Mar 25, 2011
I’ve had a partial written summary of my time in Austin at SXSW for over a week. As I’m not one to over edit anything (if you read me very long you’ll probably call out grammar issues and typos in comments) it is a puzzle to me why I didn’t just hit submit when I finished writing.
Maybe this is called “Personal Growth.”
Since coming home I’ve been in such a funk, such a god-awful-terrible-no-good funk, Mr. Flinger is threatening to ship me back to Austin permanently. I’ve talked to my co-workers about our time there, each who managed to write about the experience. We reflect on the talks, the discussions over coffee, bacon, and port. We reach back in the archives of our notes pulling bulleted items back up trying to apply each to our regular work day.
The experience is an overwhelming one. Think Christmas morning for your four year old every hour of the day for four days.
In the midsts of meeting people in charge of amazing projects like the Web Standards Project, those involved in huge awesome new opportunities like Happy Cog Hosting and sharing an armrest on the plane (and a few drinks) with world famous speakers in the field, the wealth of inspiration is never ending.
This morning I confessed to a co-worker that I was .. down. Off. Blah. I couldn’t explain the reason. The sun is out! The sky is blue! My job is great! So why the sourpuss?
It wasn’t until my lunch-time Yoga break sweating in 110 degree heat in downward dog that it hit me: I have extroverts let down. The past six weeks were hectic: four different cities, two conferences, one training session and a client meeting. The experience was difficult on some levels, leaving the children and my husband to fly to another city as they stayed behind. I missed them dearly but I also thrived on the excitement. There was never a quiet moment. My hectic life was, impossible sounding as it is, more so. I ached for my family and I made great use of my time. It was an endless chance to meet amazing people, have fantastic opportunities, and engage in deeper conversation.
I loved it. I loved it so much I branded it “Bringing My Unicorn.” Everywhere I went, I was charged and energized.
It’s no surprise then that coming home would be an adjustment. There is no one to talk to at my kitchen table about web standards. Nobody can offer a tip on the book I’m writing. There is no substitute Emily Lewis to lean over lunch and encourage me to keep coding, be feminine in a masculine world, and share those experiences. Jenn Lukas lives too far away to drink port or pale ale with and laugh and cuss and talk nerdy things. No, for an extrovert, working at home, alone, however many tools utilized, is an adjustment.
I have not laughed as much as I did in Austin in a very, very long time. I laughed until I cried. Until I woke the next morning thinking I bruised my ribs. I laughed sober, I laughed over whiskey, I laughed and nodded and hugged people. For five awesome days, we were not our business, we were humans.
As Carl Smith said, “Life is just what happens inbetween SxSWs.”