7 years, and a question …


This is me, with my loves (missing one).  Please tell me about yourself?

Tomorrow marks seven years that I’ve been blogging in this space.  Wow.  It’s hard to believe.  I have written about all the ways that this blog has changed how I live my life, so I won’t repeat myself here.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about other names this blog could have.  A Design So Vast comes from one of my all-time favorite quotes, from Louise Erdrich’s The Bingo Palace.  I chose it simply because I loved the quote, and without any real thought at all.  It has become far more apt than I could ever have imagined.  It is, I think, an attempt to put my arms around my life’s central questions.

When I think of other blog titles, some are humorous and some are heartfelt.  

But still, there are some others that would have probably worked (in many cases I’ve written about the phrase already):

A frazzled spirit (hat tip to Amanda for this phrase)

Captive on a carousel of time (here)

Tempus fugit

Shining from shook foil (here)

The changing ocean tides (here)

The only prayer (here)

Bitter and sweet

On this seventh anniversary, I have a question for you.  I’d love to hear about who you are – where you are from, where you live now, what your family and life is like, what it is that preoccupies you, what you love.  Please?

55 thoughts on “7 years, and a question …”

  1. I guess it’s only fair, since I’ve been following your life for several years now! My family is from the NY/NJ area but relocated to the DC area when I was 15 (30 years ago). I still live in the DC area. I’m a lawyer for the federal government and work 32 hours a week. I rush home from work to meet my two kids at the school bus — a son in 4th grade and a daughter in 2nd. I’m a former English major and a former creative writer. I still love to read and always enjoy your book recommendations. I read your blog because your writing helps me remember the big questions about life, especially on days when I’m caught up in the little, daily questions. Thanks for writing!

  2. First, kudos for seven years. I’ve only been reading for the last three, but your writing is very insightful, inspiring and has so many kernels of truth. It often serves as a spring board for my own writing. I look forward to the next seven!

    I live in Quincy with my husband (almost 41 and 18 years in at a large Cambridge biotech) and our daughter, M (6). I’m a writer/attorney and a few months off from 40 myself, though I have a plan to stop time around 1/9 so that won’t actually happen (or so I tell myself). When I think of our family life, I see a Venn diagram of three circles, attempting balance for each of us in our pursuits, but largely skewed toward M many times, particularly these past two years. Even though my husband and I were high achievers academically, we actually had very unscheduled childhoods, thanks to our mothers. We are trying to do the same for our daughter, despite (and often, in spite of) the go-go-go pace of so many other families. This has meant some sacrifice for me professionally, and most days it sits well with me, particularly if I can get some writing done. Since she just started Kindy, whether this will remain the status quo is uncertain. We’re homebodies and find pleasure in so much of what’s right in front of us–playing under our large maple tree (or, as M puts it, “watching bird TV”), Friday pizza nights, lots of reading. All the good stuff. Family time, with ourselves and other family members, is important to us, especially as our own parents age and M is (and forever will be) an only. Preoccupations? Take your pick, but right now, as the mother of a Kindergartener? Trying to trust the society into which I must release her every day. Even though I have been leaving her in someone else’s care since she was 6 months old, this feels different. But this morning I saw a little boy, no more than 6, wearing a Superman T-shirt, holding the hand of his dad (big guy, easily 6’4″) walking to the school where I had just left my daughter. The image of those two? It made my heart swell and reminded me that I can (must!) have this trust with all the good that is out there, but it is not always easy.

  3. I’ve been following you since the spring, having discovered your blog after the Huffington Post Series, This Is Childhood. I love that your form Boston, because my parents were Bostonians, and I was born on the Cape. I’ve lived in many places over the past four decades, but home is now Georgia, in a northern suburb of Atlanta. We live in my dream house, so I hope we’re never going to leave (although I have wanderlust, bad, and would be fine with moving the HOUSE somewhere else). Once upon a time I was a CPA, working in corporate America, but now I’m the stay-at-home mom of four children, ages 6-12. I have a son with autism, so that has consumed most of my free time for the last ten years, but I am also an aspiring writer and a new blogger. I love to read, write and spend time with my family. Lately my thoughts have been focused on life and loss. My younger brother passed away in May and it has devastated me. I thank God for my husband, the most patient man on this earth and the joy my kids give me, which helps me keep marching on.

