Blog Archives

Somewhere in the Middle

Usually talk is about people leaving or who used to be around. Have you ever had people return, even temporarily? I definitely have. Lately, it seems like a particular group is resurfacing, as opposed to a specific person. I met the people through a group called “Full Circle.” At the time, Full Circle hosted an event called “Coping with Divorce.” The event was designed to help people going through the loss of a long term relationship. Usually, that meant divorce. It could also be death of a partner or a break-up without having been married.

Not only is it interesting that I have been running into “Full Circle” friends, I also have friends who have or are ending long term relationships. Their actions and reactions have made me reflective on my personal experience.

One of the best things about seeing Full Circle friends is that there is almost always a hug. For the ones who really have been friends and not just people who may have been at a common activity, that hug is something I have missed. In fact, I saw several of these friends at Art Hop last Friday. Art Hop is a monthly event that I don’t tend to go to as much cause I would rather go with friends. Sometimes, though, like the June event, there’s something special. In this case, I wanted to hear a band. As I walked Downtown to take care of an errand at the beginning of Art Hop, I passed someone I knew and circled back after the errand and I am sooo glad I did! Later, I followed the band to where they played next, and ran into more friends from the same Full Circle group.

Reflection #1

The highlight was seeing the couple waiting for the band. They have been a couple for as long as I’ve known them, which is nearly 10 years. The thing about long term relationships ending is that it makes it tough to feel confident about marriage, even if you’re ok with the relationship part. This couple decided to take that chance after being together for 11 years. I’ve seen that with others, too. Another couple who had been together the whole time I’d known them are now married. Someone else who went through divorce the same time I did (nearly 10 years ago) and began to date immediately, also wed this year. I don’t know details on that one since information came from Facebook postings only.

Reflection #2

The trend seems to be immediate dating or at least “hook-ups,” or leaning on a friend who becomes “more.” For dating, it may not be called that, either. It’s a chance to meet people in person or (usually) online, still with that same end goal. I’ve seen it before and I see it now, over and over and over again. From what I have observed, if either party is still hung up on any past relationship(s), then there are probably more hook-ups or short term relationships than anything. Kind of like the long term “maybe marriage” some day, there isn’t a lot of trust or confidence, even when totally into the partner.

Reflection #3

What I’ve realized from all of this is that how I talk about my marriage or ex-husband has changed. It’s more like facts – where we lived or what we did. It used to be more emotional and now it is just something that happened during a particular set of years. I am more focused and interested on who and what is happening now versus 10 to 20 years ago.

Overall, although I did (and do) like meeting people and making friends, I haven’t felt the need to go on dating sites or “hook-up” just because. However, I do miss friends and having closer ones to “lean on.” Maybe when someone else realizes the same thing and we’re within the same circle of people, I’ll have a new story to talk about. That seems to put me somewhere in the middle – I’m not actively looking for partners and when I do come across those who I view as potentials, I’m not against the idea.

What are your thoughts?


Taking the Side Road

Have you ever decided on a change of scenery for a short period of time? It might’ve been a couple of days or maybe even a few hours. I did this recently because I needed more perspectives and I made it a productive trip, too.

It’s easy to want to run away. That was not my goal. I know I’ve been missing some of the connection I have really wanted (craved, even). When I began to think about the last time this existed in my life, I thought about a particular organization. The connection existed, and to some extent still does, within the last few years during my involvement. In fact, the organization is known to connect entrepreneurs all around the world. It doesn’t exist anymore in my community, so I have to travel to attend an event.

Travel Required

I can’t say I miss running the events. On the other hand, I LOVE attending them. After thinking about it, I created my trip around one of the Chicago events. It gave me a chance to see a friend and pass along my leftover swag so it would still be used. Plus, I had a chance to tour the venue as part of the event, a definite highlight! I even managed to keep down overall expenses, meet new people, and listen to an awesome interview all in about 3 hours of time. I only thought about home in relation to the venue and tour.

