Feel like you’re stuck in the darkness? Maybe depressed? Unhappy? or even frustrated? Dena was exactly like you. With persistence, courage and faith, she made it through. Dena is currently living a life full of light, love and inspiration, a life that she would have never imagined for herself a couple of years back. Time for you to leave the darkness behind too…Read more about Dena on her pretty sweet blog Evolution You and connect with her on Twitter @denabotbyl .
Who is Dena in few words?
All I want to do is spread love & inspiration, create magic, and keep growing & learning forever.
What is your age ?
I am twenty-seven and my birthday is May 5th (Cinco de Mayo). That makes me a Taurus.
Where do you currently live ?
I live in Northern New Jersey, USA, on a small mountain, beside a state forest. It’s quite beautiful. We have lots of furry visitors every day, like bears, white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes, and gray squirrels.
What is your favorite dessert ?
Warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! Mmmm…(so delicious!)
Why did you start your blog Evolution You in the first place?
I started EY in 2006 as a way to express myself. I’ve always been a writer and have always had so many thoughts bubbling in my mind. I thought that starting a blog would be a good way to share them with the world. Soon after I started the site, I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that what I really wanted to do with my life was to inspire people. Over the past few years, Evolution You has become all about inspiration and spreading love & light.
How did you overcome your depression and lose 70 pounds?
I spent the first half of my life overweight, depressed/anxious, and suicidal at times. It was a long, hard journey from there (darkness) to here (light). The journey is something that all people suffering from mental illness have to push through every single day.
I was very lucky when I met a therapist who taught me about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is a therapy that teaches you how to transform your negative thoughts. Our happiness is entirely dependent on the way that we think. We move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. Once I learned how to think, the rest fell into place. CBT is an incredibly powerful tool. I’ve written much more on the topic here: Spiritual Health = Physical Wealth
Why did you decide to quit your corporate job and flight to Paris ?
I took an office job in 2006 after graduating from college. At the time, I needed a job that paid well because of my student loan debts. The job was not what I wanted to do with my life, but with tens of thousands of dollars in debt on my shoulders, I felt like I had no choice.
It wasn’t all bad. I learned a lot and grew tremendously. I kept getting raises and promotions, but at the end of the day, it all felt wrong. Sometimes I would cry in the morning because I desperately did not want to go in there and sit behind that computer for eight hours a day anymore.
Finally, after three long years, I booked a flight to Paris. That left me with no other choice but to hand in my resignation! I couldn’t back out.
What do you do for a living now?
Today, I make most of my money through at another office job. I took it because it had many of the things that my other job didn’t have. Now, I am only ten minutes from my house and I only work four days a week. That gives me three full days to focus on my writing and to spend time doing all of the things that I love. I make less money, but I am so much happier now.
I’m thinking about transitioning again in the near future. I might go back to teaching or maybe to something else altogether. I like to call myself a “career gypsy” because I’m always changing my mind about what I want to be when I grow up.
What does a day look like in Dena’s life ?
Every day starts with feeding my pets Luna (cat) & Bella (dog). They are very needy in the morning! After that, Bella and I take our morning walk into the forest–so special to me.
If it’s Monday-Friday I head in to work my 9 to 5. (Sad trombone!) Work is mostly administrative, but I always take time on my breaks to catch up with my favourite blogs and to work on my EY posts. At lunchtime you can find me at my favourite natural food store or at the Japanese place getting sushi.
On Fridays and weekends, I’m doing house chores and writing. Sometimes I take a day trip into the country or into New York City to meet with friends.
In the evenings I cook dinner (I love to cook!) and then we usually watch a series or a movie. We don’t have cable television, but we do love Netflix. My fiance and I are total homebodies. We always prefer a cozy night in over a night on the town.
Do you have any advices to give us to find happiness?
Yes! Absolutely! My advice is to create magic in your life. The smallest things matter the most. For example, every morning when I walk Bella, I find magic everywhere. The trees are whispering sweet songs. The squirrels on the path are scattering magic before us. It’s everywhere, you just have to look carefully.
For the person who is really struggling with unhappiness, I highly recommend looking into CBT. It absolutely transformed my life.
Your favorite quote ?
I have two:
“There will come a time when you think everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” —Louis L’Amour
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —Plato
Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Caroline. I am really thrilled to be featured here. Please let your readers know that I am really happy to answer any questions that they might have and I can be reached on Twitter @denabotbyl or through my site! (Thanks so much to you Dena!)
In love & light
Merci encore Dena!