Dear Zoe

Written by Zoe Waldron

When you were a little girl, you dreamed of being older (as well as being a ballerina and firefighter). When you were in high school you dreamed of going to college in California. When you moved to California after college, you dreamed of traveling the world. When you were halfway around the world, you were thinking of all the things you still hadn’t done.

You’ve always felt a drive to do more, be more and see more. Go go go. With each new step forward, you’d be thinking miles ahead. After going to college in Washington, you moved to LA. You were finally living somewhere you had always wished to be, but you were still thinking ‘what next?’ After exploring California... hiking along Yosemite’s waterfall trails, camping by the Sequoia trees, trekking through the desert, and driving up and down coast, you felt happy and free, but still thinking ‘I should be doing more’ or that you were missing out on other things.

There’s been an internal struggle within you since you can remember, thinking the grass is greener on the other side. You’ve regularly struggled with anxiety and being overwhelmed with all the things you had to do to be happy. Running around trying to do it all, and missing those oh-so-important slow moments. Thinking that you should have accomplished this or that already and browsing social media and seeing all the accomplishments of the old friends you grew up with, envious of their successes and beautiful lives.

But hey, Zoe, it’s me. I’m now 27 and living in Austin. You will enjoy life’s journey SO much more if you start living in the moment. I want you to embrace some daily slowness and mindfulness. Wherever you are in life, you are somewhere worth soaking up, or at least somewhere worth accepting and learning from. Beauty comes not only from our biggest accomplishments, but our littlest ones too, and the failures it takes to get there make the successes oh so sweeter and the journey more interesting. Remember this: Your friends’ successes are not your failures. Being able to see a family member, friend, or anyone succeed and feel genuinely happy for her or him (without feeling lesser) is the best! Support other women, and all loved ones, and embrace whatever they want to do (or not do). It will leave you feeling full and inspired.

As my last piece of advice, go on that run but stop for a minute to stare out at the lake, enjoy the time it takes to make that home-cooked meal and savor each bite, and put the effort behind soaking up the small details of at least one moment each day. There’s nothing more beautiful than slowing down. When you think about failure, your biggest fear shouldn’t be “not doing or seeing or experiencing it all.” Your biggest fear should be living too fast to not fully enjoy the moments you’ve had -- like the one you’re in right now.


Zoe Waldron (@zoewal) is a nature-lover from the Pacific Northwest, now living in Southeast Austin. She recently moved from LA, where she worked in social media strategy in Santa Monica for 4 years. Her favorite things include: hiking and last-minute camp trips, cute animals, inspiring books (currently enjoying “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington), barre classes, vegan cheesecake, watching Broad City with her roommate Jody, adventures with her boyfriend Patrick, and making new friends! She’s in the midst of starting her first blog Be Woodsy, promoting natural elements and plants indoors, as well as inspiring women to get outdoors more, so keep an eye out for that in the coming months!

Chelsea Francis