Visiting Chapel HillMy name is Gigi Branch. Welcome to My Own Milky Way.

It wasn’t my intention to name my blog after a candy bar, although it seems to be what comes to mind for many. The reference occurred to me as well, but I was more taken with the galactic association. We live on a planet located in the Milky Way, and on a personal level, each of us resides in a universe of our own. This blog is about mine.

New York City is the backdrop of my universe. A transplanted southerner, I’ve called it my home for the past for 25 years. I was five years old the first time I visited, and it couldn’t have contrasted more with my home on the North Carolina coast. The hurried pedestrians, impatient, noisy traffic and the towering buildings rising out of the concrete were exotic to me and created an energy and excitement that made me want to know more. So after graduating and spending a year abroad, I came to experience life in the big city. That was in the mid-eighties when New York was very different from my first visit and from the city I live in now.

For most of my adult life, I’ve worked in publishing and marketing, translating and transcribing texts for various mediums, such as book projects, articles, newsletters and websites. I like the written word and this platform’s leaning toward a personal perspective. I am a divorced single mother of a sixteen-year-old who keeps me grounded and on my toes, and the guardian of a playful Maine coon mix named Twyla. Our little family lives in the middle of Manhattan, very near Central Park, a location that definitely colors our urban experience for the better.

My reason for starting this blog has to do with the idea of balance and our increasing desire for it. I often hear this term referenced in the buzz phrase work life balance. Personally, I dislike (dare I say resent) dividing my time into two broad categories. It makes for a simple picture that pits the two areas against one another, and that certainly comes with drawbacks. I prefer a more nuanced list that draws on the many aspects of life that we carry with us, whether we want to or not: family, friendships, parenting, partnerships, professional life, home life, social life, mental and physical health, and creativity. These are the areas I find myself trying to balance, and that struggle and dance are what I would like to share.

This is my first foray into WordPress, and true to its reputation, the platform is accessible and pretty remarkable overall. I’d like to credit certain friends and colleagues (they know who they are!) for their advice on the trickier technical issues and their overall feedback, all which helped to launch this project. The photos are mine except for my header image taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Entitled Light and Shadow in the Carina Nebula, it features a very striking area in the Southern Hemisphere of our Milky Way, which is worthy of a look in its entirety. For anyone interested, this image from Great Images in NASA library is just one of many available to the pubic, at no charge (our tax dollars at work).

I would like to close with thoughts from two remarkable women.

To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good, a love of hard work, and a love of creating.   Julia Child

L’acte le plus courageux demeure le fait de penser pour soi-même. À voix haute.
(The most courageous act is still to think for yourself, Aloud.) – Coco Chanel

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