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One of the things that made me fall in love with Phoenix so much when I first moved here was a situation that happened a few months in. I was trying to find some social events to attend to meet people, see what different things are available in the area, and someone told me about East Valley Friday Nights (#evfn). Though I’m rather comfortable with myself, I was still nervous in my subconscious about what may happen. I was afraid that it would be a clique where everyone ignored me the entire night.
In reality, it was exactly the opposite. Even though I didn’t know a single person there, I was greeted with complete openness and a feeling of being nothing but welcome. People introduced themselves and included me in their conversations. I enjoyed some beers, laughs, and in the end, found myself even more in love with the valley than I already was.
What I was welcomed into was a community. Community has several definitions, including “where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect,” but what they all share in common is that it is a group of people. There’s a sense of openness and acceptance in a community.
Community doesn’t mean that everyone is your best friend. I think most adults agree and understand that not everyone is your best friend and there is such a thing as an acquaintance. There are a countless number of activities I do with my dearest friends that I do not do with the community I consider myself a part of here in Phoenix.
Hindering a sense of community can create and be caused by cliques, which are small exclusive groups of people. Clique-type groups have their place in small groups of best friends. They don’t belong in place of communities. Activities and people that tend to nurture cliques rather than communities are hindering the potential of an area or another group of people with a common interest. Though someone may realize who their acquaintances are in comparison to their closest friends, labels and groups that are prominently displayed may make someone feel excluded form a potential community because of the clique feel it gives off.
Small groups of close friend are healthy and normal but labeling small groups of people that can make others feel excluded can hinder and prevent strong communities from forming. And everyone knows that large numbers of people can accomplish great things. Don’t exclude. If something is meant for a select group of people, keep it between them. Open it to the public if it’s meant for the community.
I will be taking a leave of absence from my blog while I am away on business. I love you all and hopefully you will not be bored without.
Something epic happened yesterday that really made me think. It was that same time last year that I hopped off a plane at Sky Harbor with three suitcases and a new home as I made my way to my development to sign on my home, and officially start my new life in the valley. It was exactly one year from my arrival in Phoenix that I was running around ensuring the conference went as planned for Phoenix Design Week. What better way to celebrate my PhoenixVersary than my involvement with an epic first for Phoenix.
It was one year ago today that I wrote my first post on Grace.Balance.Courage and this blog has been telling the tales of my adventures here ever since.
I had a good feeling when I moved here. I needed to get away from all the negativity and drama that kept appearing in other places I had lived. I needed to start over. Only I didn’t know that when I moved here. My initial purpose for transplanting myself in Phoenix was due to accepting a position here. The automotive industry wasn’t stable enough for me to be comfortable and I happened to get an amazing vibe from my interview at the Foundry. I knew two people here when I landed on October 24th, 2008.
Soon I began to realize how much I needed Phoenix. The creativity and collaborative nature here is overwhelming. I love the small think tanks, the ideas that are born out of them, and how no one is afraid to ask for help, or to start something new and unconventional. Even more amazing is how others aren’t afraid to try something new and unconventional, even when the instigator is someone they have never met, a lowly gal who wanted to root herself in the area, and hoped others would join her wacky initiatives.
I am amazed that I have only been here a year after looking at all I’ve done since I’ve been here and at the same time it also feels like I’ve just began my journey here.
I want to thank the valley for adopting me and allowing me to take an active part in the community. Thank you for helping me in more ways than you could imagine. Thank you for accepting me for who I am, a geek with a love for hot pink and football. I have never felt so sure of anywhere I’ve lived, and nowhere has felt like home more than the valley does.
Phoenix has given me balance in my life, the courage to do things I never thought I’d attempt, and allowed me to do it all with grace.
Wow! I had no idea creating a 30 before 30 list would be so hard! Finding 30 things is hard enough but finding things that are challenging but still obtainable makes is even more difficult. I’ve been working on this for a few weeks now, and was finally able to finish today.
