Conventioneering and Hard Choices

toripitt Lifestyle

Earlier this year I made a decision – faced with several convention opportunities, I chose Memphis, Tennessee, and Snowbird, Utah, as the places to get my continuing education and collegial mixing. That meant that Orlando, Florida, was out. And I’ve been a Disney freak most of my adult life and many of my colleagues, knowing this, were astounded!

Positivity and Authenticity in Memphis

As the keynote speaker in Memphis, I focused on authenticity and how the past two years have allowed many of us to really focus on what is important in our personal and professional lives. It was a program that was well received.

Educationally, the event was fulfilling. The food was exceptional and the networking was, as always, rejuvenating. The post convention visit to Graceland was simply the icing on the cake. The road trip to and from, including a visit with friends in Arkansas and a “scenic route” drive across northern Tennessee, was memorable.

The FOMO (fear of missing out) Hit Hard

In the run-up to the convention in Orlando, though, I was seeing my friends posting their trip planning. Then I saw them traveling. Then their pictures with friends preconvention. But then… oh, then FOMO really hit. You always wonder what you’ll miss, and you have to make choices based on what’s best for you. And sometimes you miss out on incredible occurrences. This year’s NCRA convention in Orlando was an event for the ages. I’m glad I got to watch the business meeting on the livestream. And I’m so grateful to one particular friend who kept me posted during the awards luncheon. So many incredibly giving colleagues were honored – sometimes doubly (I see you, Sue!).

Right in the Feels

But then the results of the contests came up. Usually, I’m the one live posting screenshots to social media in the midst of screaming my lungs out and with tears flowing down my face during the results presentation. This time, I watched someone else’s photos and boy, my heart was beating out of my chest. From friends who had never qualified or medaled before, to a recently graduated professional qualifying, to a friend achieving a perfect paper, to – the best – a friend winning not just the realtime but also the speed competition! Oh, it felt so amazing and I was so envious of my friends who could hug each other right then and there in that incredible moment. But instead, I settled for posting on individual timelines, congratulating these superstars of our profession. My friends. Those moments are not mine to share except vicariously. It’s okay. I can still bask in their joy.

Adventure Planning and Getting Excited Again

Our trip to Utah will include a lot of stops along the way – it’s a cross-country road trip for us, with stops at the homes of friends, a few national parks, and I’m sure a few hidden gems before we arrive at the resort for the next convention. What’s exciting to me is knowing so many of my friends will be THERE too; so despite me missing the event in Florida, I can still recharge my battery again with hugs and laughter from many of those same friends.

Making Choices is Hard…

In the end, the choices we made for our convention attendance this year were hard (we’re not even going to address the fact that we’re missing Intersteno this year) but we did make those choices with due consideration and we’re going to be making the most of them. Every moment of every day, whether it’s on the road, on a hike, in the deposition suite, we must be confident in our choices and live with the consequences knowing that we made the right decision for ourselves at the time. Yes, I missed out on some things, sure; but the opportunities I took and will take advantage of are still priceless and the memories will always make me smile.