Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1979. Since then, I have studied, laughed, traveled, loved, challenged, danced, complained, won, lost, cried, and celebrated.
Fortunately, I don’t subscribe to the belief that one must have everything settled in life by age 30. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice. But it’s not necessary. And what does being settled even mean? I’m pretty sure there’s no right answer, and no required timeline. So I’m taking my time. The day by day approach doesn’t stop me from hoping I’ll wake up one day and it will all make sense, and suddenly be easy, with all of the puzzle pieces falling into place to create a dreamy life. But since that’s very unlikely, I’m doing my best just to appreciate the joys, learn from the blunders, and disregard the expectations of others. What ends up happening is a lot of moving as I try to figure it out – long distance moves, local moves, job moves, doctor moves, mood swings (but that’s something else).
After college, I spent the summer in Ghana, before moving back to Philadelphia for law school. I ended up staying in Philadelphia for four years (not before spending another summer in Ghana). Although it was my hometown, I never really felt rooted and made little effort to establish myself in Philadelphia. I knew the long term plan involved living somewhere else. So I moved to Oakland, where I stayed for three years. While living in Oakland, I lived in four places, ranging from a one-month sublet to two years in a cute little apartment with a red door. Oakland was great. I could potentially see myself living there down the line after I figure out the rest of it. But there was definitely more to figure out before I could be ready to call a place home – and really mean it. After Oakland, I headed to Brooklyn, where I have been since 2007. I’ve been fortunate to have gained a lot from my time in Brooklyn. But I couldn’t make it home. It never spoke to me in such a welcoming tone.
So now here I am, embarking on the next journey. I continue to hope the next step will be the best one yet, perhaps revealing itself as the long-term plan. Until then, I won’t settle for anything less than what feels right…at the time.
Join me, won’t you?
It’s been nearly 5 years since I wrote what’s above. Maybe 4 years since I’ve read it. I still stand by everything. Only a few circumstances have changed.
I’m now in my 30s. And I had forgotten that I once cared so much about accomplishing whatever by whenever. After missing so many of those deadlines, apparently my proclaimed rejection of society’s expectations eventually became a real thing.
After some ups and downs, I accomplished the original goal of this here blog in January 2011, when I moved to Amsterdam. Since then, I earned a Master’s in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam and launched a nonprofit organization, Ancestors unKnown.
And then plenty of things haven’t changed. For example, some travel in Europe, a 10-month stay in Suriname, a few visits to the U.S., and a move to the Hague later, I’m still all about that black girl gone lifestyle.
You’re still with me, right?
14 thoughts on “About the Girl”
Go get ’em Baby!
LOVE LOVE LOVE… keep writing Dana!
Engaging! I give it two thumbs up!!! Gone girl. Be fabulous!!!
It sounds wonderful Dana. Although I don’t know you well I am so proud and happy for you.
Dana, I didn’t even know you had a blog. Your writing is so engaging. You make intelligence and competence seem so effortless. You appear to be so irrepressible that I can’t ever imagine you being afraid to take risks. I am so inspired by you. I have played it safe for so long and have been the source of my own limitations. And it doesn’t matter if it was unknowingly, the result is the same. I am so inspired by you, Dana. Keep being you and doing the things that you do. Gone on girl!
Hey! I’ve just nominated your blog for a Liebster Award — you can find out what it means and what the rules are here: http://themindfulexpat.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/the-mindful-expat-has-been-nominated-for-a-liebster-award/.
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Great to meet you on the blogosphere!
Your content engages me so much and i hope we get to meet in person!
Same here, Tamkara! Looking forward to meeting you!
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I love this post! I’m a Brooklyn girl and I am planning a trip back to Amsterdam next month. I’ll only be there for three days, but as someone who lives in Amsterdam can you recommend any “must do” for a quick stay? Also, I’m sure you get this a lot, but would you be up for grabbing a cup of coffee with me if you’re in town? Strange I know, but I would love to pick your brain about your experience (I just finished your interview on Black Pete…arghh). Like you, I also felt a deep, wonderful connection to Amsterdam during my last trip and I think about the possibility of living there. I hope we can meet!
I really enjoy reading your blog! I’m getting closer to 30 and feeling the pressure to be settled; I loved reading your perspective.