Alas, my 30 before 30.
Can you help with any?
Ready. Set. Go.
I have never been a big fan of New Years Resolutions. Most people fail to make active goals they can realistically achieve and therefore have pointless resolutions. What is it about the beginning of the year that makes people want to change? Shouldn’t the cause of change be an event in your life and not just that it’s now 2009 rather than 2008? Maybe this is why most resolutions are unfulfilled. To me it’s similar to overcoming an addiction. You have to truly want something to be able to change.
This year I truly did have two experiences over the past few days that did prompt me to make a New Years resolution of some sort. One was a date gone wrong that ended up being a good thing and the other is a personal conflict.
What I want to aspire to be is a better role model for myself, for my younger siblings, for my friends, and anyone else that feels I am a role model. This involves many different aspects of my life.
First and foremost, I want to be a role model to young professional women everywhere. I want to show that women can achieve things professionally. I want to prove goals can be accomplished and you can reach your dreams. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, and it may seem that at every turn is a dead end, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And yes, it can be hard. When I graduated from undergrad I had two bachelors degrees and was sure that I could accomplish anything. I was living in a metropolitan area with the man I was dating at the time and everything seemed to be perfect. Then reality set in. It was impossible to find a job and even though I had great grades and great skills it wasn’t enough. No one was paying nearly what I thought I deserved. I landed a full time job a year or so after I graduated which made me feel like a failure, and it still wasn’t a job I wanted and was below my qualifications. I was then motivated to attend grad school. I was so motivated and excited about this new opportunity, but in the back of my head, wondering if I’d really be able to make anything out of it. I was at Kent State University in the Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM) program, which was relatively new at the time. I fell in love with the program but afterwards still struggled to find a job in the field. At the same time my boyfriend accepted a position in North Carolina and moved. I ended up accepting a position not in my field in Virginia to be closer. This was my flaw. I ended up losing my job after only a few months. I then had to pay an insane amount to break my new lease. I started looking in North Carolina and started moving in with my boyfriend. He then decided he didn’t want to be with me anymore and didn’t want to marry me, so there was no point in being together anymore. Then I had nowhere to go and no job. Great right? I ended up getting back on my feet and landing a position in my field within the automotive industry after a move to the Detroit area. A year later, I accepted a position with a company in Scottsdale, AZ and thus my recent move to AZ a couple months ago. It’s been hard. I’m not going to life. I’ve had my shitty points, but I don’t regret a single decision I’ve made and am so fortunate to have this wonderful opportunity in front of me.
It is within anyone’s reach to accomplish their goals and dreams. One important thing to note though is not to let roadblocks stand in your way. Sometimes that road block can be a bad relationship. That leads me to the next part of my resolution.
I decided a little while ago I’d try to get back into the dating game, and in hindsight this was a mistake, but not in the way you’d think. It wasn’t the dating that was mistake, but falling into the trap of the dating game. I’m simply tired of the stupid games and the ridiculous men I run into when I date. I’ve decided to do the same thing another friend has done. I am either going to date a guy that truly wants to be with me or be single. It’ll be hard. I’ve been constantly dating for about an entire decade now. However, a particularly interesting event that happened on my most recent outing a few days ago has made me even more focused on me. I had what most would consider a terrible date, one that would be too embarrassing to talk about. It’s a girls worst nightmare right? Incorrect. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it was just one of those unfortunate situations that sometimes happens. Some people can look past things and some can’t. I’m looking for a person who can. First impressions are really important but I’m one of those people that likes to give someone two impressions, because often first ones end up carrying too much weight. So no more guys that play games and no more guys that can’t see beyond an unfortunate incident. I have a lot to offer. I love to do just about anything and will try most things once. I am an individual. I’m smart and well rounded. I love football season like a guy and have an unusually rare love of beer unlike most women. I’m slightly pretentious and egotistical but not enough to be a mega bitch. I don’t sugar coat things. I’m a great dancer and love to sing which means a great night out! I’m quirky and funny and love to smile a lot.
