New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Detroit is called the Motor City for a reason: its residents are constantly on the move. 

Ever since moving into the city, I feel like I haven’t sat down. Now obviously this is something we writers call a hyperbole, because I am actually sitting down right now, but you catch my drift. 

Since starting with Challenge Detroit it’s almost like I haven’t had a “day off.” When I’m not at work or at a fellowship Friday, I am at a workshop discussing equitable growth in the city, or playing trivia at a local bar, or at a weekend festival promoting Detroit arts and design, or I’m biking around the city with a mob of people, or I’m exploring another amazing restaurant, or I’m volunteering at an event, or I’m supporting the Tigers. Just as quickly as that sentence got out of hand, so did my extracurricular schedule.

Now, please don’t mistake this for complaining. I love being busy! More so, I feel like I am filling my time with valuable activities that help me get to know the city of Detroit a little bit better a little at a time. I’m also not trying to brag about all the things I get to do after work – although I easily could. My intention is to showcase how many fun activities, events, and festivals there are to do in the city of Detroit after work and on the weekends; but also how integrating yourself into these new spaces can be tricky. Because I’m jumping in head first to this Challenge Detroit, challenge yourself experience, I have found that there are many obstacles to overcome or challenges to face when participating in the city fully.

First challenge: showing up. Get there. Use all your internal might to explore the many different avenues and networks that make Detroit such a unique and creative place. This sometimes can be the largest obstacle.

Second challenge: be fully present. Actively engage in whatever you’re doing. If it’s a workshop or a panel, ask questions and absorb knowledge. Or if it’s a softball game, maybe practice beforehand (advice I wish I’d taken myself). Don’t just be there but be present.

Third challenge: use this time wisely. Meet people you don’t know. Introduce yourself to the speakers, the organizers, and the big-wigs. Make an impression. Don’t call it networking, but call it a human being who likes to meet other human beings and maybe continue to get to know said human being outside the event that initially brought you two humans together. Don’t just be present but present yourself. (Sensing a theme here?)

It’s safe to say that I am still at challenge number 1, I’m just trying to get there. Number 2 is my next Everest. Just like with our challenge partners, I’m trying to introduce change into my life at an incremental pace. I am not trying to reinvent myself here, but slowly and effectively integrate myself into the Detroit network and better understand what that means.

Yoga taught me that I can only do what I can do today and that’s alright. So for now, I’ll show up, and right now, that’s all that matters.


Just a few activities thus far…