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

Take Care of Your Teeth Like Your Crotch and Other Lessons on Love, Career and Life I Learned from Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams signing books after her talk.
Photo by Jenee Darden 
How you doin’?

I had a BLAST seeing Wendy Williams at the Ultimate Women’s Expo is San Mateo. It was almost like being at her show. The stage area was jam packed with hundreds of women excited to hear Wendy’s speech. There was barely any standing room and not one seat empty.

She kept it her Wendy-self by coming on stage with her purse (it was a cute royal blue bag). 

“I’m not perfect but I was invited here to share my story,” she said.

She didn’t deliver a formal speech, but more like a “girl, I’m keeping it real about life” talk.

Here are some life lessons Wendy touched upon:


“We can’t have it all. Some things you have to give up to get what you want. “
For example, she talks about sacrificing some of her social life with girlfriends to be a mom and wife. And how she didn’t have time to luxuriate in Cali during her trip. She flew straight to Cali that morning and was heading back to Jersey the same day to be with her husband and son.

She doesn’t have time for girlfriends. She said girlfriends are for the time when you’re single and the nest is empty.
I didn’t get the sense that a lot of people agreed with Wendy on this one. Sure you may not be able to hang with your girls as much once the hubby and kids come, but it never hurts to have a good friend. Hell, you may need that friend to vent about your husband and kids.

If Plan A doesn’t work, have Plan B and C.
So true. Sometimes our dreams and goals don’t take the route we expect.

“Everyone is not built for college, but you've got to do something. Shout out to the trade schools, nail technicians, plumbers…”
While I strongly encourage college education from an accredited university (not those diploma mills that run TV ads during daytime television), I don’t think everyone has to attend college. But like she said, you need some kind of skill and a plan. Wendy did express that she wants her son to go to college but if he chose to be a plumber for example, she’d want him to own a company and become the next Roto-Rooter.

Love Tips

Men are everywhere!
My grandmother, the one with the Sexy bag, says the same thing. Wendy said one of the most stupid  
Wendy Williams breaks it down to the audience. 
questions she gets is, “Where can I find a man?” She says men are at the little league game, in the store, walking down the street, etc. She suggested when you see a guy just make eye contact and give him a smile.

“Don’t settle, but remix what you thought you wanted." 
This one hit me because I’m a, as Wendy would say,  woman of certain age. An example she gave was her height preference. She's tall, however if she was single and in her 50’s she would date a shorter man.
“I would remix my options because I don’t want to miss out on one great love, “ she said.
She’s not saying to settle for any man with a pulse, but look at your list of priorities.  Can there be exceptions made—like height, race or age?  Author and matchmaker Paul C. Brunson does a great job in explaining meeting a man who shares your values in his book It’s Not That Complicated.

“There’s nothing wrong with liking the comfort of a man as long as you got yourself together. Take care of yourself. “
This was one of my favorite tips. I agree 100 percent! It is okay to want to be loved and admired by a man or a woman. It is okay to want someone to date, cuddle with, etc. But don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re emotionally and financially dependent on that person.
She shared, “I knew what I wanted to be in my 20s. But I wasn’t going to let love stop me from doing what I want.  Don’t put his name on the lease. Don’t let a love be so strong you won’t take that job in Chicago. “

“Date often, date many. You don’t have to date one man at a time.”
I can’t argue with this one. Women are usually discouraged from dating multiple men. But why not? Dating helps you figure out what you want. Dating a lot doesn’t mean having side pieces when you’re in a committed relationship.

“Never give up on finding love.
“Society has brainwashed us into thinking men only want someone 22, “ Wendy said. “Not true.” She  used actresses Fran Drescher, 57 and Gabrielle Union, 41 as examples because they both recently married. 
If I were to give up on love, I would be sad and bitter. I don’t think I could ever give up hope on finding love. Some days I do for a moment, but not permanently. You gotta keep the faith.

 “Don’t neglect your teeth. The way a woman takes care of her teeth is how she takes care of her crotch. “
How you doin'?
It’s been hard for me to brush my teeth without thinking about this quote. I don’t know if it’s true but it sure is funny.

“Leave that Coach Bag in the store. Take care of your teeth. “
Amen! Ladies, get your financial priorities together. Being hood rich isn’t cute.

After her talk, we had an “Ask Wendy” moment.  Wendy took about 12 questions. One was from a woman who has been engaged to a man for two years and her fiancĂ© has yet to tell his family or friends. Wendy suggested she to tell her fiance he needs to tell his mom by the next day or she’s out. The questions were crazy—mainly women and their concerns for men who didn’t seem dedicated to them.

I had a great time. If Wendy Williams ever comes to your town, go see her.  She’s a lot of fun. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day and your crotch…I think?

 Just practicing for when she interviews me about my book in the future.
A girl can dream...and make it a reality. 


  1. ha "and brush your crotch" not a fan of Wendy but I appreciate some of what she said there.

    1. I don't always agree with her, but she gives good advice. One woman with a job and her own place asked a question. She has a boyfriend of 8 years who doesn't work and lives with his mama. She wants him to move in with her but he doesn't want to live with her. She asked Wendy what should she do. I was like come on! Really?! LOL Wendy gave her a reality check.

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