I returned home the next day and still had one more day before seeing the usual crowd and to work. My scenery change continued into a second act set in the local area. The difference happened to be the crowd. I met with a group celebrating recent academic achievements, mostly related to undergraduate graduation and being accepted into graduate programs. Talk about another perspective – I usually only met the group on campus, so being out for dinner with them was a new type of interaction, at least for me.

More on Running Away

Let’s return to the “running away” thought. If I followed what my dad modeled as I grew up, I probably wouldn’t be writing any of this because I would have given up a long time ago. My dad seemed to pull me out or keep me from activities because of a conflict. My dad even had a conflict with what to name me. According to my mom, my Dad chose “Stacy” as a normal and known name. My mom had a different name choice that had my dad worried I would be picked on more. So, instead, I grew up as one of many others named “Stacy” (various spellings). The intention may have been protection. What does this type of protection tend to teach? Instead of learning to navigate while still a child, I am figuring it out decades later.

Things might be tough or feel unfair. When I feel like I want to give up on something I make sure to evaluate why. Ironically, while watching videos for work, I watched a bonus video that had an interview with Todd Herman. The video inspired me to search out more.

What He Said

You may have heard that it is important to surround yourself only with supportive people and to drop the rest. In this interview, Herman disagreed and stated “If you only know how to handle positive people, you’re very one dimensional.” Herman added that a thing not to do is to share new ideas just to hear a negative perspective. Both of these points make a lot of sense to me because people normally do not live in a bubble. Knowing how to handle the negative as well as the positive is beneficial. Hearing this point of view supports my decisions to stay involved in an organization that I believe in while learning how to handle the range of personalities.

Further in the same interview, Herman noted that if you do not have supportive people around you, don’t wait to find good people. He suggested experimenting with different groups and make it part of a three month theme to find a support network. Part of why I like Herman is because he supports what he states with scientific evidence. My effort is going to be more intentional now. Who would have thought that a video for work would end up leading me to additional videos with topics that overlap thoughts on one of my blog posts? A pleasant surprise!

Finally – here’s the bottom line – taking a pause for a change of scenery opened up new doors through the experience. I gained connections, strengthened current relationships, and I found it inspiring. It re-opened and expanded my world. I felt energized and a part of something and that people were happy I was there. I want more of these days and feelings locally, in the area I live in. That seems to mean that there is a need to get out and mix with people and organizations beyond where I have been focused and expand the connections. Taking a side-step for a day contributed to this conclusion. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!



At the Crossroads, Yoga, and Disneyland

Although I have been writing, it’s mostly been for classes or work related. In fact, I have been so busy doing things that my internal schedule is off and I cannot sleep. Lucky you, or better yet, lucky me to take the time to write and maybe be able to rest after.

This weekend is homecoming. The last few years I have been participating in the 5k as a runner. For this event and other running events, I usually see friends participating. In the past, I have either been part of a group making plans to participate, or I have shared and asked on Facebook. I’ve even had friends come specifically to cheer (I have done the same) as their participation, which has even meant standing out in the cold waiting with me for the race to start, and trying to keep warm or find me to take pictures while I am on the course. Most of these friends are still around and participating in events. I usually find out because of a Facebook post after the fact or because we run into each other after the end of the race. For this weekend’s event, I decided to do it anyways, even though my training barely worked. I was on a roll with the c25k (couch to 5k) app for a few weeks, practicing all 3 days. After that, I went once a week a few more times, and the last time I walked most of the time. I am changing the goal I had of running the entire course to enjoying the event and running as much as possible (it’s faster and warmer). I think it’ll work..

img_20161008_032000.jpgClasses have been what I have been up to the most. I only have two and they keep me hopping. I am a part of an undergraduate research lab and a writing creative non-fiction class. Both require a lot of reading on top of any writing. I don’t mind the work, though, because the material is great. I want to be there. In fact, the last time I had a semester like this it was in the fall semester just before finishing the MBA program. Both those classes had big impacts, and I believe these will, too. They are pushing me forward.

