Meaningful connections

We’ve lived in our house for almost two years and yet we didn’t really know some nearby neighbors that we had wanted to know for a while. We hadn’t really gone out of our way to get to know them better. However a few weekends ago, we had a “neighborhood crawl” where a few couples got together and had drinks and food and hopped from house to house. I got to know our neighbors better and now feel like I wasted two years of my life where it would have been fun to have known them.

How often in life do we go through our normal routine and not take the moments out of our days to reach out to others? Do we resist the urge because it might feel like more work? Do we resist because we think the effort or energy will not be reciprocated? None of these thoughts ever crossed my mind about our neighbors, life is sometimes just too full and crazy. Our life needs to change and we need to make more room for more neighbors, friends, and community.

This recent “Daily Om” titled: “Links that Last” discusses meaningful connections and it was a topic we discussed with my sister over this past weekend. The idea of community, friendship, and forging bonds that matter to us in our life. It is interesting to think about how your mind shifts from professional life, to family life, to community in differing ways depending on where you are at in life. We are at a place where we want to live a more balanced life, with children (or one child) plus neighborhood children running around. I remember the kids I played with when I was a kid and I also remember how much I craved living in a neighborhood with more children my age. We live in a great neighborhood for kids, and for neighborhood friendships.

Here is to future opportunities and meaningful connections.

He is my person

I am addicted. Yes, I am absolutely wholeheartedly addicted to my husband. Chris is my person. Today marks 11 years to the day that we decided to begin this crazy adventure together through health challenges, fun trips, job changes, family ups and downs, moves, money woes, dreams come true, and most importantly day-to-day bliss. He is the person I want to call, the one I want to yell at when I am frustrated, the one I want to soothe when his world is turned upside down. While I have only known him for just over 13 years, and it often feels like 25 years, I really cannot imagine a day without hearing his voice.

Call me a sap, call me whooped (he would say the same) but I hate traveling without him, or having days when I cannot feel the comfort of his arms around me whether to celebrate an amazing day or to say we will get through this together. He is my travel companion when I am the crabby one on an airplane (I get so bored and restless), on a road trip, or when I am stuck somewhere and have to pee. He keeps me fed and knows when I am on that tipping point between hungry and ravenous (the difference of great extremes).

Together we decided very early (prior to marriage) that we would only bring good to those around us. That our relationship was not only about each of us as individuals, and what that would mean to be together and be a family, but what our collective and shared world would mean for those that we are around. Meaning that our relationship would uplift and bless those around us, whether through our example of love, our support of others, or in elevating the thought of those around us. Together we take a stand small or large for what we believe in – in hopes that it means that others benefit by the work we do whether professionally, in the community, and in our personal lives.

I never take Chris for granted. Every day I cherish him for what he is, what I learn from him, and how we continue to grow together. I never tire of sharing him with others, lighting up when I talk about him, and spending every day with him. Happy “love you so much every day” – day.

He is my person.

Modern design + hive office

Crowdsourcing? Maybe. Utilizing the talents of your neighbors? Yes. I read the other day that we are better innovators by surrounding ourselves with a variety of individuals. Why not find office space that gives you the crowdsourcing environment, with great design, and a variety of talent just a wall or pane of glass away? Think of it as a new neighborhood with like-minded individuals, with great taste. You each selected a beautiful office, your home away from home, the place you spend most of your day. You might just find that you have more in common than you ever knew. You might find out when you get your morning cup of coffee in the communal kitchen. 

Many have called sharing office space “co-working” where individuals rent space at large shared tables or desks, and work alongside people from different companies. Members are surrounded by a community to interact with and support their business. Why is this good? It is cheap, and works for those that are basically on laptops and do not need to talk much or worry about privacy, or security of assets. Other individuals might rent “executive office suites” that are rented on a short-term basis that gives the feel that they have a physical office space. Why is this option good? Physical location with privacy and security of assets. However, there’s no office community.

If co-working and executive office suites do not solve what you need, then maybe try a “hive” office. A key component to a “hive” environment is a balance between privacy and community. Whether you are in the start-up mode, trying to raise money, or a budding company that thrives on the inspiration that a community of entrepreneurs brings, then a hive environment might be just the thing. You might think, why not just rent or lease a typical office? You could, but many times those can be expensive, with long lease terms, and often without the community aspect available to you. Who knows? In a hive environment, that lawyer you need might be your neighbor down the hall. You might collaborate with a web designer and find that you can help each other out.

Industrious Office future "Hive" space

Industrious Office future “Hive” space

We have a few co-working or hive office ventures in Portland. Recently I came across a great venture in the River North district of Chicago. It is called “Industrious Office” that focuses on modern designed offices in a hive environment. It is a 17,000 square foot building with 72 offices in total that can each accommodate 1 to 10 people on a month-to-month basis. Office rates start at $400 a month, which is a steal! Amenities include: 24/7 access to free wi-fi and electricity, printing services, private phone booths, onsite storage, lounges, complementary mail services, access to conference and collaboration rooms, a kitchen and a full service coffee bar. In addition, Industrious offer members a wide variety of classes and events in its space.

Industrious Office draws the best elements of co-working, executive suite offices, and traditional office space by creating individual private offices using glass partitions so that individuals feel that they are part of a larger community, but still have the privacy of their own private office.

I can see it being the perfect setting for designers, writers, start-ups, non-profits, lawyers, or anyone that wants to have a beautiful location to spend most of their working hours. Industrious Office is scheduled to open later this summer. If you live in Chicago and work from home, or bounce around from Starbucks to local coffee shop, have been craving a quiet space, and a clean and modern place to bring your clients, then be sure to check out the lofts at Industrious Office. I would love to spend my days within the modern feel of high ceilings, exposed brick walls + glass walled private offices, conference rooms and common areas.

Updates can be found on twitter.com/IndustriousHQ and facebook.com/IndustriousOffice

Unforgettable Impact

Are there people from your past that have had an unforgettable impact on you? They came into your life at a specific time, left that imprint on your heart, they may or may not be in your life anymore, but you remember the lasting effect they had on you.

There are so many people in my life that had that kind of impact on me. Children, other families, parents of children I took care of, friends, the list goes on. I can remember when I was in elementary school, a neighbor on my street would let me come over after school. She had been an art teacher and took time off to have a baby. I would come by to play with her son, and she would often have an art project out on the kitchen table and ask if I wanted to join her. I learned a lot from her, and often wonder if her encouragement and interest is what ignited my interest in art. If she had not left that imprint on my life, would I have pursued many of my creative and artistic endeavors? I will never know, but I am grateful for the connected afternoons of playing with baby + paints, paper, pencils, wax, and my imagination.

Why is it that I remember very specific details of interactions outside of my family, but many details of life inside my home are a blur? I could list off many experiences I had babysitting kids in my neighborhood, or from my church. Families I came close to in high school and college. Often I spent more time in their home and with their children than I did in my own home. Many times it would begin to feel more like my home away from home. I would have meals with their family and the parents would tease me that they wanted to adopt me. So why did I find such solace and comfort in spending time with these families? They had a definite impact on me. They taught me different ways to live, politics, things I wanted in my life, and things I did not want.

The unforgettable impact continues in adulthood. Whether a colleague, a friend’s precious child, or that night out to dinner with friends. I can walk away from an experience and feel the imprint internally. The deep conversation that changed me, taught me to look at myself differently, or helped me to appreciate all the goodness and greatness already in my life. I am honored to look back and appreciate all the individuals that have changed me.

Who has made a great impact in your life?