past several years?
Patience. Confidence. Selflessness. Resiliency. Three years ago, I quit my job, got married, and moved to a new city--all within two months. After 8 years as a magazine editor, I was full of great experiences but empty and exhausted. So when my husband floated the idea of leaving the city and going to medical school, I was immediately supportive and relieved. That first year turned out to be incredibly trying on both of us. Living in New York had sucked up all of my patience, and I needed a big, fat reminder that good things come to those who are proactive, yet patient. I was ashamed at how not having a job had rocked my confidence, and I struggled with knowing what to do next and when and how. I learned about true selflessness, about how to be a supportive, loving partner to my husband and put his needs first for a bit. And when things didn't go my way, I learned about resiliency and bravery and choosing courage over comfort.
How are you doing on that stuff now?
It depends on the day. I'm still a work in progress, as we all are. But I'm learning to handle the messiness of life a bit better. And I'm not afraid to be vulnerable.
How would you describe your purpose?
I'm reading this wonderful book by Brene Brown titled "Rising Strong." She writes: "When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending." I've always owned my story, and as I get older, I feel more confidence about sharing it. And I make a living by writing about other people's stories. It's the most satisfying and rewarding thing that I do, being an instrument through which people can share their great stories with the world.
Define your career... Then tell us how it's different than you thought it would be.
I'd say that I'm a writer, a maker, and a connector of people. Today the definition is much more ambiguous than it was in my 20's when I was a magazine editor. I wouldn't say either is easier or one is more fulfilling. But I've certainly put myself out there and challenged myself more as a freelancer than I would've in a more traditional job.
Do you feel like you've made it yet? Have things clicked? Explain.
I've made some things, but not "the" thing. I recently told a friend that I have this feeling that what I'm meant to do in life hasn't come my way yet. That my purpose over the past few years has been to create a happy home with my husband so that he could focus on school while I hustled for work, trying out random things along the way. The better he does at school, the more choices we'll have down the road. I want to really make an impact, but I just haven't figured out how. Three years ago, that thought would've made me anxious and unsettled. But I'm much more accepting of this path now.
How do you think others perceive your life path? Do you care?
I care less about how they perceive the path, but I struggle with how people perceive me. I'm sensitive (too sensitive at times), and I set unrealistic expectations for myself. If I spend too much time on social media or blogs, I become disappointed and discouraged. So I really have to watch myself and work hard to build myself up when I'm feeling down.
Speaking of others, how have your relationships shaped you?
We are who we are because of other people, so of course they've shaped me. My earliest relationships, with my parents and siblings, are the most important thing in the world to me. I feel so lucky that they're still so strong, and I work to nurture them even though we live far from each other. My parents' marriage is wonderful, loving, and respectful, and being raised in their presence taught me what it means to be a true partner. And my relationship with my husband is the most precious of them all.
What's your perspective on life like now as opposed to 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
I may know a whole lot more now, but the more I know, the less I know. You know? Ha. I wouldn't go back to 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. I certainly had had stresses in my life then, and I have stresses now. But I'm happy to not be dating anymore. That was fun, but rough!
What are you most looking forward to?
March 18, the day that we'll find out where my husband will do his residency and where we'll be living for the next 5 years. And also becoming a mom. I'm really ready for that one (although my dog won't be happy about sharing his mama).
In your daily life, when are you happiest?
Eating a delicious dinner with my husband, wine glasses full and cell phones put away. We read a page from this book, The Tao of Joy, and the lessons spark conversations about the world and our future. It's become the most centering and relaxing part of my day.
On the other hand, how do you pull yourself out of a funk when you're in one? And how did you most likely wind up in said hypothetical funk in the first place?
It depends on the day and the reason for the funk. I find that taking breaks and going for runs outside help--and just generally spending time with my dog or focusing on anyone other than myself. In terms of the funks that other humans go through, mine is never as catastrophic. I'm reminded of this constantly when my husband comes home from the hospital and mentions what illnesses he's seen that day. It puts my funk into serious perspective.