A few weeks ago, I was so fortunate to have been able to travel to Atlanta for the O You! conference for O Magazine. A…MA…ZING!!! I have been wrestling with how to blog about it because there was just so much that happened. It really did feel like I was in an Oprah episode…all day long! Aside from the conference, this was my first trip as a mother that wasn’t work related. I think once you have kids, you immediately consider your own individual fun as a last priority. So if you are like me, when work suggests you attend a conference anywhere outside your city, you freak out at the chance to break the plane for at least a weekend. So this was my weekend to break the plane, and I didn’t have to think about work for one second…divine!!
It was a weekend of many bucket list accomplishments:
1. Take a trip with the girlfriends. Not only did my good friend Nida join me for the trek, but I also got to meet some new friends @TessaTweets and @TaraTweeting!
2. Eat at the Ritz Carlton.
3. Visit CNN. I used to have a fantasy wish to work there.
4. See Oprah. (Didn’t get to meet her, but seeing her and listening to her speak rocked just the same!)
I could talk about the swag, the gift bag, the celebrity sightings and meetings, etc., but all of that seems insignificant to the sum of the weekend. The ultimate reason I went there was to hopefully be inspired by the speakers, the messages, the attendees, and the experience. I can honestly say I definitely hit the reset button. Some of my favorite points of the day from the sessions:
“Belly fat squeezes the kidneys and raises blood pressure.”-Dr. Oz
Maybe not an awe-inspiring message, but it did make me think of some of the ones I love (and how I can support them on their journey in improving their health). One of my friends just finished a mini-medical school course at the University of Virginia. She said out of all that she has learned, preventing/managing high blood pressure was the most important lesson. I want some of these people in my life to be around for a long time.
“Don’t pass the message of “less” to your kids.” -Suze Orman
Now by “less”, Suze doesn’t mean less of the material things. She always says “People first, then money, then things”. As mothers, we often accept less from our own personal lives for the benefit of the family. We sometimes suspend our own personal endeavors and dreams, deny ourselves personal time, deny ourselves time for our friends…the list goes on and on. Don’t undervalue yourself, because if you do, your children will learn to do the same. This resonated in me deeply.
“Make your life an alternation of rest and play.” -Martha Beck
I realize that an alternation of rest and play is exactly how I lived my life as a kid through until before I had my second child. It’s not that my second child is a beast to take care of and manage, but my life was really too busy for my own good. Unlike with my first child, I now had to work full-time. My husband had just started graduate school. I now owned a home, multiple cars, and was in crisis mode managing all of it. Since then I’ve been in an alternation of feeling like I’m treading water and going comatose on my bed because my body gave out on all the day’s challenges. So how can I make work feel like play? I’m determined to figure that out.
“Why YOU? Because there ain’t no one better. Why today? Because tomorrow ain’t soon enough!”-Donna Brazile
When I saw Donna Brazile on the session list, I only knew of her through her political commentary on CNN and her past exposure as a presidential campaign manager. She was so uplifting! The quote speaks for itself.I loved this quote because it just raised the room of hundreds of people and elevated us like we were in church!
“Every surface is an opportunity to tell your story.” -Nate Berkus
Ensuring that the things I use to decorate my house HAS to have some kind of personal meaning/value to it has been my interior design mantra. However, as a result, my walls, tabletops, and shelves are pretty bare. I really can’t get myself to buy things at the store for the sake of “it’s pretty” or “that will look great in this room”. I don’t regret that, but I need to look into some of the personal items I have stored away that can be transformed to tell my family’s story.
“Too much stuff strangles us of life.” -Peter Walsh
I really would like to live minimally, but it is very difficult when I have two kids and a husband who would like to live the complete opposite. I am obsessed with the Goodwill bags I get at my door every month. I fill the bags up every time, but the stuff keeps accumulating! I am making a dent in it. Now i just have to organize what is left over.
There were many other speakers including an opening from Gayle King (who I got to meet!), a keynote from Lisa Ling, and sessions with Bob Greene, Andrew Glassman, and even more. Their messages were also just as meaningful. The conference, the chance to get away, the bonding time with girlfriends…all of it definitely helped me readjust my attitude. I have changed my paradigm at moving forward day to day and it has made a world of difference.
Something tells me I’m going to see Oprah again next year. And the year after that. And the year after that…