  4. Oh, I love your blog title and that quote! I think it’s perfect as it is 🙂

    I’m Tabitha, just turned 30 in August, married to my high school sweetheart with two little gremlin children (Greyson 3, Gemma 1) , two big dogs, and two cats. It’s a bit of a zoo around here, point in case – I just found my son shaving my daughter’s head with my husband’s hair clippers this weekend…her very first haircut. Sort of a routine weekend here at the Studer house. Yeesh. We currently live about 20 minutes from our original hometown in western PA and it has been so wonderful to have most of our extended family (both sides) so close to us. I love writing, reading, but not arithmetic. Kindness and gratitude are the underlying force that steers our family – which we try to exemplify through our 12 months of kindness project (an act of kindness each month of the year). If our children learn nothing else from us but to be kind and grateful, we will have succeeded.

    thank you so much for writing – the way you string words together is so delicate that it sometimes stays with me for days after.

  5. Part of me is the Junior who has been looking up to you since 1985! Yeiks that is even too crazy to think about! I’ve been following your journey for the past 7 years and am incredibly inspired by you. I have made the leap from corporate finance to being of service to the world. I am now guiding people to find their own authentic power and learn to tap into that source to live a powerful life that they love. I also help women re-frame their relationship with food and their bodies. To love food as well as every inch of themselves. Some days are easier than others! Your honesty, insight, and way of loving how you live are true inspirations to keep moving forward with my dreams. Thank you Lindsay; for being a great camp counselor and sooooo much more!

  6. Larissa,
    I had no idea you were reading! Oh, what fun! I’m so happy to know you are out there and your story sounds hugely inspirational. I think I knew from Facebook that you were teaching yoga and wellness, but didn’t realize about the transition you had made. I am really glad to hear from you. xoxo

  7. Lindsey, I love your spirit and I’m so glad I’ve connected with you. Reading your words is a weekly gift!

    I was born in New Jersey, where most of my extended family still lives, and moved to Elkhart, Indiana with my parents and my baby sister when I was 3. I went to the University of Cincinnati, where I was a varsity rower for 4 years, and joined a sorority for a year (Kappa Delta). For money reasons, I had to choose between KD and crew, and crew won.

    I have a little boy who just turned 4, and my second husband is the husband I always wanted. He tells me I’m beautiful every day and treats me like a queen. We live in Austin, Texas, where I have more friends then I could have ever imagined.

    I’m fiercely pro-women’s rights and pro gay rights, and I pray every night, but question constantly. I love life and don’t like to listen to the news.


  8. Hi Lindsay! Honestly I don’t read your blog regularly but I do stop by from time to time and enjoy a lot of your insights. I stopped back this morning because I remember you referenced a magazine awhile ago and I couldn’t remember the name! I have no idea how I discovered your blog…maybe 3 or 4 years ago.

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago where I have been a stay at home mom for the past ten years. I have four kids…13, 11, 9, 7. WAY before I stayed home I was a first grade teacher and before that I worked in advertising with a marketing degree from Indiana University. My husband is an elementary school teacher.

    I love reading non-fiction…especially others thoughts on different issues. I watch way too much news and need to stop because often I find it too depressing. I love your big questions and frequently find your blog posts very thought provoking 😉

  9. Congrats on 7 years, Lindsey! Wow, that is huge. And, what a gorgeous contribution to life and to the lives of others. Thank you!

    Me: native Texan, but have lived in or traveled through almost every state; married & grateful for my man of almost 17 years; amazed my 3 boys are quickly becoming fully grown; think of how we as moms must have our own identities and things that make us tick or we’re lost when our kids move on; constantly wish I could walk around with a pen, camera, paintbrush in hand because there is so much beauty I want to capture.

    Thank you for constantly inspiring me. xo

  10. Thanks for this, Anne! I so appreciate your kind words (the encouragement means more to me than i can convey) and love hearing about your life. xox

  11. Kristen,
    Thank you so much for this. I love hearing a little bit about your life! And that last line – trusting all that is good? – yes. Just: yes. xox

  12. Allie,
    Thank you so much for commenting. I am so sorry to hear about your brother’s passing. I wish I knew what to say. I can only say I’m thinking about you and hoping that you continue to feel him in the air while also marching on. xox

  13. Tabitha,
    I am laughing out loud at the image of your son shaving your daughter’s head! I love the idea of an act of kindness each month. I will be reading along. xox

  14. Oh, Kristin – your spirit (what a nice, nice thing to say about mine!) comes through these words. I did not know you were a rower. My sister rowed and it seems like such a formative sport. Your life sounds wonderful 🙂 xoxo

