As we end 2019, I couldn’t think of a better story to tell than Julie Reinwald’s. She embodies hopefulness, courage, and accountability. What better attributes could we ask for to move us into the New Year and new decade?
Julie is currently writing a book of daily meditations based on the legacy she wishes to leave. A legacy that can be intentionally created one day at a time. During a particularly dark period in her life, Julie found that reading daily meditations helped her set positive intentions and stay focused on what she could control. Always searching for new books, Julie decided to write her own! I look forward to reading it and sharing it with all of you in the Kuel Life Community.
Learn from; be inspired by Julie Reinwald – week 21 of the Share Your Story; the Women the WSJ Missed series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
JULIE: I am completing a master’s degree in Leadership, which I may no longer be able to apply directly to my career but which is something I need to do for my own self-fulfillment. I also volunteer weekly as a tutor in our county corrections facility, which always surprises others when they hear about it. It’s a calling I have had for a long time and I can’t really explain it, but a specific life event is what finally prompted me to act on it.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
JULIE: Every morning begins with self-reflection and reading an inspirational meditation. And each day includes intentional, artful living and dreaming about/planning how I want to live with purpose. I am an extremely introspective person who loves to think, read, and write. Then there’s a little distraction in the form of a 9-5 job!
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
JULIE: I have always wanted to stay in a comfortable box where I don’t have to take risks or fail. But with age, I’ve learned that staying comfortable doesn’t allow us to experience all that we can do and be. I also struggle with the learning curve and fast-paced changes in technology.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
JULIE: My greatest motivator is a desire to avoid having any more regrets in my life. I know that everything has unfolded exactly as it has to get me to where I am now, and I have learned some painful, but valuable, life lessons. I want to spend the rest of my time here on earth using my gifts until I have poured out every ounce of my ability and to make a difference.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
JULIE: Aging is such a gift! We know ourselves better than we ever have and are aware that the time we have left is precious. There is no more time to waste living for someone else’s expectations or with an unresolved lack of self confidence. There is only time to live the authentic life we were created for. It’s never too late to live your dreams – this is your one and only life!
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
JULIE: Vulnerability means accepting my imperfections and mistakes and allowing them to teach and grow me. I have felt most vulnerable as a parent who did my best in each moment but passed down my own insecurities and the family dysfunction from past generations. Coming to terms with not having been a perfect parent has been difficult, but healthy. I have learned to focus on what I did well and to keep moving forward in love.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
JULIE: I am an only child who was raised by an often-absent, alcoholic father and an anxious mother who covered her insecurities and heartache with a mask of bravado. My childhood formed some subtle, but harmful, parts of my psyche. The most life-altering event that has shaped my life is the devastatingly painful struggle of one of my adult children through depression/anxiety, alcohol abuse, and attempted suicide. Another life-shaping event has been finding Al-Anon (a fellowship for friends and families of alcoholics) which has given me renewed hope and the ability to know that I will be able to survive whatever life puts in front of me. All of this has made me who I am today.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
JULIE: My mother influenced me the most in life, but for contradictory reasons. She modeled strength and self-sufficiency as a single mom with an abusive, alcoholic husband. But she also covered her anxiety and lack of self-worth with a false facade of superiority. From her, I gained my fierce independence and the will to survive great challenges; but I have also had to reshape the learned false bravado into honesty and humility.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
JULIE: Stop waiting for courage and for life to be perfect in order to begin living the life you dream of. There will always be something scary to face or an excuse about why we aren’t ready to take the next leap. But unless we take that first step, we will stay stuck. It’s better to do something, anything, even if it’s “wrong” than to never try at all.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
JULIE: My daughter actually inspires me more than anyone. She embodies all of the characteristics I would love to have: tenacity, fearlessness, passion, and limitless living! I think I planted some seeds in her mind as she grew up, but she is her own amazing person and is a living example of my inner aspirations. She is the coolest person I know!
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
JULIE: As an only child in a dysfunctional family, I was always mature for my age out of necessity. But there were many ways in which I had yet to grow up, even in my 50’s, because I never learned some basic, emotionally-healthy skills. After much inner work, I finally feel grown up now, although I still love that child-like feeling of pure joy when lost in something really fun!
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
JULIE: I am the QUEEN of self-care, and I don’t have a shred of guilt about it! I love to go to indie movies, shop, and travel – and I love to do these all by myself! I also enjoy bubble baths; scented candles; and slow weekend mornings in bed with coffee, a journal, and stacks of books. My hubby likes to tease that he does all of the cooking and cleaning while I lounge in bed (which is not so far from the truth, haha.)
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
JULIE: I would love to travel and be paid to continue writing and speaking about the journey I have walked; through the family disorders of substance abuse, mental illnesses, and attempted suicide. Secondly, I want to complete hiking and biking tours here in the U.S., and also to travel abroad with my daughter. And thirdly, I want to have sleepovers under the stars on the roof of our condo building with our future grandchildren.