Last week I flew to Austin, Texas, to attend Mom 2.0. It was my first time in Austin AND the first time attending this particular conference. I was lucky enough to catch the “party plane” with a few of my fellow Bay Area creatives and it proved to be a good start to the trip.
I wasn’t sure if I should go to the conference. After all, I’ve woefully neglected this site over the last couple of years. Between the birth of my second child and getting hired into a creative field, I’ve struggled to focus my energy on something that was just for me and organize my thoughts in any sort of cohesive manner. But that was also why I wanted to go: to see if I could breathe life back into to the writer part of me.
And, what do you know…even before stepping foot in Austin, I knew I had made the right decision. On the plane I sat down next to Sarah (pictured above), who just happens to be the author of a self-care book for moms. We talked the whole way to Texas! (And I ordered a copy when I got home because I always need help with self-care!)
The momentum continued from there and each day I was at Mom 2.0, I felt a sense of serendipity. I encountered amazing people wherever I went. At dinner with a friend, I randomly sat down next to an LGBTQIA activist. When I sought a bit of quiet in the Romper suite, I ended up chatting with an incredible podcaster who is an advocate for marginalized people. And at the moment when I was feeling a bit overstimulated after several days of learning and interacting with people, I was introduced to a woman who exuded calm energy. It turned out she is the parent of both a gender-diverse kid and an autistic kid!
Over and over, things aligned. Not only did I meet people I didn’t know I needed in my life, but I was inspired by them:
- I heard from queer parents forging their way into traditionally cis-dominated spaces by educating people and brands about inclusivity.
- I talked to no less than four women in mid-life who are dealing with their bodies going haywire and a healthcare system that makes them feel invisible, unheard, and frustrated.
- I learned valuable lessons from parents-turned-activists who are tirelessly working to make a tangible difference by pushing for new education standards, building community programs, and working with both lawmakers and law enforcement to enact change.
This is what I love about going to conferences for creatives. At every one, I’ve met amazing people (many of YOU!)! This year just felt a little extra. I needed inspiration, renewal, and connection on so many levels and those things were continually handed to me. Maybe it was a matter of being open to each experience and fully committed to taking what came at me each day, whether it meant attending a soul-feeding session (instead of a professionally enriching one) or striking up a conversation with a new person (despite my social anxiety). Maybe it was a function of age or the fact that so many others in attendance seemed to be in a similar place in life.
Whatever the reason, I am grateful. And I am already looking forward to next year (yes, I bought my ticket – have you?)!