  15. Hi Janelle,
    Thanks so much for this comment!! I stopped watching the news for that reason a few years ago and honestly haven’t looked back. I wonder what magazine I referred to? Wish I could help you find it! I so appreciate your taking the time to say hello today. xo

  16. Hi Lindsey, since I have been voraciously reading your blog, I suppose it’s only fair to participate! I’m a long-time Bostonian, born and raised and…still here at (just-turned) 40, living in the ‘burbs. I work part-time as a high school teacher. I blogged from 2001-2009 and am considering picking it up again, as I have become almost obsessed with documenting, living, breathing, recording, and consuming my now-7 and 5 year old daughters’ childhoods which are proving all too short. I am preoccupied with life and death, firsts and lasts, light and dark. Yin and yang. I also wanted to let you know that your blog was such a welcome find for me this summer. My dad passed away in the evening of the last day of my children’s school year in June (firsts and lasts…) As I spent most of the summer almost secluded and silent, coping with this loss, I read. Oh, how I read. I loved your book recommendations and also, more importantly, loved finding a fellow soul preoccupied with some of my same. So thank you.

  17. Lindsey, I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you and your life through your blog…I’m a native northern Californian, married, mom to two teens and full time plus middle school teacher. Writing is my guilty pleasure, along with reading and travel. I love that we have so much in common, even though you’re a few paces behind me in the motherhood timeline! Thanks for sharing, making me think, and reminding me about the need to pay attention, work hard, and mother the very best that I can.

  18. Can’t remember when I started reading your blog, but I always look forward to reading it. I don’t often comment but your words always stay with me and make me think more about my own life, my values, my children, my choices – sometimes even when I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that nothing is changing, that we are not getting older, that time is not moving so quickly! I am grateful that our boys met and spent part of their summer together. We both have older daughters and younger sons. I live in B’more and you live in my favorite American city so I love when you post photos of your adventures around Boston and Cambridge. I work and wonder every day if I am doing the right thing by not staying home with my kids and being available every minute they might need me. Every day I weigh the value of sending them to independent schools, versus having more vacations to spend time with them, saving more for college, a house on the Cape, or a new kitchen. All of the things you worry about, I am worrying about them too. I think I like reading your blog so much because you seem to have the right words to sum up exactly how I am often feeling and thinking, and you say it so much more eloquently than I ever could. Funny to think that when we met many years ago there was no such thing as a blog. Or the Internet! Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts with the world! Xo

  19. 7 years!! So amazing.

    You know a lot about me . . . but I really loved reading the comments from some of your readers. You have such a quality community here and it all starts with YOU!

  20. Hi! I have been reading your blog for over a year now and have enjoyed it immensely. I even used some of your topic ideas on my blog (http://oneadaygratitude.blogspot.com) as inspiration. My favorite is “Where I’m From.” I loved that exercise.
    I am originally from Lebanon, moved to the US in 2003 and now have moved to Morocco with my husband and 2 kids, ages 3 and 6 months.
    I love to read but have no time! I would rather spend the time writing, cooking, hanging out with the kids or sleeping! I love my sleep although I rarely get enough – the 6 months old wakes up constantly!
    Morocco so far has been interesting, if nothing else! I am still making my mind up. I do wish I was back in the US, though, in VA to be exact and cannot wait to see what life will be like there once we do move back. Until then, I plan on reading some more from you, writing some more, and making the most of the journey.

  21. I have sent links to your posts to sisters, friends, my husband and family many times over the last three years, and always enjoy seeing life through your eyes. I recently moved to a Philadelphia suburb after 7 years in central NY state where I was raised. My college sweetheart and I have been married 9 rich years, and we have a 4-year-old son and 16-month-old daughter. Moving from our first home, my family, and our friends has been the hardest thing I’ve done in a long time, but we are finding our way. Trying to sift through the days and hold the nuggets of beauty tightly. Keep writing – someday, I hope to again too.

