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    Hello, hello, hello!

    Just wanted to pop by and do some reflecting on the last year. Today (May 4) is my BIRTHDAY! I am officially 28 years old and I could not be more excited and grateful for this new year of life.

    But let me back up a bit. Year number 27 was incredibly trying for me. You see, in the last 365 days I found out that my Nana (who raised me and whom I considered my mother) had terminal cancer; my husband and I were supposed to move to France late last summer, but instead only went for a few weeks before moving to Lisbon, Portugal on a whim; and we quickly decided it was not the place for us; right when we arrived in Lisbon, my other Grandma sadly and unexpectedly—but peacefully—passed away; in January, my sweet, wonderful, perfect Nana succumbed to her cancer in which I was able to hold her hands as she crossed the finish line (thank you God) and which also kicked the daylights out of me; and finally, we moved to London in mid-February, where we’ve both been VERY happy ever since.

    Phew. You can see why I am eager to leave the past year behind. Change is a true test of character and there were many times over the last year that I did not know if I was up to the challenge. I was constantly questioning decisions and paths—why did certain scenarios play out like they had? No one in my immediate family died in my lifetime so to have both of my Grandmothers pass away within months of each other was confusing and hard. Why did we end up in two places (France then Portugal) that were not right for us before settling in London where we love it—six months after we moved abroad?

    I have no answers except for the fact that I suppose none of the reasons why really matter. At the end of the day—or the year—I am still here standing tall and breathing, stronger than I was last year. That is what always makes pain and grief and change worth it—coming out alive at the other end. Knowing you can weather the storm and keep pushing on, no matter what else is happening. To keep a career, house and marriage afloat all while navigating really rough waters is a huge accomplishment and it’s something I need to remember more often. As tough as 27 was, it was an accomplishment. And I know I am finally—finally—in the right place and feels really good. If we can all remember to look at the positives, the rest of it doesn’t matter because it was worth it.

    I am loving London. My husband and our two cats love London. We are building a really great life here full of old and new friends, European travel (Meditteranean summer, I’m looking at you!!), new traditions, and new businesses.

    Which leads me to why I am so excited about my this new 28th year. Over the next few months, I will be branching off from a conversation to start an entirely new concept based in London, but one that is still very “me.” And no—this site is not going anywhere! a conversation is here to stay and will run parallel to any and all other business ventures I involve myself in. I’ve said from the beginning, when I launched a little over a year ago, that I knew this platform would take twists and turns and continue to morph as I grow and as the audience grows. And it’s done just that—you can read more in my One Year Old letter—but to sum it up, this site has gone from an idea in my head to featuring my friends on the site to friends of friends to new friends that I met on the Internet to outsiders now asking us for promotion as opposed to the other way around. It’s really starting to work in the way that it’s meant to work and I won’t be dropping the ball on it anytime soon. I think this community is awesome and I look forward to continuing to grow it.

    I am super eager to share with you plans for the next step in my crazy career but that will come in a few months time when it’s all more in place. For the time being, thank you for the support in the last year, not just for my website, but for my life. I have used this site many times as a vehicle to express my emotions or what’s happening in my life and I have felt nothing but LOVE from so many friends and strangers across the globe. Going through major life changes is challenging enough but even more so when you feel like you’re floating out there by yourself and that is the opposite of how I felt the last year. A lot of you have lifted me up in some dark times and it’s because of that that I haven’t given up or taken time off. Despite all of these changes in my life, I’ve yet to miss a beat professionally and it’s because a conversation and our audience (you!!) is my happy place.

    Thanks for the love guys!! 28, I am coming at you really fast and really hard!! GET READY!!

    Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for daily doses of lifestyle inspiration and a behind-the-scenes look at my life and travels.

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    Stevie Benanty

    stevie benanty

    stevie benanty

    Founder of a conversation.

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