clean towels daily, a giant name badge and too many potatoes
For the first time in my adult existence (well, in my entire existence but this feels like a very adult thing to do) I spend five days at a conference. It was an Arts Conference of sorts (it’s mainly about this awesome software) but even though there was a rock band made up of attendees it was still the land of buffet lines and power point presentations. It was amazing and overwhelming in the same breath.
I met some great people, I really did. People I want to know for longer than a passionate discussion about arts education or the closing night celebration where we danced to oddly transformed cover songs while avoiding a huge plastic ball being tossed around the dance floor (who in the world thought that was a good idea, I was going to pop it if it came my way because it was a concussion waiting to happen- seriously it was huge and really annoying).
I also spend five days without any TV. It wasn’t necessarily intentional. It just happened. After a full day of meals and training and break time snacks and peer-to-peer sessions, I just didn’t want to hear another voice. So for some reason, even though I am exhausted and writing this on my laptop on an Amtrak train, my head is clear than it’s been in a long time. I don’t think I’ve been without TV for that long (or for even a day) since a Girl Scout trip when I was little. I don’t think there was a TV there… at least not in the cabins, maybe there was one in the common area so it could be even longer, it could be… EVER.
So that was interesting. I realized that although I have a ton of stuff going on and it’s all swirly, I am surprisingly calm and focused and happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of things I want to work on and it’s always in flux, but something felt really nice about being at peace with my nuggets of clarity. To be able to take comfort in the projects that are brewing and the plans being set in motion.
Also, I really missed home. And in a vastly different way than any other time I can remember (a theme is emerging… stuff I’ve never…). Trips have always been for a project or on a holiday or to visit family and although I miss Mike, the rogue kitty and my home, I know that I am off doing something great or fun or important. And not to say that this wasn’t a bit of great or fun or important but it wasn’t on that same level, at least not to me. Oh this is when I hope that no one from my day job reads this blog… This time I felt that tug of being away, and it felt like a long time to be gone. I guess it’s just another experience that wakes you up to the good stuff. I am not a traveling salesman or another vocation that takes me away from home over and over again. I imagine that some people have two or three conferences like this (or equivalent trips of this nature) in a month. They probably know how to pack better and they never forget to grab their sweater (who thinks to pack a sweater when it’s suppose to be over 90 degrees but the conference rooms are near-artic?!). They probably get used to the buffet meals and small talk with strangers. They probably have thicker skins and more patience.
But you know, besides all the great knowledge I learned (it’s confidential so I am not allowed to blab), I also learned some pretty great skills. Or I rediscovered them. I can get up at any time I need to and function pretty damn well. Even if I’m a little shy about it, I can participate in a conversation with anyone. In fact, I can walk up to the president dude of the entire organization and introduce myself (apparently he’s a total superstar to this crowd and that made meeting him an imperative). I can survive on a weird diet of food and not go insane (well, I think I might be avoiding mixed greens and fingerling potatoes for a bit, it became absolutely epic). I can handle feeling scathingly stupid (I know, I didn’t sound that stupid, it probably wasn’t stupid at all but I felt lame) and completely brilliant with equal ease. I prefer the brilliant but since I often didn’t know what was going on (damn you finance and coding conversations!), it was usually the former!
I guess I’m thinking that if you have to go do something you’ve never done before and you’re kind of scared (or really flipping scared), it’s probably going to be fine. It might even be really fun. But I’m saving the best realization for last. It is that I surprised myself with all the above. I was kind of shocked at how I was able to slide into this conference and groove along with the pros (wearing my glaring “first timer” badge with pride because it cut me some slack). And I am enjoying how much I want to get back to my life in NYC. It’s so nice to be reminded that you are happy, that you love what you are doing and the life you are living. It’s a balm of protection for the times that feel less than perfect, a small and fragile tent for the storms that will undoubtedly wail.
So the train is getting somewhat close and I need to get my stuff together. I am surprised that I could keep the coherency this long (please don’t tell me if I didn’t, let me blissfully believe that this post made sense).
I hope that sometime soon you surprise yourself and maybe see that there are those little pockets of perfect in your own life (well, it’s silly to write “perfect” but it’s nearly there, right?!).
Have a great week,