Quite a few months ago I received an email from Promise Tangeman and Alyssa Yuhas inviting me to a design retreat at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. There were a lot of names on the list that I recognized as fellow designers... designers that I admired and looked up to. I was flattered that they invited me and I nearly jumped out of my chair with enthusiasm to go. Then, I second guessed myself and considered not going... I have emailed several of these girls about projects and about blogging but I had never met any of them in person. Meeting 20 new girls all at once seemed very intimidating, especially these girls - so on top of their game and as talented as they come. But I had so many questions I wanted to ask, and so many projects I want to collaborate on, and so many things I wanted to say... I just had to go. Plus I was dying to just let my hair down and have a good time. So I swallowed all of that stupid fear and I went.
I am still nursing. Henry can't get over the boob. He loves it. So I had to take him with me. And I couldn't just leave him alone in the room all day long while I nerded out with my new design friends so I had to take Conor with me too. I felt a little awkward showing up with my husband and my baby. It was kinda like when I moved to a new school in 4th grade and made my mom come with me and sit by the playground while I met new kids and played. You know, so if anything weird happened my mom was right there to back me up. I promise I'm not that scared of meeting new people... but it was sorta nice to have my boys there, waiting for me to come home after late night dinners and pool side chats. It was really nice actually. I love those boys.
The entire weekend was nice. I think it was so nice because it was all just for fun. No one paid an entrance fee. No one needed a ticket to get in. No one was "leading" the group. There were no exclusive events, sessions, seminars, lectures. No one was there to make money or sell their product. Everyone was simply there to enjoy each other, learn from each other and talk about the ups and the downs of being a freelance designer. I felt like everyone had something to bring to the table. Even the girls I considered "more experienced" designers were asking as many questions as they were answering. We hung out by the pool, we totally geeked out over Star's (my new favorite person) web developing skills, we told funny stories about our personal lives and gave each other friendly advice about our professional lives. We ate out and we took a lot of pictures. We complimented each other. We inspired each other.
On the ride home I wrote 10 pages worth of new ideas. Over the last few days I have been working harder, not to compete with these girls but because I am inspired by them. I guess my point is that if life hands you an oppertunity to surround yourself with inspiring, talented people jump on it. Even if it seems scary. Take a risk. Go outside of your comfort zone. Take your husband and your baby and your mom with you if you have to, but show up! Be nice, and share what you know. It will all come back to you. I am so glad I showed up because I definetely made some really cool friends and I loved every minute of it.
Thank you girls for being so awesome! I can't wait for the next oppertunity I get to be around each and every one of you again! Until next time - babies totally exhist, get your mom to QA that f#$%er, cut everything your doing in half, and say no when you're spreading yourself too thin! Love you all to the moon and back!