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Heidi Shaffer, Published October 15 2012

Shaffer: SheSays remains committed to telling women’s stories

As our cover story illustrates today, an age is just a number – the feelings you associate with that time in your life are what matter.

Every woman we talked to was able to find happiness in her current situation.

If you’d have asked me a decade ago what my best age was, I likely would have said I was happiest then – I’d gained my independence and was living life on my terms.

It was 10 years ago this week that I moved to Fargo. My move here was meant as something temporary, a step toward getting somewhere else. I was at the end of a relationship and confused about which direction my education should go.

I moved into a small, cheap (and sometimes scary) downtown apartment. Broadway was in the middle of its reconstruction, and young people tended to stay away. My first winter here, I read almost a book a day, slept in a room with nothing but a bed and watched Oprah on a 17-inch TV from an air mattress in my sparsely decorated living room. I planned my next move, where I would go and how I could find a hipper, cooler place to call home.

But somewhere along my stay here, it became my hometown.

The city grew up with me. I met my husband, reconnected with some great friends, found a career and made a home.

But at no point in that journey would I have said I was unhappy. It was great going through those ups and downs.

This month also marks a year since we launched SheSays, and I’ll be the first to admit, it’s been a roller-coaster first year.

When I tell people I’m the editor of SheSays, they often recall the negative blowback that came with the section’s inception last October.

But that’s not the whole picture. Yes, the first month was filled with letters to the editor letting us know how unneeded our section was.

But as the loud opposition faded, a quieter appreciation for telling women’s stories, celebrating their accomplishments and appealing to their vast array of interests began to pour in.

SheSays has allowed us to look into the lives of women who matter, whose stories would not otherwise have been told.

In life, there are good years and bad; relationships cycle through their ups and downs. It’s our job to look at what we can learn from our dark times (and yes, mistakes).

Taking a cue from many of the women in our cover story today, I’d have to say that SheSays is at its best after the first year. We’ve honed the mission of the section and will continue to grow and learn from our mistakes and success.