Ultimately, I am going to be a role model to smart amazing single women everywhere. While dating is amazing and by no means should not stop dating, you should also not let a man impact your career or your independence and individuality. Don’t sell yourself short. You ARE worth it!
Hurray to 2009!
Thanksgiving was such a blessing this year. It didn’t end up as I had originally planned, and I was graced with some additional guests, but then again, what is the fun in that?
My brother and Alex arrived around 9am that morning with their two other travelers. I set up the futon for them to take a nap and put out the air mattress as well, but Billy and Alex were not tired. Billy and I then started preparing the turkey and the sweet potatoes I was to make. I made a glaze loosely based on a recipe on my roaster oven box, which used olive oil, pepper, and dry white wine, but I added my own touches as well and pretty much just used every spice in my cabinet. Since we had until about 4pm or so, we set it on very low.
My brother took a passing at recreating my grandmother’s gravy made from flour, pepper, a little water, and the turkey parts no one likes to talk about. I have to say, it was a damn close comparison to my grandmother’s.
Two of my other friends who were joining us for dinner came over around 1:30 to prepare what they were making. They brought asparagus, salad, cheesy potatoes, and cherry crisp. We had some wine and played some rock band, watched some football, and enjoyed a new Cranium game I picked up last week at Starbucks.
Dinner time started getting closer, and it appeared as if the turkey was never going to finish. Around 4:15 we turned it up all the way and in 5 minutes the steamer thermometer popped and it was ready to go.
My brother’s two traveling friends had plans that ended up falling through and were going to head out and venture on Thanksgiving. We all decided they should stay as we had enough for them as well and Thanksgiving is not the time to be wandering a new city. It was a great night, but we were all worn out by the time midnight rolled around.
Luckily for me, they all decided to stay another day as well and I got to spend Friday with Billy and Alex. They joined me in my venture to check up on Jack and Jill, cats of friends of mine, and then took me to a restaurant I had never been to before for breakfast, First Watch. Not bad. Afterwards we headed to Old Town Scottsdale for the afternoon, discovering a winery on the way, toured Tempe and ASU, and then relaxed and bought some items to cook for dinner. Billy and Alex made me an amazing fettuccine Alfredo with homemade Alfredo sauce and broiled chicken and sautéed vegetables. It was delicious.
Another visitor joined the slumber party at my house Friday night and also brought me back a Riesling having heard that I like sweeter wines. It was such a good time, and I made some great new friends. I think everyone enjoyed their time here and I enjoyed playing hostess.
Since I have begun yet another chapter in my life, I have decided to start a blog for a few reasons. First and foremost, I would like to have an easily accessible way to share my stories with all my friends at the same time. I have also decided to use this as a way to archive my life journey.
Why the title? Back in 2006 when I was in my last year of graduate school, I discovered one of my classmates that was in several of my classes had this amazing bracelet. It was silver and had five tiles on it that had the words grace, balance, courage, truth, and wisdom on them. I asked where she had gotten it and for graduation, she surprised me with my own as a present. Ever since that day, I have never gone a day without wearing that bracelet unless I had a special occasion. It has been with me through the past two years, and those have been the years that I have faced the most difficult life challenges. The bracelet’s still here, and I’ve managed to get through everything.
On that note, as I was still pondering a name for this blog, I received a text from my mom when I turned my phone back on when I landed in Phoenix. My mom doesn’t text very often, so that, in combination with the contents, made it ever more clear. It said,
“Been thinking of you all day. I am so proud of your courage and independence. Go far and be happy. Call when you get home to Arizona. Love, Mom.”
I would like to thank all of my friends and family for giving me the support and courage I needed to make the decision to move and accept my new position. I know it was hard on so many, especially with the end result being a move so far away from most of you.
In conclusion, I’d like to welcome all readers. Feel free to post comments, contact me, and subscribe to my blog via email or RSS.