The End of An Era: Not Goodbye, but See You Later

Dear Readers,

It is with a heavy, but hopeful heart that I write this note. I launched Halfstack 6 years ago with a group of friends not knowing where it would lead, but excited for the opportunity to create. It was an incredible honor to see it grow into what it is today.  I've worked really hard alongside each of the amazing people who contribute to Halfstack in order to create something that I believe in and that I thought was important to our city and creative people.

But as life goes, we change, we evolve and sometimes it is important to re-evaluate the things in our world to see what still works and what does not. After thinking long and hard about this journey, I realized that where I stand today, it is no longer in my best interest to continue on with the Halfstack brand. We will be officially retiring Halfstack Media beginning in May. This magazine, the people who worked with me on it and the experiences I had because of it left a huge impact on my heart. It has been a part of my life for so many years that I have come to associate my identity with it. Yet, I have also come to a point where I realize I can't keep running it as it is on my own. While we have a large amount of support from the volunteers, I am the one that essentially mans the whole thing and it's taken up a good part of my life and at times, put undue stress on it and made me really sick a few times this year that scared me. I had to really put myself in check and think about what was most important to me - my physical well-being, my family, and my spiritual/mental health.

When people read, look at or pitch Halfstack, they are often surprised to learn that we have no financial backing. I'm essentially our publisher, I am the sole investor and advertisers are hard to come by in this competitive digital market. As it is, the nature of content online is "free" and even though we did begin our subscription services last year - we didn't see that many people buying and it still costs me more to run Halfstack than we ever end up making. I'm also the sole provider for my family and as an adjunct college professor, I have to work multiple jobs and take on freelance work to make enough to care for my family. All of this, on top of being a mom, I also released an issue with our team every quarter for 6 years straight. No rest for the restless, right :) - Never missing my self-imposed deadlines. I was dedicated to this concept and creative dream, but I also realized I have held on so tightly to this dream in its current form, that I didn't give myself the opportunity to see if I could materialize my creative goals in another way. So, I wanted to end it on a high note, with one of our strongest issues to date, our Spring Anniversary issue and close out saying thank you. I appreciate the readers who shared our content and believe in what we did. I am so thankful to the talented group of people who I connected with over the years. People who didn't just work for Halfstack or pitch us, but who also became my friends. Students of mine who took on the opportunity to build their portfolio and grew into amazing careers.

I am not sure where I am going from here, but I am going to try and stay optimistic. We've had a good 6 year run. An incredible one actually. And I am so grateful to have been able to share this with all of you - the readers and most importantly my team. The team of Halfstackers who have been so dedicated to build this beautiful concept all are so talented that they pushed me to learn and grow more each year. I believe that we are put here on this universe to do wonderful things and honestly Halfstack would have to be one of the most amazing things I have been able to do in my life - outside of giving birth to my two beautiful daughters <3. Not just because of the creative opportunities I have experienced, but because of the amazing people I have been able to get to know and create with.

I've been in mourning over the past couple of weeks dealing with this. I won't lie. It's been hard. I have also been going through a difficult and transformational period of my life over the last year. Spiritually, I am reconnecting and I feel myself growing, but it has been hard to let go of old bad habits and form new balanced ways to handle my life and give love to myself while pursuing my career and life goals. Growing pains are real. I battled with whether or not this was the right choice, but I knew in my heart and my stomach that it was. I've been working on listening to my intuition more. It hasn't been easy, but I find that often it's right. When I think about all of my past missteps, I realize they've often happened because I didn't trust my gut instinct. 

It's no surprise to me thinking back on the last month with the retrograde and this specific week with  tonight (April 29, 2018) being a dramatic full moon in Scorpio — while Jupiter is in retrograde -all the changes that have been bubbling up would finally spill over. It just so happens I'm a deeply spiritual, empathic and intuitive Scorpio. So, I think I'm feeling the effects of it all even more. For those of you who find astrology interesting, Scorpios, are an intense, investigative, water sign. My sign is all about rebirth. Scorpios are wonderful at makeovers and recreating themselves - makes sense considering I got my start in digital media writing about fashion and beauty after college for The Chicago Examiner. While we may act emotionally when life knocks us down, a Scorpio always gets back up, rising from the flames. That's been the underlying theme in my life. Get knocked down, dust myself off, get back up again. Always rising above the pain. The tarot card that actually corresponds to Scorpio is the Death card. I know, it sounds scary, but I promise - there is always more than meets the eye. Death can be frightening to some,  but through my spiritual pursuits, I've come to see that death can also be a welcome omen of change and rebirth. It's said that Scorpios are often amazing journalists because we are great at sniffing out lies, but I realized it's also my inquisitive nature and ability to research that led me to writing. It's beautiful to see how my true nature always finds it's way out. Full moons, in general, are powerful times of release. For me specifically, it's letting go and saying goodbye to all of you. It's also about me being open to new opportunities and continuing to work on myself so that I can continue to create from a place that is more in touch with my inner guide vs. what is expected from the outside external society.

Thank you readers, friends and fellow team mates for 6 years of beautiful creativity. Thanks for sharing your abilities, journeys and aspirations with us all. Over the coming weeks, will undergo it's very own transformation. While we will no longer have contributors or write features as we do now or release a quarterly issue as we have been, I will be keeping this space in order to house our Podcast: Halfstack Highlights updates and archives under a rebrand of: Make+Create Podcast. I will continue to work on those personally as I have since day one. I have interviews lined up through mid year that I wanted to fulfill. I think this will continue to be a good outlet for me to share the creative entrepreneurial journey as I continue to evolve on my own. You will still be able to find our old content under an archives section on the site as many of the writers still have some features they will be rolling out over the next couple of months. I'm still thinking about what the new site will look like, and what other focuses it will have beyond the empowerment/creative entrepreneurship focus that seemed to be the consistent theme over the last 4 years we have been running it. I just know it will need to be manageable for me as I will be the only one running/contributing to it.

Personally, I will still be teaching, but as I have mentioned, I'm undergoing some shifts career wise and working to see where the roads will take me beyond the world of education. I will still be freelancing and consulting as well- so if you or anyone you know needs creative work (surface pattern design/digital illustration/Textile Design) or wants to pull on a Creative Director - reach out to me. You can check out my portfolio HERE. You can connect with me on LinkedIn as well. Connect with me over email during the next few weeks to directly connect with any of our writers so I can share contact information there:

Thank you for coming along this wild ride.
Thank you for sharing your passions.

Til' We Meet Again,
Jen Lezan - Editor in Chief

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