  22. You may know some of this about me from my blog, but here goes:
    Grew up in Memphis, TN but not really a Southern belle as much as I try (not – I don’t really try 🙂
    Left Memphis to go to Stanford, then lived in NYC for 7 years which was THE BEST PLACE EVER
    Wrote for Guiding Light, the soap, which was THE BEST JOB EVER
    Moved to San Francisco five years ago with my husband, Ethan, who also went to Stanford but we never met while we were there
    Had Leo 2 years ago (his 2nd birthday is in a week) and started my parenting blog where I talk about how I don’t know what the F I’m doing – and found YOUR blog, which is a daily treat. I love your writing and see you as the kind of parent-to-two-lovely-tweens that I hope to someday be, after I master potty training!! xox

  23. I don’t know how I found you, but I’m so glad I did! I live in the UK, near the other Cambridge, and I really appreciate your reflections on your own time as a child in the UK. Thanks for asking about your readers – it has been fascinating to hear everyone speak up on this thread. With so much gratitude for your grace and wit with words…

  24. Happy 7! Because of you, I read more books. Thank you for peeling me away from The Real Housewives series. I’m 44 and happy to learn that a bulk of your readership are Jersey ladies. I have three sons and married my college sweetheart. Before my children, I worked in television development for Lifetime television. I am a stay at home mom but have decided now is the time for me to return to work. I have had little real success and can’t help but feel punished for my choice to stay home while in my 30s. My children are getting older, my loving grandparents have passed and life has shifted in a new direction. I no longer recognize my life as it has always been. I suppise its time to turn the page and begin a new chsoter. Thank you for helping me preserve and appreciate this moment, this day a little more.

  25. A Canadian writing here…I’m a mom to three under five, trying my hand at homeschooling (hey it’s kindergarten, how hard can it be?). I used to work as a lawyer in New York but then I came to my senses, quit my job, married and became a stay-at-home mom. Now that the fog of sleep-deprivation is lifting and my breastfeeding hormones are finally coming under control, I am starting to emerge from the bunker. I recently started a blog and have started to discover the incredible community of supportive women bloggers. I no longer feel alone! It’s cathartic. Thank you for sharing your life and thoughts with us. Your words are inspiring and encouraging, and I can’t wait to read your future posts.

  26. Happy 7th!!! Despite the fact that we have yet to meet in person, there are some uncanny parallels in our lives. Some of these I’ve shared with you – others probably not. But I often feel like we are traveling down the same roads though perhaps not at the exact same time. (except in Israel!). am a working Mom, writer/blogger living in the Philly suburbs with my husband of 19 years and two teenage boys – almost 16 and almost 14. I’m just about to change jobs and start at a venture capital firm in Boston which is completely exciting and completely terrifying all at once. These days – as I approach 45 – I just want to slow everything down – a topic you express so eloquently here. As I get older, different things become important which I am finding to be liberating in many ways. The stakes don’t seem as high in areas where they once were. Priorities are narrowing and that feels good. I am grateful for your words here, for your taste in music (which I share in a really close way), and for your generosity which has set an example in my life. I hope we are both blogging and living extraordinary lives over the next (lucky) seven years!

  27. Hi Lindsey,

    Happy Blogiversary! I believe I stumbled upon your blog through another blog, maybe Susannah Conway’s August Break or Gwen Bell’s Reverb. Not sure, but it’s been a few years.

    I’m originally from the east coast, NJ, outside of Princeton, but have been living in Southern California for 21 years. Crazy how fast the years go. Post college, I worked in television in NYC, but LA was the logical place to live given my career. One day I quit my job without another one lined up and followed the setting sun. It all turned okay. Two years ago I started my own production company with a dear friend. It’s been a challenging, and exhilarating adventure. I was seeking change, specifically more balance in my life after years of grueling hours as an executive. I’m drawn to your blog because our lives are so different. I’m 49, single, no kids and really love my life, but when I was younger your life is closer to what I imagined. And yet, I can relate to your dreams, struggles and juggling act. And so perhaps it’s true, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Maya Angelou

  28. Erin,
    I am so sorry about your father’s passing; what a powerful reminder of all the firsts and lasts and circular nature of this life, that timing. I would be secluded and silent too, in that circumstance. I’m grateful that I was able to help even a little and wish there was so much more I could do. I’m so glad to know you’re out there. Thank you. xox

  29. Thank YOU! So glad to have your words from a few paces AHEAD of me to reflect on, be grateful for, and look forward to. xox

  30. Agh! SO MUCH WORRY. Right? It makes me happier than I can express to know that someone I knew in my childhood, you, is reading now, and that we have so much in common so many years later, as adults. I loved meeting your son and seeing you although it was about 1/100 of the time I wanted. xox

  31. So glad to hear from you! And I love the “where I’m from” exercise, too. Morocco sounds totally fabulous and exciting from here, though can imagine it’s also very far away. Thank you so much for letting me know you’re out there. xox