What about everything else? I have felt at a crossroads for a while. In fact, when I read the blog posts for my job I can usually identify with the topic, and many times they seem to match what is happening in my life. It’s almost freaky, err, magical. Others must feel that way, too, since there are lots of conversations and special products tend to sell out. This post here resonated with me even more than usual cause I know I am in a place of crossroads, and it is a matter of the direction I choose (or not) as to what happens.

img_20160924_154951.jpgOne direction I chose to go was west, all the way to California, to attend #SGSoCAL. I love Startup Grind conferences, and this gave me a chance to attend and also support the HQ team. Having the chance to interact, even a little bit, and also mingle with the attendees, was inspiring. The inspiration helps me. There is a lot of energy and things moving because people are putting their all into their business passion. It makes you want to help them and it makes you want to move, too. Plus, the week in Los Angeles was like returning to mid-summer. The temperature even topped 100 degrees F one day. It was worth the heat and especially the sunshine, and I made new friends, besides seeing some current friends. I have barely returned for a week and that week in Los Angeles already seems a long time ago.

Right before I left for Los Angeles, I kicked off the day with one of my yoga instructors and one of her friends at an event called Soul Pose, a yoga party. I love yoga and all the things that they added to the event, so it was a great kickoff for me. I even had a chance in Los Angeles to do yoga on the beach. In September! That doesn’t happen in Michigan except on a fluke.

img_20161005_190300.jpgAnd then there was Disneyland. The first and last time I was ever in the Los Angeles area I went with my grandmother (Bubbi) shortly after I turned 16 years old. It was the first time I had ever been on a plane and the first time to California. I don’t remember a lot about it except that we did NOT go to Disneyland. I believe we went to Universal Studios and CBS Studios. Plus, a couple of teens around the same age had moved from my block to live with their grandmother out there and we went to the Pacific Ocean. No Disneyland, though. Maybe it was too expensive or far away. I’m not sure, other than it did not happen.

When two of my friends at Startup Grind found out that I was coming to #SGSoCAL, they each separately told me that I HAD to go to Disneyland (one even made it a “last request” before he left). It’s not that they really needed to twist my arm as much as that they were even trying to. I found out at the conference that they were tag teaming me and discussing what to write while sitting next to each other and sending me separate messages. In the end, they may have both been more excited than I was that I got to go. Neither of them are at HQ anymore, so the effort to keep in touch will be different.

Thanks for reading to the end! Time to run.




The Bicycle Ride and Dancing it Out

It hasn’t happened in a long time where I have lost my motivation. I’m pretty much self-driven with a lot of things, including exercise, at least in the realms that I like. Lately, I haven’t wanted to run, and even thou20160704_172648-1.jpggh I am on a summer unlimited pass, I haven’t been to yoga since the middle of last week. Whether or not this seems weird to you, it definitely seems weird to me.

My homework this weekend was fitting for these thoughts. I started an online Holistic Living class. Since it is summer, that also means double time, and that technically I am already two weeks in with the four lessons. One of the topics discussed the continuum of balance that we are on which goes between chaos and stagnation. Those on the chaos end feel overwhelmed and those on the stagnate end get bored. Or, maybe unmotivated? What helps me with staying motivated are the social interactions and the support that comes from it, which has been minimal lately. Maybe we’re all at extremes, trying to come back towards the middle, and missing each other in the process. Or, maybe my circle of friends is such that I’m not part of the closest circle, and have to really assert myself or be willing to be by myself. Luckily, the air temperature has been cool enough that my apartment is comfortable without a fan on or extra windows open. I was happy enough to be doing my homework and I was able to take a dinner break out with a friend on Saturday. All good, right?

The other part I have noticed is that I don’t know what pictures I want in the frames on my wall. A few years ago, it was a no-brainer since there were several groups of friends who were special to me. Some people I saw regularly, others were from groups I used to see all the time, including classmates from high school. The classmate pictures were from interim reunion pictures. Those pages are now in an album. I’m not sure if the replacements will be people or scenes. Right now, I have blank frames.

