back to school at my ageI have a great track record of leaving town and having epiphanies. Ergo, I should leave town more often! I was gone for a pretty long time (the longest time W and I have ever been away from each other) working at the Mom 2.0 conference in Arizona.

The last time I was in Arizona I was in the middle of driving across country. I had plans to visit a great-aunt (my great-grandmother’s little sister) and then I was going to keep on driving in a meandering road trip across the states way. While I was just outside of Phoenix I got the call that my grandfather had died. It still hurts that I wasn’t there to say goodbye, although looking back I am thankful to have healthy memories of the man who was my hero.

I parked my car in long-term parking at the Phoenix airport and flew to The South for Pop’s funeral and to be with family. A few days after my grandfather’s funeral we got the call that my great-aunt had passed away.

I couldn’t help thinking about those events as I rode the moving sidewalk through the Phoenix airport. My life is so different now, so changed from how I ever imagined it would be.

The conference was outstanding. I don’t say the word “outstanding” as a go-to sort of word, it truly was wonderful in so many ways. I was lucky enough to stay just off-site of the resort, in a house owned by a friend of writer Julia Roberts. Julia and I were part of the social media team and it was nice to work on various aspects of the conference slightly away from the fun.  We could hunker down and focus – and in such a stunning location.

At the conference A’Driane Nieves and I ran a workshop on writing about and through taboo topics. There were a great number of sessions going on at the same time and we did not expect to have a high turn out, but we were thrilled with how our session unfolded. It was intimate and helpful and inclusive. We all sat on the floor and shared writing topics that have been at the tip of our pen. We processed through why we haven’t been able to write about them. It was special. I am thankful to all of the women who came and gave of themselves as well as helped others within the session.

One of the things I was really afraid of before going to the conference was being jobless. I guess I was embarrassed to admit it. Part of the reason to go to this kind of conference is to make connections, and I was anxious people would take a step back if they knew I was actively looking for work. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead people were generous of their time and with their ideas. I was able to have fantastic conversations about long-term goals and life plans. For the first time in ages I was able to figure out what it is that I want to DO. I also realized it was fear holding me back from doing it.

When I talk about web design and web work, it is always with the qualifier that I am “self-taught”. Because I am. Everything I know about working online I figured out myself, as I am sure many of you have. When I wanted to learn Photoshop I jumped in and started figuring it out. When I wanted to learn HTML and coding I did the same thing. But I have a hesitancy about my abilities that prevents me from doing much with it beyond side projects. I need training.

Since I returned from the conference I have been researching programs and schools because it is very clear to me now – I need to go back to school. I am excited about this and nervous. All of the things I love to do, well, there is only so much I can do before I hit a wall of skill. It’s going to be so thrilling to kick that wall down and see what happens!

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