A day of travel, and then conference Day One is over. I’m already worn out, and I have three more days of this ahead of me. Tomorrow, I’m going to be kind to myself mentally and not feel like I have to socialize quite as much…or at all if I don’t feel like it.
The conference is fantastic, and I get re-energized to be around so many people who care about all of this as much as I do. I read “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” over my solitary breakfast, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before dinner, I headed down to the bar for a drink before meeting up with everyone, and I read, “The Case For Business Investment in High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail.” It was gripping! The United States ranks 8th worldwide in high speed rail investment. That is shameful. As you can see, I’m having a WILD time!!!
Tonight I had dinner with four other women. Three of them were lesbians. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” It was strange, though, and although I am most definitely NOT attracted to women, as I sat there, I thought about the merit of not having to deal with men! (Just kidding, my male friends!)
After dinner, my one non-lesbian friend and I had a nightcap in the hotel bar. She was upset. Her boyfriend was on a business trip and had not called or emailed the entire time he had been gone. As we sat there, she opened up her iPad and looked at Facebook. Of course, he had been on Facebook. He’d uploaded pictures, updated his status, and checked into restaurants. There was something else, a woman he had “mentioned” several times was commenting and LIKE-ing almost everything on this guy’s page. My friend asked for my advice, and I said, “DITCH HIM.” I told her not to even give it a second thought. She didn’t want to rule the guy, all she really wanted was to be treated with decency and common courtesy. If he couldn’t manage that, then get rid of the loser!
My friend had sent him a brief email from the airport as she set out on her own trip. “Have a great time in DC.” He hadn’t called. He hadn’t emailed back. He hadn’t even sent a text. Is it really asking too much for someone you care about to acknowledge your existence? She and I sat and discussed it. We live almost 200 miles apart, and communicate often. If she emails me, I respond. She responds to me as well. I asked her if it would hurt her feelings if I didn’t reply to her. What if I ignored her if she sent me an email or a text? What would she think? She said, “I’d think you were a bitch!” We laughed about it, but it made us both pause. Why then, would she even consider continuing a relationship with this man? Why try to keep him as a friend, let alone sleep with him? Why do we hang onto toxic relationships? Why do we try to “teach” or “help” those around us be who or what we need them to be? If the guy is a jerk, then he is a jerk. My friend agonizing over it is not going to change a thing. She is fun, intelligent, and extremely successful. She would not allow anyone in her life to step all over her, yet when it comes to her “love relationship,” she is vulnerable. She doesn’t apply the same criteria to that part of her life as she does to all other areas. Too many of us are guilty of doing that same thing. I know I am, have been. We value ourselves less than those around us, and it needs to stop. Expecting to be treated decently and fairly by those we allow into our heart and our lives is NOT expecting too much. I reminded my friend that she was not expecting one thing from him that she was not willing to give in return. She would never treat someone she cared for in such a callous manner. She should expect no less in return.
I’ve spent a great deal of time lately in quiet observation of those around me. Common themes, behaviors, and actions are beginning to surface. I am learning, or I am trying to learn. I am attempting to concentrate on peace, inner peace. What I am trying to avoid is becoming brittle or self-righteous. I want to trust. I want to love. I want to continue to have high expectations of those around me. I want to treat people with care, respect, and love, and I want to receive those same things in return.
Today I stepped outside during lunch and wandered around the area. I discovered a meditation garden behind the chapel across the street from my hotel. It was lush, green, and beautiful. There was a sign that read, “Shhhh… Peaceful Meditation Area.” Just seeing those words allowed me to take a deep breath. I wished to enter the garden, sit, and cry. I’m not sure why, but that is what I imagined myself doing. I didn’t have time to indulge in a good cry at that moment. I had another conference session to attend. In the morning, though, I am going to take some time for myself and visit the little garden. I don’t want to cry, but probably though, I will. Even if I do, I hope that peace, even a little tiny fraction of peace, awaits me.