Unexpected Kindness + Opportunities

Update: I have not yet gone back to a full-time job. I decided that 2 full months was not enough time for my mini-sabbatical and that I needed a bit more time. I have chosen to design my life in this way right now and we shall see what comes from it. I will write a full post when I take my next steps.

Pictured here are Jen and Jo from  Starshaped Press . Two people who are very near and dear to me and who have been incredible encouragers and friends.

Pictured here are Jen and Jo from Starshaped Press. Two people who are very near and dear to me and who have been incredible encouragers and friends.

This decision, magically, has done wonders for me so far and I have met, been introduced to, and created many new personal and professional relationships that I probably would not have encountered had I taken on full-time work instead. 

What I have realized through the meeting of these new folks, especially those in my field, is that I am beginning to see glimmers of hope in the context of possibilities again. I have to confess that in the past few years, I was a bit nervous and unsure about where our industry was headed. My thoughts included:

"Where is this going? Is it working? How can we make this better? Will this even make a difference? Why do certain groups just not care? Do I still care?"  

What I failed to realize is that I didn't have a strong network of supporters/encouragers in my field, outside of first degree work connections, that I could lean on when times were tough. I can absolutely say that building this for myself right now is a lesson learned and what I hope is not regrettably too late. 

I have met a lot of people even in these past few weeks and something that I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing and deeply appreciate from the bottom of my heart is just genuine kindness and encouragement. I know that not all folks are like this but when you do get to encounter these moments, your faith in the world sort of restores itself bit by bit and it gives you enough oxygen to keep trying. I really do believe that the universe has its own way of supporting you when you least expect it and what I love about it is that you never know what shape or form it will arrive in.

This is all to say that these relationships have led me to an unexpected opportunity that is really exciting. I'm really hoping the stars align on this one. 

I have to write this: There is something about this opportunity that feels different. I can't quite put my finger on it but it feels sort of like real magic. Stay tuned.

Anyway, I am thankful for my community and it spurs me to offer encouragement towards others who may need it more than me. Feeling down on UX? Hang out with your UX community and I guarantee you will feel better.

An Extended Art Community

Do you have a tribe?

Throughout my experiences in my adult life (so far), I belonged to many tribes when I started my career. As I get older, some tribes have faded and I'm glad for it because I think it spread my relationships way too thin. After pivoting my career early on (you can read a little bit about it in this blog post), I began to identify myself into two tribes: UX/Service Design and Letterpress/Art Makers. These are broad categories and there are sub-tribes beneath these trees but the point is that I found them and I am never letting go. 

If you don't have a tribe that you identify with, I encourage you to seek one out. Community is the only way to collectively survive as humans and I am ever so thankful for mine.

Before coming out to Denmark, I did some research into these communities that exist in Copenhagen and found a letterpress artist named Megan Adie whose work I found really interesting. I wanted to meet her so I reached out. Unfortunately, she was at a printmaking residency in Basel (such a good excuse to not be available!) but she was kind enough to invite me to her collaborative space where, in concept, it was just like Spudnik Press where I currently teach letterpress. I respect Spudnik's business model very much so I was even more excited and determined to pay a visit.

Having spent a few days to myself, I was eager to meet some people so I headed over to Alhambra & Sons and felt those jittery feelings you get when you're going to a dinner party where you don't know most of the guests.

The result from these kinds of events can be:
1) Meh. The food was good but I'll probably never see those people again; or
2) I can't believe it took so long to meet these people. Where have they been all my life?! 

So which one was it? 2!! It was 2!!!! 

From left to right: Julie, Hanne, and Fie

These lovely ladies welcomed me in, fed me lunch in the truest Danish fashion, and we chatted about all things art, culture, politics, you name it. I find it cognitively fascinating that those who choose to take part in certain mediums tend to show interest in similar topics of conversation and values. I could feel the passion of these women as they talked about the current state of Danish politics and I could see the love they had for their craft as they allowed me to watch them work. 

Fie + Julie @ Kit Couture

Fie and Julie work for Kit Couture which is a new company that offers wonderful knitting kits for those who love to knit. I, myself, could never actually figure out the patience for knitting but I know a dear friend who does so I purchased a set of needles for her. The concept of the company is brilliant and very well branded. They haven't shipped out to the US yet but I brought some cards along to hopefully spark some orders. 

Hanne Zachariassen @ Miss Asphalt

Hanne is a fashion designer who runs Miss Asphalt where she creates clothes from found fabrics and does a lot of experimenting with her patterns. She also runs workshops for those who want to learn how to sew and you can feel her passion oozing through her stitches. 

I had a great time here and I definitely will not forget these girls. I'm going to visit again before I leave to say my goodbyes but I'm so happy to say that they are an extended art community for me here in Copenhagen. Another piece of home.

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