And I don’t say that sarcastically.
I am on day 3 of a 3 1/2 day bigassed company conference. Went last year and got roped back in again this year.
I am an introvert, like others in my group that are here. As I said, “Yes, let’s send the introverts to a conference w/ 3,000 people and have them be client facing all day, every day. What could go wrong?”
Amazingly, nothing that requires client-centric damage control. Cause we don’t hate people, they just kind of wear us the fuck out, that’s all.
But back to Mom. When I had my 10 year high school reunion, it was a comedy of errors and/or signs from above of DO NOT DO THIS, which is a post for another day. But in the end, I went, and before the festivities, I decided, “Fuck it, I’m going down to the bar and getting a beer ALL BY MYSELF.” And that alone time + a wee bit of liquid courage got me in the headspace to go do the thing.
Mind you, that would have been scandalous for her to do when she was 28. But when I told her about it, she thought it was absolutely fantastic. And later when she was on a business trip on her own, and did the same (this was after my Dad had passed away) – she gleefully told me how she’d just gone to the bar on her own and it was because I had done it, that she decided to do it, too.
Back to the conference. When I found out I needed to go this year, my first reaction was legit, FUCK MY LIFE. Cause last year kinda sucked hard. Because – and I didn’t realize it until this year – I did not say, “Nope, doing ALONE TIME, client facing social time be damned.”
Arrival night, went to get dinner, and already utterly knackered from airport bullshit and needing MY time, and ran into coworkers. “Come over!” “Sorry, no, need to be alone. I’ll see you tomorrow!” (One coworker popped over to where I was later. “So, why are you being a hermit?” “Because I have to NOT be a hermit for the next 3 1/2 days.” “Gotcha.”
So, we get a free breakfast in the main hall as part of the deal from Tuesday to Thursday. I walked in yesterday, it was crowded and loud and chaotic and awful and I realized, “I have a good job that pays well and I can do fancy things like buy my own breakfast in one of the hotel restaurants.”
So I did. And again today. And will again tomorrow. Because that ~45 minutes of alone time to eat and drink my coffee and gear up for the day put me in a good headspace to actually help the clients I was meeting with. Didn’t do it last year, and that is probably a contributing factor as to why it SUCKED last year.
Mom would be so proud that I figured out, that damn the critics, I need alone time. And then acted on it. (And in concert, also got out of two morning sessions with management permission to boot.)
And she’d be so proud that I figured out how to introvert all over the place while looking like an extrovert. It’s not easy, and thank god I found one coworker who is also getting the “No, you can’t be an introvert” thrown at him as well, and we’ve introverted all over together these past few days. (We split off together at entertainment night tonight and bailed early back to the hotel together. There is now the real possibility that we may now be having a torrid affair that neither of us are aware of.)
But, she’d be pleased as punch that while I am doing something intensely uncomfortable for me, I’ve not only figured out a way to make it work by realizing what *I* need and acting on it, but that I’ve found a partner in crime in the deal.