On the flip side, Zumba is one class that I have been returning to lately at the gym. The instructor I like keeps us moving and plays more than the traditional Latin songs. There is usually one or two I can sing to because I have heard them on the radio, such as Cheap Thrills by Sia’. One of my favorites!

My Zumba instructor also talks about our energy helping to give her energy, and that sometimes you have to “Dance it out.” Dancing had been something else that I had not been motivated to do much until I was in Chicago. Shortly after that trip, I returned to Zumba and more dancing. I have loved dancing in that class and was super excited the first day back. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep up, yet I was able to the entire time, and have returned a couple of more times. What fun!

capture_2016-07-04-18-25-14-1.png.pngAfter being in my apartment for the majority of the weekend, I decided that I needed to get out once I finished my homework. Since it is a holiday, my choices were limited by what was open. Transportation was limited to walking or biking. I decided to bike ride, and I made it a challenge, too. Other than a hill that I chose to walk my bike up, I bicycled to a coffee shop more than 2.5 miles away. It’s pretty quiet, as expected. Still, it is a place to be interactive. Plus, I can treat myself to food and a tea. Changing perspectives always seems to be a good thing. Sometimes an inversion is a good choice. Tonight, the bike ride was a great choice!



Welcome to my Chaos

In ChaosThe “Year of Yoga” is continuing through the summer. I purchased an unlimited package that is good through the end of August and have already registered for all of the 6am classes. The cool part about going to classes is getting the benefit of the background the instructors bring, besides the yoga (or any type of group class). One of my instructors is a therapist. The instructor uses the therapy background in how she talks to the class and what she has us think about. Many times, there is a theme. The theme of the past week was “chaos.” She basically stated that chaos is supposed to be in our life, and what if we accepted it. The urge is to fix or avoid chaos. Instead, she asked us to acknowledge it, and stop there. I have to say that I love these life lesson thoughts early in the day and it gave me something to think about while walking home. When I arrived home and opened my apartment door I felt welcomed by my chaos. It was a comfortable and familiar feeling, which seemed like a good thing, to me.

Although the lesson came after, I thought about the Startup Grind event I hosted a couple of days earlier. My challenge was carrying all the stuff needed. I opted to take the bus and be at least a little bit closer to the final destination. Even though what I carried fit with what is usually seen on the bus, I still found it a little bit funny. You’ll get the idea if you look at the featured photo. What I carried included a banner, a tripod, a couple of cloth Meijer bags, and I wore a backpack. Someone on the bus was nice enough to get up so I could have easy access to two seats by myself.  Once off the bus, I had about 3 blocks to walk, and an elevator to ride.

When it comes to the event chaos, I’m getting better at managing it. The chaos comes because it is a mixture of people bringing their own challenges and chaos. I try to arrive early enough to take care of what I need to and then be fully focused on assisting everyone else. It is actually a fun challenge. Even someone who had bought a ticket ahead and knew he’d be late was able to be taken care of because I had that information. I plan to continue that practice and cannot wait for the next “lesson.” Welcome to my chaos! What is yours?




The Untitled Chapter

fb_img_1465527530766.jpgI just finished an excellent book called “The Linchpin” by Seth Godin. It would’ve fit well with the Business Book Lady and Kalamazoo Business Book Club discussions. My favorite point, the main point of the book, is that we all have art to give. Art, according to Godin, is “any original idea that can be a gift.” Godin also notes that there is labor involved: “Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.”

As I was reading the book, I was thinking about Godin’s concept of art. The art couldn’t be outside the box, either, because there is no guaranteed support or even the chance to complete (what Godin called “shipping.”) Instead, the creativity of the art is on the edge, where it is still recognizable, with a twist. I believe Hacker Gals would’ve fit since the goal was to have part maker space design, and part women’s organization, among other ideas. Those were all recognizable. Putting them together the way I did was the twist.

