I was one of the thousands that attended the blogging conference to end all blogging conferences, BlogHer12. BlogHer.com is a website that features a community of bloggers who write about everything from parenting to politics. The site gets 40 million unique visitors a month.
During a session that discussed turning blog posts into published essays, I caught myself having a moment of unbridled joy. The woman sitting next to me whispered, “I see you smiling, it’s so much fun isn’t it? Being here.”
Being here. I couldn’t help get get a little Buddhist about the whole thing. Suddenly I was aware that I was in the moment. It allowed me to really savor what was taking place. It’s taken a few days to reflect because I actually managed to go with it and not analyze it to death. This may be an even bigger coup than the moment itself. (Thank you yoga.)
‘Being here’, again I thought. In that moment I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. My favorite things reading, writing, teaching, cooking, yoga and sharing stories was wrapped into a package now called a&o. And here I was sitting in a conference telling people about it. It was beyond a dream come true. I don’t even feel myself trying to diminish or hide my excitement as many of us women are wont to do.
If someone had said to me that leaving a great paying job with a well-respected company was going to send me on a wild ride and truly test my toughness I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m I’m really getting honest here, I might not have left. But three years 2 jobs and a canceled wedding later, I’ve realized that loving yourself and what you do don’t have to be mutually exclusive. More importantly, as our world has changed, so have I. I’m reminded of the roller coaster analogy grandma tells in Ron Howard’s Parenthood. Some people are okay with the merry-go-round. But others fare much better on the roller coaster.
Here are a few things that I learned at BlogHer12
1. Fear is a liar. I love the career that I had. My experiences have given me a background and level of expertise that is critical to creating a business. But fear will tell you that you aren’t ready to take a leap. Things happen in the time that they need to, but I think I could have jumped in the water two years earlier. Better late than never!
2. Community is everywhere. Two inspiring bloggers are Taylor Johnson aka the happygirl experiment and Jasmine Banks-Brown from SnarkyMomMedia.com. Sometimes you know that you’ve met your people after 30 seconds. I bumped into other bloggers that I met at the Blogging While Brown conference and made a few new blogging buddies that I hope to work with in the future. There wasn’t that scary women must hate each other vibe. To say that there was air of inspiration is an understatement. This good mojo combined with speakers like Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton Rock made for an electric environment. I hadn’t gotten involved in the BlogHer space as much as I should, mostly because it seemed overwhelming. It doesn’t now. I crave context and the conference provided that.
3. You can do whatever you want. Let me be clear, I know it takes hard work and dedication. That said, this wild west of new media space is limitless. Start your own talk show, teach the world to paint, give tax advice or teach people how to invest. It’s up to you.
I can’t wait for BlogHer13, but I’m pretty damn excited about being here right now.