As many of you know, I was in Dallas last week for the RWA National Conference. You may also know, I have a fear of flying. (In airplanes, not the other kind of flying. :)) Statistically, I know when I step onto an airplane, I will survive. I will land safe and sound at my destination airport. However, when I am 35, 000 feet above said destination airport and the plane is getting struck by lightening, bumped by thunder and shoved by turbulence I am certain I will crash to my death in the most horrible of ways: Straight down and painful.
Up until my trip to New York in March, I have had the reinforcement of Xanex fortified by a double Bloody Mary almost every time I travel by air. Since my daughter traveled with me to New York, I had to be the strong mama bear and overcome my fear of flying because she too has a bit of fear. I had to look and act the part of confident air traveler. Surprisingly, thinking confidently I was confident (huh, what a concept). Although I did have my moments.
So I figured instead of bugging my doc and asking for drugs, I’d tough the flight out to Dallas, knowing full well thunderstorms lurked over Texas waiting patiently for my airplane to pass by and mess with me. The last 45 minutes of the flight into Dallas was bumpy, very bumpy, and there was no convincing myself I was not going to die. But I soldiered on and breathed a very loud sigh of relief when we touched ground. I ran off that damn plane.
So why, you ask, are you boring us with your phobia of flying? Bear with me.
After a lovely two days with friends at a wonderful B&B in Gainesville last week, I checked into the Hyatt on Wednesday. (ladies, book early next year. I heard horror stories from those staying in the overflow hotel). I was up in my room and changing for the evening festivities in no time. I spent the entire conference socializing. It’s what I do best.
As it happened, Friday night after the Kensington cocktail party a group of people went up to the atrium lounge. I had a quick dinner with some friends then joined the group. I sat next to a very senior editor (who is also a publisher) who I had the immense pleasure of getting to know. Some time later a friend of mine pulled up a chair next to me. I can’t remember if I asked her if she had met this editor or if she had asked me to intro her, but the bottom line was I told my friend before introductions were made, “Miz Senior Editor/Publisher doesn’t scare me anymore.”
My friend looked at me and asked, “Does anything scare you?”
I had to think for a minute. I nodded and moved closer and said, “Yes. This is what scares me: Yesterday I called my 17 year-old son. I could tell he was in his truck on his way somewhere. This was our conversation:
‘Hi, honey. Are you wearing your seatbelt?’
‘Where are you going?’
‘To Ben’s house.’
‘I don’t want you drinking. No drinking and driving.’
‘I’m not, Mom. I promise.’
I told my son I loved him and missed him. He told me the same.”
The thought of loosing someone I hold near and dear to my heart terrifies me. Everything else? You can have it. Now don’t get me wrong. I love to write. LOVE IT! (In fact in an email today to my editor I told her, I LOVE MY JOB!) After the conversations I had with my agent and editors this conference, I feel so good about my future in the romance writing world. I want it all. I can do it all! But if they all called me right this minute and told me they never, under any circumstances, wanted to read another word of mine again, I could live with it. I could live with it (but miss it for sure) because what is most precious to me is just down the hall as I type.
My friend’s question put it all into perspective for me. And as I have pondered my response over and over, I realize I am very blessed. Both with my family, and my career. And while I am passionate about both, and love both, I know the driving force behind my passion for writing is my deeper passion for my husband and children.
Discovering these pearls of knowledge about myself is one reason why I love to socialize, especially with people who I find engaging. It makes me think. It makes me grow as a person, and it makes me feel good to be around people who get me. Life is too short to walk around all unhappy and resentful. Life is too short to blame others for your mistakes. Life is too short not to take it by the balls and hang on and have the ride of your life. We get one chance. Don’t waste it on negative self-destructing behaviors or negative self-destructive people. Savor what you have, and reach wider for more. But always remember what is closest to your heart.
Now I have a question kind of off topic but sort of on the same page. Who do you miss from conference (and if you didn’t go to Dallas who do you miss in general?)
Since I came back from conference this time around there are two people who I actually have like this achy-breaky heart over. It’s very weird. These two gals know it, and the weird ass part of it is, they feel the same damn way! How peculiar is that? I think as I get older I’m getting far too sentimental. So much for giving off the “I’m an island” vibe.