My life seems to be one of those twists, too, kind of like my favorite flavor of soft serve ice cream – mixing vanilla and chocolate. I’m coming up on a really good part, too. It’s like when you know your experience will change because you turned 16 to drive, except that is all you know. I’m getting to the part of school I’ve been wanting to do the most for the last couple of years. I couldn’t do these things now if I hadn’t taken the path I did, my “driver’s training.” The training is not easy, and definitely comes with obstacles. First of all, appealing to be able to receive financial aid.

Funny thing about liking school enough to earn degrees – they all add up to a lot of credit hours. Too many credit hours earned can be just as bad as too many credit hours attempted and not earned. The requirement for both is to appeal and provide documentation to prove your plan. I had to do it last school year, too. All I get out of the process is feeling like a human pinball being bounced around the machine. The biggest problem of being a part of the machine is that the departments don’t talk to one another. No one knows the entire process or what each step requires. I started this year with what I learned from last year, and made an appointment with financial aid. My paperwork was ok as written, except I needed to submit a graduation audit for my documentation. An audit required talking to an adviser in the college of my degree, and walk-ins weren’t available the day I was already on campus. When I talked to someone a week later and submitted paperwork to the registrar’s office, the auditor emailed me later that one part was missing. Meanwhile, financial aid had made it sound like the audit had to be completed before the appeal could be approved, which I told the auditor.  A couple of days later, the missing paperwork was submitted, the auditor stated proof of the submission was all I needed for financial aid, and financial aid is reviewing my paperwork. Whew!

Another transition has been a change socially. It’s been weird not having friends to talk to as regularly. Maybe this is part of the “art” since it is something I have been doing even before reading “Linchpin” – reaching out to friends to support them, even when they do not ask. It has been special cause it has led to being able to see people who I haven’t seen much in the last year. I hope it has helped in return, too. Plus, today I received unexpected messages to join a couple of friends for dinner. That was super cool, even when I arrived after they were close to finishing. I wasn’t hungry and ordered food to go, which also worked well.

Connections have also been important to me. A former high school classmate reached out recently on Facebook. It was someone who I actually talked to in high school and at a reunion or two in-between because I remember having a conversation about writing. It turns out that is still what he does. I sent a message to have a short chat, and we discussed writing. I have to say that even though I haven’t read Science Fiction (or any fiction) lately, thinking about all I have learned or experienced lately I am inspired to take some of it and create stories. Maybe that’ll work out better than the songwriting attempts, or even help them.

My friends tonight asked what I was up to today, noting that it had been “7 hours” since I had been on Facebook. Even though I use messenger, I’m really not on Facebook that often and appreciate the separation of the apps. What a loaded question about my day. I was excited to say that I watched parts of the Startup Grind Europe conference which began about 3am here (9am in London). I also participated in the world record attempt for the largest live stream audience by watching the interview with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet. After dinner, I had to be home for an online work meeting, and now here I am writing this.

20160614_113957_pano.jpgOh, and I love the layout of my space! I worked on it Tuesday morning before my friend came to visit. Knowing that I was going to show it off  was a great motivator!

An ice cream twist explanation of the day seems much simpler, don’t you think?



My Happy Space

20160612_122558_pano.jpgIn my last blog post, I mentioned “taking back my space,” and I have made a great deal of progress. On Friday, the Salvation Army picked up just about everything I had ready to donate, including the chair, futon and filing cabinet. What I really find interesting is that it feels like I moved. I didn’t change locations at all. In fact, one of my friends asked if I was moving, and another friend noticed my answer, so maybe it was a question that multiple people had. I am not planning on moving. Part of the purpose for downsizing is to have items left that I can move myself. Mostly, though, the donation is to be able to enjoy more of the space in my apartment. I live in a studio, and I have accumulated a lifetime of stuff, some of which I definitely do not need anymore. Getting rid of bigger chunks, such as the futon, gives room to work on going through the rest. And, just space to work or rest better. It is great!

