There are very few things that happen in this life that give you the sense of a fresh start like flipping the calendar into a new year. It is invigorating. No matter what kind of year you had, there is excitement at what a new year will hold. In 2015, my husband and I said goodbye to the suburbs and hello to downtown Lansing condo living. The house in Delhi Township was a perfect place to raise our kids, but it is time for a new chapter. What I didn’t know is the book the chapter was in was more of a heart-pounding, stress-inducing thriller than a romance. The stress of the last couple of months almost made me lose my mind. In theory, I had a great plan going in. I did the few remaining renovations for the house to sell. We made the selection of the home we wanted. And, I set to downsize our items to a manageable size. Whoa. I’m not sure anyone truly anticipates how that process will go, but it was long and daunting and difficult. I basically sold or gave away all of our furniture and most of our possessions. We did keep our sentimental items and a few larger pieces that we stored, but I would estimate we ditched 70 percent of our material items. This process led me into the world of online garage sales and craigslist. I know that I’m probably pretty late to this party, but this is a 24-hour, seven-day a week back and forth and is fascinating. The coordination of people coming by to look at or pick up items, managing contractors and running the rest of my world really gave me pause. Frankly, it was exhausting. The hardest part was trying to continue doing everything like I wasn’t going through a huge life shift. I don’t personally know how other people do it. Luckily, I have some flexibility in my schedule; otherwise it would have taken forever to coordinate. Even though the last few months were a chaotic blur, I wouldn’t change my circumstances. I love Lansing and I love living downtown. I’m pretty sure cover girl Kelly King, executive director at the YMCA, would approve one of the transitions that will affect my health this year. I will go up and down many flights of stairs in one day. Not only will it happen coming and going (unless I’m carrying a big load of groceries), but I also have to take our dog out several times a day. All of these stairs will definitely give me more exercise and hopefully strong calves. A lot of people have said to me that they would be nervous to make a drastic change in their lives. I don’t want to wait to do the things I want to do, even if I’m unsure of the outcome. Life is short and trying new things and being happy is most important. If we decide living downtown isn’t for us, we’ll change our address. Again. I would rather do that (as difficult as moving is) than to always ask, “what if?” I hope this year brings you joy, health and enough courage to try the new things you’ve always wanted to do. When I’m making a tough decision, I always ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Usually, it isn’t so horrible. And, I like to say that without risk, there is no reward. Get rewarded in 2016.
Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.

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