Monday, September 17, 2012

On Vulnerability

I'm back from my 11th annual Girls' Weekend, a reunion for six of us college friends that's been a high point of my year for a long time now. Though we're spread across three states and in various stages of work and family-raising, it's so special and fun to get together.

Since having kids, I've sort of thought that the "special" factor around the weekend came mostly from the fact that our group had total freedom to do whatever we wanted, and that's mostly included a few adventures mixed in with a lot of eating, spa treatments, and being waited upon for two days without having to cut anyone's waffle into seventy small bites and wipe the syrup off their face later. And we did those things this year - pedicures, lunch and dinner out, a fabulous spread of wine and cheese and magazines in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Michigan, a fun painting class - and of course I loved them, but last night, home again and sleep-deprived from the up-till-3:00 a.m.-talking, I realized that it's not really the "away from work and children" thing that feels so luxurious. It's the sense that basically any topic is fair game, and that you can introduce those topics in an environment that's safe and supportive. It's the shared history, the thousands of memories, and - mostly - the sense that these people are On Your Team. It's the vulnerable, honest, hilarious conversations that sustain you. It's the quiet knowledge, not necessarily spoken aloud, that these people knew me before I was Mrs. anybody, before I was somebody's mom, and will know me when we're all going through "The Change" (a term we all vowed to never actually use), when we're launching grown children into the world, when the inevitable hard and scary life events come calling, too.


Before I left for my weekend, I had a Real Grown-up Meeting with someone I've been in contact with for a few months, and I'm so happy that it's led to me joining the team for TEDxGR. I'll be writing all the content for the event, and I'm both hopeful that the hours I'll be gone will be a "just right" amount of time for my work/life balance, and I'm thrilled to be a teeny-tiny part of TED, even if on a local level.

I can't believe how many people I've talked to about this don't know what TED is, so let's tie up this ode to vulnerability by linking to some of my favorite TED talks: Brene Brown talking on vulnerability in 2011 and the related topic of shame in 2012. Other favorites include Elizabeth Gilbert's talk on creativity and genius and LZ Granderson's The Myth of the Gay Agenda (from TEDxGR last year).

So, cheers: to old friends, to new adventures, and to vulnerability.

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