This year was my 2nd BlogHer conference and 80% of my experience was different from my first conference experience last year. This is not to say that I didn’t have an amazing time last year because I most certainly did. But last year I was all wrapped up in chasing after W worrying about silly things and stressing about BIG LIFE things and before I knew what had happened the moment was over and I realized that I hadn’t remembered to savor the time.
I made a choice this year to make plans in advance and to also give myself permission to release my plans if I wanted to. I wanted to be in the moment, connecting, learning, appreciating, laughing, growing.
When my flight left Philly it was dark and rainy. Arriving in San Diego was instantly restorative and I breathed in deeply appreciating warmth without bitching about humidity. The airport shuttle bus pulled up to the hotel and several of the women I was riding with audibly gasped at the site of a sunglass clad woman standing on the sidewalk with hot pink hair. “OH MY GOD! Isn’t that Cecily?!!! WOW!!!!” The woman sitting next to me squeezed her shoulders into herself in excitement and I chuckled that of course the first person I would recognize at the conference would be my friend.
Standing with Cecily was the original Julia Roberts and I could not hug her tight enough. Julia is one of the best people on the planet and she was less than a day away from pulling off something brand new at BlogHer – a mini conference just for special needs parents. She is amazing. I do not exaggerate.
I wheeled my luggage into the lobby and ran smack dab into the person I was hoping to run smack dab into- my roommate, my dearest friend, Briar. We weaved our way through the sea of sundressed women and made it to our room where I promptly fixed the ac on a perfectly reasonable temperature of 65 degrees. Then we did what all people do that find themselves in California with a few hours to kill – we went swimming!
It was while I was doing the doggy paddle that my anxiety and stress over the next day started to get the better of me. I didn’t know exactly how to prepare for the Geek Lab. I read and reread several wordpress guides, went over simple backend stuff…but at the end of the day I just had no idea what issues people would be bringing to me. I got out of the pool so I could go to the speaker orientation and I met someone who had wanted to go to the Geek Lab but wasn’t able to get a space as all the slots were booked. I took a deep breath and asked her what she was going to ask me. I figured this would be a taste of what was to come…I was very relieved that it was something that I would help her with. (which reminds me, I need to dig up where I stashed her card and e-mail her with an answer!)
The speaker orientation was super casual and mellow. Everyone was arranged in tables by their panel so all the geeks were at one table and we tried to be civil when the PC vs MAC war inevitably began once we all pulled out our various smart phones. I loved being at the table with other geeky gals – it was empowering and fun.
I slipped out of orientation a tad early so that I could be on time for my dinner plans that evening. I’ll write more about that in the next post. Let’s just say it was a pretty memorable night…