So Chicago? Was a MAJOR whirlwind. I truly can't believe that less than a week ago I hopped on a plane and flew halfway across the country to hang out with a few people that I had met once before, and some that I had never met at all. Does that sound strange to you? Because when I actually write it down it sounds strange to me. But in reality, it made so much sense it was scary.
About a week before the trip I started telling friends and co-workers that I was going to Chicago to hang out with my "friends inside the computer" when they asked about my trip. We'd all have a little chuckle but there would always be a pause because, "Wait...what? Was she serious?"
Yes, totally serious.
But you see, that's the thing about the blogging and the internet -- if you're not that into it, it kind of does seem totally strange and abnormal -- like football or boxing or Snooki. But when you really get into it -- it totally makes perfect sense. For me, I think my attitude about blogging and the internet all changed at The Blathering last year.
I've been blogging since 2006, and reading blogs since, well..forever, it seems. Being a person who loves to write, it's just kind of hobby that makes sense to me. But I had never really embraced "the culture of blogging." Yes, I know that was a totally douchey phrase. What I mean is I had never gone to BlogHer, I wasn't dying for Dooce to send me a tweet, I didn't consider Maggie Mason my mentor. I was just a blogger, I wasn't a Blogger...you know? And then along came The Blathering - 2009. Being that it was in Sacramento, I told myself that I was just meeting up with some other writers in my hometown, no biggie. Nothing out of the ordinary. Sure it was a bit anxiety inducing, but I was mostly in my comfort zone. I was at home and if it was awful I could just hop back in my car and drive back to my house rolling my eyes at all the weirdos I left behind. But then, the exact opposite happened.
Every single person that I met in Elizabeth's backyard last Fall was a delight, and after that weekend, opening my Reader and following the happenings of all of their lives last year made me absolutely fall in love with the way this silly blogging community connects people. It's more than stats and traffic, drama and popularity. It is extraordinary people living ordinary lives and sharing their stories with each other, something that happens so infrequently in our busy everyday lives. Really sharing. It tugs at my heart strings a little when I think about all of the experiences and changes that this small group of women went through this past year, and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to be a part of it all just because of this little blog right here.
So this year, when the opportunity presented itself to buy a stupidly expensive plane ticket to Chicago, and fly half way across the country to spend a weekend with people I didn't know at all in the hopes that there would be that thing -- that intangible element of humanity and friendship and connection that writing this blog has introduced me to before -- I obviously jumped at the chance. And because I did, I met some delightful, intelligent, hysterical, and exciting ladies whose lives I cannot wait to watch unfold this year. Friends that I'm excited to share my own stories with. Women who I know will provide fantastic advice. Ladies who I know will cheer me on through the highs and lows of this coming year -- and for which I hope to do exactly the same.
So as much as The Blathering was about this past weekend -- eating deep dish pizzas, navigating public transportation, searching for the perfect pair of jeans on Michigan Avenue, having late night conversations in bars listening to David Bowie, drinking one too many cocktails, laughing until my stomach hurt over the stories of our lives -- what makes me the most excited is the future. Where will we all go? What will we do? How will our lives be different a year from now?
What will happen because of this one strange weekend with a bunch of friends from inside the computer?
I'm so incredibly lucky that I get to find out.