  32. Thank you so much for commenting. I’m glad to know that my words have occasionally resonated with you; I can’t even tell you how much that means to me. I hope you return to writing. xox

  33. OMG I had no idea you wrote for Guiding Light. So good!! I love your blog and the photos of Leo on Instagram and hearing these little snippets is wonderful. Thank you! xox

  34. Thank you so much for this comment. I know just what you mean about how things have shifted; I feel like that in the last few months, too, and it’s unsettling, to be honest. Good luck with the return to work. Keep me posted. xox

  35. Isn’t it marvelous? I love the community I’ve found and am so glad you have joined it. I’m off to check out your blog right now. xox

  36. I am really hopeful that your new job might allow for a cup of coffee someday in Boston!? So glad you are out there. I mean that. I feel tremendous kinship with you even though we have never “met.” xoxox

  37. Thank you so much for this comment. I’m often struck by how much unites us, even when the outside details of our lives look different. And it’s funny you say that about what you imagined re: your life – the sentence that underlined everything in the first memoir I wrote (and put away) was “my life was exactly as I planned it and nothing like I imagined.” It is fascinating to me that what we imagined can be so powerful. I definitely know people whose attachment to how they thought it would be is frankly toxic to their lives as they are. It sounds like that is not the case with you and like you are doing some fabulously exciting things! What an adventure indeed. I am so glad you wrote. xox

  38. I’ve been blogging (though not in the same space) since 2005 and all I can think of is: all those words! You must feel something similar when you consider all that you have written here. I’m intrigued by how my own blogging has evolved as I moved hosts, designs, etc. and discovered I had an audience, even a small one.

    The theme in my writing, creative, blogging — even some of my academic work can best be summed up like this: I am interested in the things that make us, the people, places, experiences that shape our lives and alter our perspective.

    Congrats on 7 years! And, thank you for sharing glimpses of your life, your insights and thoughts, and your questions, especially the tough ones.

  39. Congratulations on the anniversary Lindsey! Let’s see, I am a 34 year old mom of two (ages 16 months and 3 years) who is transitioning from a work full time/big law firm/live in NYC life to a work part time/work mostly from home/live in the CT suburbs life. I am someone who admired your energy and spirit as a child during all those summers at ccsc and am so glad to have found your writing here. So much of what you write resonates with me and I love that reading your words causes me to be more thoughtful and appreciative in my own life, particularly during this time of change. Thank you for sharing!

  40. Happy 7 years! I have been reading along for a couple of years, though it seems like just yesterday. I appreciate the vulnerability and honesty in your writing. I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in the depth of emotion and awe that comes with parenting and with growing up myself alongside my “greatest teachers.” I am a mom to three kids (9,5 and 3) and we have just uprooted our family from a place we lived for ten years on a whole new adventure across the country. I know I will continue to find gems in your writing as I embark on another one of life’s transitions. Thank you Lindsey!

  41. Happy 7! I’ve been a loyal reader for maybe 3.5 of the 7. I’m Heidi, I have 3 kids- 2 girls (4.5 and 2.5) and a boy (9 months). Live in the burbs near Cleveland. Husband is Puerto Rican, so all of the joys and challenges of a multi-cultural family. Kids are bilingual, and in-laws come month-long visits. I identify with so many things that you write– I always feel like you put into words so eloquently the way I am/feel about things. Keep writing– for lurkers like me!

  42. Hi Lindsay,
    I’ve been following your blog for about 6 months and your posts serve to remind me to be grateful for my life and to take pleasure from the everyday. I have an 11 year old daughter and a 16 year old son and live in Sydney, Australia. Right now I’m working full time as Communications Officer at UNICEF which is making me even more mindful of how lucky I am. Too busy to blog right now, I’m not sure how you find the time but please know I love your writing. I keep this post in my email folder and look at it from time to time as it serves as a good reminder to me about the passage of time and living in every moment. https://adesignsovast.com/2013/09/summer-2013/
    So thank you! Yours Sue Ann

  43. I can’t imagine a more fascinating (and fertile) area to explore than what makes us us … I love reading your thoughts on that topic, broadly defined. xo

  44. Oh hi! I am so glad to know you’re reading – I saw on FB that you’d made a transition but wasn’t sure what it was. Congratulations and I look forward to hearing more about how it goes. I can’t even express how much CCSC means to me, still, now, and being on the other side of it and watching my children fall in love with the place has been an extraordinary experience. So glad to hear from you. xox

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