It’s been exactly one year and 4 days since I’ve had a full-time, full-paying job. (Gasp! High five.) Last fall, I realized that I needed a break from the back-to-back-to-back meetings, the 3am Tuesday nights out, and all the wild-amazingness that is NYC. Don’t get me wrong – I love the hustle and the constant energy of the City. At the time, I was loving it too much, a la kid in a candy store.
I officially left NYC at the end of Jan 2011 and embarked on a nomadic escapade. There was an outline of sorts, but no real plan. I knew I needed:
- Downtime, adventure time, and hang time, with both fresh and familiar faces.
- Experiences. Stories. Sunshine. People. The good stuff that makes you grow.
Recently, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and she said, “Tell me about the last 12 months!” All I could do was shake my head, laugh and keep eating the perfect slice of New York pizza in hand. (Thank you, Joe’s on Carmine.) What happened over the last year? Who did I spend time with? What did I do? Why? I’ve struggled with writing a “life update” post, because I’d much rather sit down with you, pour something delicious and exchange the nitty gritty in-person. You know how I roll.. Not to mention, it’s just hard to relay emotionally charged, isolated experiences. But! For the sake of time, distance and for my family to know where I was actually carousing when I wasn’t home, here are the bulleted highlights:
- Spent time with family, friends, mentors and strangers in: Ann Arbor, an old school ranch in Texas, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Beijing, San Francisco, Big Sur, Boston, Madrid, Barcelona, Plymouth + Provincetown (MA), Fire Island, Montreal, Burlington + Bridgewater (VT), Philly, DC, Atlanta/an insane lodge in the north Georgia mountains, my family’s home in Avon, CT, and a spattering of NYC visits in between. Some of the photos are up here.
- Learned the power and the art of great listening and storytelling. I used to be such a shitty listener. Work in progress. (Thanks, Karen!)
- Pushed to my max and left feeling more alive than ever before. It may or may not have been the dominatrix outfit. [Greatest Lesson: A thing is what it is. So own it. And make anything you want out of it.]
- Did not spend significant time in India, Southeast Asia, and/or East Africa like I thought I would. Things happened and plans changed. I accepted the fact that it (traveling/adventuring/exploring) doesn’t have to (and can’t) be done at once.
- Opened my heart to someone special. It’s been one helluva rollercoaster and we are finally living in the same city for the first time in eight months. I love that she embraces and supports all of me – loving, outrageous me – without judgment.
- Consulted for my alma mater/a global network of university Presidents committed to civic engagement. This allowed me to meet kick ass, humble influencers from 50 countries and lead a group of students from 12 countries at a conference in Madrid. Sweet gig.
- Felt a parent-child role reversal for the first time in my life when my dad was suddenly put up in the hospital for three weeks. Signing papers, seeing him vulnerable, having the time to play stable “nurse” with my siblings and support everyone during their busiest time of the year. (It’s a coming…order your turkey before it’s too late!) It was scary. And it was a great reminder of what really matters — loved ones, health and really good food (sneaking in eats from the outside world…check).
- Started a company with two friends focused on the power of retreat, relationships and a lifelong community committed to each other and a better world. We ran our first MBM together last month. Awesome.
- Built a friendship with three gems. They have become my pulse and an unwavering rock in my life. There’s something about a crew that just gets you, can laugh, whiteboard and dance through life together.
- Had my life rocked during the month of August at Esalen. Call it wonderland or just plain magic, there isn’t anything I’ve found quite like it. The writing and performance work study experience and people I met challenged me to dig into the stories of my life, how they’ve shaped me and why they’re so important. (Story of my family/grandmother that I wrote at Esalen here.)
- Decided that if my strongest group of friends and family are in/close to the same place right now — I want to be there, too! Because who knows? People move. Life happens. You know the spiel. With that, I’m moving back to my favorite city in the world. No, not Hartford, CT. (Sorry, Mom.) That would be: New York Citayyyyy
- Accepted an offer with Change.org, a kick ass tech start-up that has emerged as the largest online platform for social change petitions in the world. Starting on Tuesday, October 11, I will be working as a Director of Partnerships focused on maximizing impact/doing biz dev with the most significant women’s rights and gay rights non-profits and supporters in the country. Fantastic team, can work from anywhere, have flex time, and it supports my other passions, too. Great fit. Totally pumped. Dancing in the kitchen pumped. Btw, if you have any partnership leads/suggestions — would love to hear your brilliant ideas.
This fall I’ll be in DC – Oct 7-12, LA – Oct 18-21, Houston area — Nov 10-14, with CT + NYC in between. Let me know if we can play/catch up in-person. And please, please let me know if I can be helpful with anything you’re doing/thinking. I want updates!
That’s the skinny. I imagine only my Dad and a handful of my favorite stalker friends are still reading. Love it. With that — a final big THANK YOU to everyone who opened their homes and hearts to me in 2012. Especially my parents (<- yes, that is Sam brushing Cal’s hair..), who after all these years, continue to leave my childhood room relatively untouched. (Score!)