Happy Flip Fam Friday! On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.
This week, we’ll meet Janette Valenzo an adventurer extraordinaire in Los Angeles. Check out how Janette infuses discovery into her daily life, how she tackles tough emotions, and why adventure makes life worth living....
Name: Janette Valenzo
Your favorite nickname: Jan or JanJan the Peanut Butter Man
Where were you born? Los Angeles
Where do you live now? Rancho Cucamonga
What’s your profession or calling? Actor/Teaching Artist
What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us!): I have as close as possible to a photographic memory without actually having a photographic memory, so I guess just a really good memory, especially with faces.
I tell people my memory isn't that good only because this secret power gets me in awkward situations when I remember people, but they don't remember me... oh well!
What’s your go-to local zen spot? James Turrell's "Skyspace" in Claremont, while drinking a matcha latte from this local coffee shop called, "Sanctuary Coffee" coincidentally.
What’s your most beloved travel destination? There was something about Belgium that I loved. From walking around until my feet could not take another step to eating waffles for every meal, I would drop everything to go back. I loved it and felt truly alive there with no one knowing me and me knowing nothing.
Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? Since I can remember finding a way to make my life almost movie-like has kept me interested in life. As someone who has depression, adventure has been the only way I can get myself going. It can be small by checking out a new restaurant nearby or taking a new path to walk in the evenings. I try to give myself little adventures to tackle, because it makes my life worth living.
What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "It's okay to not be okay." I don't know who told me that, or where I heard it, but the minute I did, it gave me the permission to stop trying to be perfect all the time and to accept when things seem impossible. When my father passed, I did my best to hold everything in (as the oldest child, I had to majorly step up). I didn't allow myself to be anything but perfect, and then one day, about two months later, I was on my bathroom floor and couldn't move. I had been smoking cigarettes and feeling super guilty (my father died from cancer), and I had been telling my sister that it was okay for HER to not be okay. Hypocrisy at its finest. I started crying and crying, until I fell asleep (no worries! the cigarette was out!). I woke up and accepted that I was only human and grieving was a part of that experience. It's okay to not be okay.
What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? I travel. Whether it is one hour away or in a different time zone, I get moving. I force myself to get lost. Being physically lost gets my mind working again.
Has Serenflipity played a role in your life? So, being that travel is my go-to thing to get unstuck, I couldn't get unstuck for some of the summer since work kept me near home for the majority of the month of July. I had bought the game for my birthday a while back, but was saving it for a time that I needed some shaking up.
Despite most folks thinking I am an extrovert, I am pretty quiet and shy when it comes to speaking to people. Some of the cards had me asking people about their likes, the beliefs, and really I felt like nothing was off limits. I even went to Disneyland alone! I had always wanted to do that, but also felt it would be weird and I would just be on my phone the whole time. Thankfully, halfway through, my family showed up!
Still, to be at Disneyland for at least seven hours alone and not losing myself in my phone but actually speaking to strangers? Well, that was amazing to conquer. I also learned to how embrace my awkwardness and give myself a bit of love in the process.
Follow Janette’s adventures on Instagram: @janettevalenzo, and check out her 30 days of getting out of her comfort zone!