The other part I find interesting in this experience is that I am reminded of my first apartment from over seven years ago. I had a lot more stuff and it was a one bedroom with a living room and a kitchen and a fairly big full-size bathroom. When I originally moved in, I did not have a bed or even a futon, since both were bought later. I slept in my sleeping bag, which was on top of an exercise mat. The floor had carpeting, too. After I had been there around a month, one of my friends lent me an air mattress until I had a regular bed. Since that time, I have lived in three different houses (all four of those were also with my cat). Although it is inside of a house, the studio apartment is the first time I am back to an apartment (no cat). I am also back to sleeping on the floor, this time on purpose. It is actually really nice. I stuffed a couple of blankets with throw pillows and wrapped my sleeping bag around all of that to shape it, then put another blanket and bed spread on top. After sleeping on a mattress in my last place, I don’t mind being low to the ground. I like that the space is mobile – I don’t have to stick with the area I chose for my “bedroom.”

My favorite part, though? The wall space to do the inversions I learned in Yoga 🙂



The Windy City, The Bay Area, and my Apartment

fb_img_1465007913722.jpgIt was hard to leave Chicago last week. Really hard. I noticed the same thing when I was in the San Francisco area in February for Startup Grind. Both times, I was connecting with people who I knew, making new friends, and learning. The education was through the sessions, discussions outside, and discovery of the area itself. I finally feel like I might not get quite as lost in downtown Chicago, for example. I can also name all the cities in the San Francisco Bay area I visited and sort of have an idea of where they are in relationship to each other. After all of that, returning to Kalamazoo has seemed so – ordinary.

Ordinary or not, it is still home, and I am always working to make my apartment, in particular, as comfortable as possible. Lately, I decided that as part of the downsizing of stuff, I need to go bigger in taking back my space. What I mean by that is I want to see more floor than furniture. I love having wood floors and I would act20160605_103450.jpgually love a reason to use my Swiffer. People have already tried talking me out of the next part. Just remember – I’m not asking anyone else to follow. This is my story. I’m taking back my space by donating all that I cannot carry on my own – my bookcase, my futon, a chair and a file cabinet. The futon has been my bed in the last year and a half. I’m going to create bean bag type chairs and sleep on those instead. The chair is always covered with stuff or hard to get to. For files, I have been using plastic tubs designed for file folders. The books are probably the toughest, since I have been trying to determine which ones I want to keep and which ones I don’t need or can go to the library and borrow. The books I keep are going in my plastic crates, which I can carry and stack.

To tie this together, I have been exploring internally, what I already have, as much as exploring  externally when I go traveling. An afternoon of reading is just as joyful as walking around San Francisco or Chicago. I probably won’t get to add London like I was hoping to this month. It would have been a reunion since I miss my Startup Grind family. Plus, I would have a chance to start using my passport and explore another new area. That’s ok, though. I’m really excited about sharing my apartment transformation. Stay tuned!




Ironies, New Friends, and Dancing

img_20160602_142009.jpgI traveled by train to Chicago last weekend with the main purpose of attending a conference in the city. Instead of staying at one of the hotels hosting the conference, I chose to stay in a hostel. Part of the purpose of doing that was to save money since I wasn’t traveling with anyone in particular. Another reason was to meet new people. The cool thing was that it was well worth the choice. One of my roommates, Dylan, and one more person, Darcy, who I met while playing pool in the hostel lounge, were both attending the same conference. I not only made new friends, I had people to talk to sharing the same experiences. We had breakfast together at the hostel and met up at lunch time and the end of the conference sessions each day to at least check-in with each other. Since Dylan stayed longer, we also hung out the day after the conference until I had to leave. It was nice to have company and be able to relate our educational background and jobs, besides general interests.

