Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Recession Dreams and COCOA FLY NEWS

You can't tell by the non-expression on my face, but right at that moment waves of positive energy are rushing through my body. Why? Because I'm doing WHAT I LOVE. Journalism. I was covering the immigration protests in downtown LA earlier this month when a friend/Cocoa Fly reader took this shot. The photo also captures a turning point in my life.

The plan back in 2006 was to graduate from journalism school, get a job and fulfill my dream as a reporter. Journalism school completed. Check. Job in journalism. Check. Reporting. No check but I gladly worked as an NPR producer. And it was a great experience. Some days didn't even feel like work because I enjoyed it. Then I went to Marketplace to continue producing. That was a great experience as well because I learned a lot about money and got to know cool people. I reported a few stories here and there, but I yearned for more time out in the field. I was released from Marketplace and hit the pavement for reporting jobs. Then the market did a Titanic. I couldn't pay an employer to interview me. In fact I was hired to work for a paper in LA and they called me the next day to retract the offer. My plan took a huge detour. Employers told me despite interning and reporting for Time magazine in Europe, working for a major network right out of graduate school and reporting stories for national shows with 1million+ listeners, I didn't have enough reporting experience. I've applied for so many jobs the last year and a half I lost count. One journalism job I applied for had 600 applicants. In between looking for work I reported a piece when the opportunity came. Then I became frustrated when I pitched GOOD stories to various news sources and editors didn't respond. Or they thought a story wouldn't work. For example my story about Asian Americans and foreclosure was passed up. An editor found my dating story involving a gay couple too risque because it would imply "gay sex." Don't people of all sexual preferences have sex? Publications for people of color didn't respond to me either. I understand the market in tough. Competition is stiff for freelancers and those seeking full time work. Still, I can't let the recession kill my dreams. Finally I listened to my mama got the courage and took note from Oprah, Tyler Perry, Martha Stewart, Ira Glass, Josephine Baker and others when they were told NO. I said YES and decided to do my own thang. I'm still looking for a job, but this project is allowing me to fulfill my purpose.

World, I present to you my podcast, my show Cocoa Fly News. It's a hip and informative news show. Many of the stories are about women because I don't think we get heard. Which is why I became a journalist: to cover the stories off the mainstream's radar. The podcast will be on iTunes soon and will run weekly. It's a fun show and we'll learn a lot. I'm going to interview a range of people--from extraordinary everyday folks to authors and once this really get going celebs. I went through web tutorial hell the past week and a half to get this up so I hope you enjoy it. By the way the address for this blog is now

The first episode is about immigration and undocumented citizens. I went with a friend to see the march and ask people their thoughts on immigration. I also added extra excerpts from my story on the Free Your Mind interracial dating conference. Shout out to model and singer Andy Allo for providing some music. The sound in the first half is a little uneven so just bare with me. It was my first time.

PLEASE TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THE COCOA FLY BLOG AND PODCAST. The bigger this gets, the more stories I can do. Which means better stories for you to listen to. You don't need an iPod to listen to the show. I don't even have an iPod. That's on my recession dream checklist too. LOL.

Listen HERE and thanks for flying with me!

Photo Credit:
Thanks Hugo!


  1. Congrats! Loves, loves, loves it! Great interviews, girl! Can't wait for the podcasts on iTunes. I have to figure out a way to listen to this in the car during my long commute to work in the morning. You've inspired me to find something I love and pursue it.

  2. Thanks Erika! Life is too short so go for what you love. Check the post above this one. You can still subscribe to the podcast although it's not on iTunes yet. There are instructions on how to do this in the post above.


Post a Comment