This year, I am the most thankful for the unexpected punches that flew in my direction, often knocking me out of balance and making me work harder to get up again. 

But I am the most thankful for a person named Ray, my 83 year old business tutor, who I met in February when I was a little bit broken and a whole lot of a mess. He’s made me fearless when it comes to failure, to picking up the phone and saying sorry, to realizing there’s no such thing as ultimate dreams. There is only the amount of work were willing to do right now.

Whenever I go see him with doubts or what ifs, he always asks me the same thing: what will it cost you to try? And even if my answer is something exaggerated like my whole savings account or my entire heart, he makes me realize it’s worth it. It’s worth it to put everything you have out there on the table.

Because why not? Being brave, he’s taught me, is terrifyingly beautiful.

I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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