The last night of the conference included a social. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. My roommate went ahead of me because she wanted to go to something else first. I had some work I had to finish, including this post here. It turned out that the social had the usual bar and seating areas, plus a photo booth. It also had DJs playing dance music and a good sized dance floor. By the time I made it to the social, the dance floor was packed. I hadn’t gone dancing like that since attending Michigan Jaycees conventions, although there have been a few good karaoke nights or bands to dance to during the last few years. The atmosphere, though, more resembled my convention experience, and I was ecstatic! The rule I have about dancing is that as long as there are people, I will go out on the floor. People usually let you in their circle if you ask or they see you nearby. I made quite a few new friends doing that, even though I might not see them again for a year. That also matches previous convention experience. The point, though, was that dancing gave me a chance to engage with what was happening right in front of me and I guarantee I was smiling! When the music is good, it is hard for me not to move.

The ironic part of all of this is that I am happy. Why is that so ironic? Cause I am finally, in the last 8 years or so, following what I really want to do. As I have changed my environment, the things I have always liked best – writing, photography, and traveling (at the least) have become main parts of what I do, allowing me to give back to my community through my efforts and and allowing me to feel like I am making a difference in the world. Maybe some would not call that successful or wonder why I am sticking to what is definitely non-traditional. I believe that if you’re not happy, then you are not being fulfilled in life. For some, that is a more traditional route. For me, I am making my path as I go along. It is not always easy. I love it, though, and would not be able to travel or contribute as I have more recently without these choices. What makes you happy?





The Seven-Year Itch

wp-1463282602366.jpgThe phrase in the title “The Seven-Year Itch” usually is about marriage. In my case, it’s how long I’ve been divorced. I noticed this recently because I changed my name back to my maiden name, which started conversations and questions. A common question was to ask if I recently got married. No one expects an answer to be “divorce” unless they have known me long enough to know about my previous relationship. A reason I even noticed the 7 years in particular was because I had to dig out my divorce decree as part of changing my name. It was the official paperwork, stamped and signed in February of 2009 which gave permission to return my name to “Stacy Belinsky.”

One of the first questions I had was “Why did it take so long?” At the time, there was a lot going on, and a long list of things to change. It was easier to leave my last name and wait. I had thought that if I waited more than a year that I would have to go through the name change process, which is expensive and time consuming. I’m quite glad that I was wrong!

Another meaning, to me, of “the seven-year itch” is change. Some changes come at you, whether you want them or not and whether you are warned or not. Meanwhile, there is a steady change going on in the background that is accumulating to something bigger. For example, I never thought I would end up as THE Startup Grind Chapter Director of Kalamazoo. It’s quite a different hat than I am used to because I am the one setting the stage, doing things I wasn’t before and finding coverage for what I was doing and cannot. It makes me quite aware and puts everything in slow motion.

Then there is school. For the first couple of years, the object was to work really hard and learn. When I added in psychology classes on top of writing classes, the amount of learning increased exponentially, at least. What’s really cool is that I am getting to the impact part – working on a collaboration of a journal article to be published later this year and (as part of the psychology program) working in a research lab starting in the Fall. Plus, thanks to one of my recent instructors, I have been meeting psychology graduate students in PhD programs. I am hoping that discussions started on campus will continue at a conference in Chicago, and allow for new people and discussions. Another hat and a new type of conference to attend. I am excited!

Writing has always been the backbone. It was the reason I wanted to return to school. Writing is what I enjoy doing the most and I find it something I need to do, too. Writing is the one part of Startup Grind that I consistently get to do, and even though it is a long shot, I’m even hoping to be able to attend the first Europe conference. I already know I could be one of the writers there. Traveling abroad is also a brand new hat, too, and part of the motivation for the timing of the name change – I want to study abroad before I finish my current program, and the first task on the list is to apply for a passport. I wasn’t going to apply until I changed my name, and that, of course, led to the “seven year itch” reference. Many of these changes I am doing as a part of my choices in life and the items mentioned are most recent. If I looked back at 7 years, the accumulation would be a long list. A reason for what I am doing now is because of items in the list from before that opened the opportunities. I can’t wait to see what is next! What are you up to?