An Update on Life, Love and Exciting New Business Stuffs!

maren kate donovanWell, the last twelve months have been a whirlwind, both full of exciting adventures, heartbreak, high highs and low lows.

As blessed as I feel to have experienced each and every one of those emotions, and for what they have taught me, boy howdy am I happy to be on the other side!

Professional recap:

Between May of last year and January of this, I was COO at an international co-living company that has communities in Miami, Bali, London and now Tokyo. I met amazing people, was lucky enough to travel for work (my fav kind!), and in Japan, the seeds of my next startup took root.

For the last few months I’ve been working with the lovely folks at Calm.comas interim COO, I wrap that role as they bring on an amazing VP of Operations and I myself move to New York City (a dream of mine for over 5 years!).

Personal recap:

After my breakup (almost exactly a year ago), I paired all my belongings down to two suitcases to free myself to travel for Roam. I’ve never owned a lot of stuff, but this time I even left my precious book collection behind (sob).

After a year of living out of two suitcases, I can firmly say it’s one of the best decisions of my adult life. Living with so few possessions opens one’s eyes to a new kind of freedom, one where you only buy what you need, or love.

I traveled and lived in England, Spain, Japan, Miami, Bali, and more… that near year of being abroad was truly transformative. It opened my eyes to how big the world is, how diverse people are, while still being so similar in the ways that count. Saint Augustine’s quote does ring true: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

San Francisco with my ❤ Shoshana, a badass snail in Miami, and Life is Beautiful in Vegas.

Traveling was also the catalyst for something I’ve never done: stay intentionally single. I didn’t realize it at first, but from the age of 18, I have always been coupled. I’ve been lucky to be with mostly amazing people, but at the same time, I never took the space to get to know myself apart from someone else. It seems ridiculous to say as a grown-ass woman, but I was placing a lot of expectations on other people to meet my needs, versus doing the hard work of learning to be content and at peace with myself.

I can’t encourage this enough if you have the chance, especially if like me from the moment you moved away from home you’ve consistently been with another human. It’s not that relationships aren’t lovely, they often are. I love being in love, it’s my fav, and being intentionally single — having to sit awake and night and only have yourself and your demons to keep company is quite hard.

But that’s the kicker. Hard things aren’t fun, but they lead to the biggest breakthroughs and the best adventures. No one gets a six pack from laying in bed; no one changes the world from a beachside hammock. When you push through the worst part of being alone, you get to know yourself on a whole new level, you accept your flaws — and commit to working on them — you cuddle at night with your demons, and find that over time they transform into kind ghosts.

Do I want to stay single forever? Of course not. I’m excited to find my life partner, but I’m constantly reminding myself that I do not *need* that person to be happy — I’m plenty happy right now, and that’s the biggest gift the last year of struggle could ever give me.

Things that make me happy: cats guarding fish markets in China Town, cloth pigeon art installation, doing my hair like Cindy Lou Who.

Next steps:

Now as I begin my move to NYC I’m looking for new opportunities where I can put to use my proprietary blend of entrepreneurial hustle, operational savvy, recruiting and people development experience, as I continue to ideate on my next startup.

So, as I’ve done for the last decade, I start by putting my intentions out into the Universe via the written word. After my last company collapsed, I made a public choice to be vulnerable both professionally and personally. There still isn’t enough of that out there, too many people walk around the streets of Silicon Valley, Alley, or Beach, chanting like drunk frat boys that they’re “crushing it” when in reality they’re struggling (either professionally, personally, or mentally).

If you’re interested, please follow my journey here on Medium. And, if I can help you, or a company you know, while I fulfill my cosmic journey — please reach out here.

Like they say in the puzzle factory: peace ✌

Originally published on Medium