This was Palm Springs.
It happened at exactly the right time for me, this year. It seemed to work that way for a lot of people I talked to, people who are at so many cool and interesting, sometimes terrifying, points in their lives. They want to do things. They want to help people. They want to have things and learn things, be things and change things, break them down, build them up, you know how all of that stuff goes.
It is like no event I've ever attended, and I'm not sure I can explain any of it to you effectively, except to say that something good is afoot almost every single second.
This year, I worked with the fundraising team for charity:water, mostly because I will follow Laura Mayes anywhere to work on whatever powerful and interesting thing she's got going on, and this year it led me to Camp Mighty for the second time, with a bit of an expanded role. I liked this a lot. A great team is at work on this event, and I'm learning that it elevates my brain, my interests, and my access to my own goals and hopes when I'm a part of something with other people who don't settle for less than great.
Laura already knows how I feel, because I babbled it out on the last night, but I'll say it again in this week of Thanksgiving, because sometimes you just need to acknowledge that your life is better because a certain person or the other brought you into a scene that made things better, for reasons known only to them. So thanks, Laura Mayes. May you have all of the pie and pecans and adventures with your amazing son that you need to fill you up forever. I appreciate you. You are, truly, the human illustration of rad.
I did sit in with a team this year, although I flitted around to the other four to make sure they had their...whatever they needed. Group Three listened to me rattle off a list of five goals I had to pick from my ruthlessly edited and updated life list to really focus on this year.
Look, if you know me at all, or if you have read any of my awkwardly punctuated, rambling sentences on this blog, you know for real that picking five out of one hundred anything is a joke in this joint, right? But what you may not know is that I am oddly, latently superstitious, which may be a result of crossing myself thousands of times as a Catholic person until young adulthood, or an anxious personality type, or whatever, I don't know. But stuff MEANS stuff around here, y'all. I cannot divest it of its meaning. I have TRIED, trust me. I would trade places with you people who can bark out your five and be on to the Moroccan patio for a Road Runner (have one, if you ever go to the Ace Hotel, do it. Eat that blackberry right up. Do it for me.) But I am not one of you. I need you to drive me around, or be my girlfriend, or my nanny, or my accountant. But I am that other trainwreck, over there.
So. Up until the time I had to read, I was scratching stuff out and circling it in my omnipresent green felt tip pen, underlining it, praying over it, because these were to be my FIVE ALL YEAR, until boom, my turn, so I had to say some stuff.
I'm still not entirely sure what I gave up for the ones I picked, and I'm trying not to think about it, because the final five are all good and worthy and supportive of my personal growth, professional viability, and participation in my community of people I care about and who care about me, which is really the most important thing of all.
All I know is I AM going to Ireland in 2013, and drinking a Guinness, although it is not listed here. It didn't make it into my stated five, but that's only because I'm so sure this is going to happen that I wasn't wasting a slot. I am ultimately quite crafty.
Here are my five, I think.
- Have a clean, organized living and working space that supports peace and productivity, i.e., streamline my life. Throw away all belongings that no longer serve me. Start fresh. Grow up about this.
- Photograph a gay wedding in Maryland.
- Publish an essay in Washingtonian or the Washington Post, or a national magazine. Maybe both. What the hell.
- Practice fun, meaningful, intentional gratitude, and make it a habit. Do 100 cool things for my family and friends (especially those who have helped me so much through this last insane year. (Details TBD. I doubt I'll be able to hit 100, but at least get a good start.) )
- Meet or exceed my past highest salary with freelance work (writing, editing, photography, social media not-mavening.) Or, at least don't cry inside when I write my rent check.
My bonus list, because I couldn't stop:
- Finish and launch LaurieMedia as a professional, multi-purpose website.
- Make a new recipe every week for a year.
- My favorite addition: get a picture taken with Bret Michaels, both of us making devil horns, because that is what he does in every single picture taken of him. I'm hoping this will occur at a PetSmart, because he is quite involved in his own line of pet toys, because of course he is. It's just too bad that Rock of Love Bus is no longer a thing, because I'd love that in the background. (What? I'm a multi-faceted human being. Who has seen Poison live many, many times. If you did not know this, you are not paying attention. Or maybe you just didn't know this. It's okay.)
If this year is like last year (and honestly, I'm hoping it's not, because I need it to be less chaotic and supportive of my mental health in just about every way) I'll do things on my list I wasn't planning and will space on the things I really wanted, because I was all YAY DRIVE CROSS COUNTRY WHOOO, so that's off my list, but wow. Intense. I think I need at least a month and several more thousands of dollars, next time. However, BYGONES.
I feel good about all of it, though. I feel good in general about things right now denial except cutting the Ace Hotel pool wristband off of my wrist a few thousand miles east of Palm Springs, because as fun as it was to still have it on, it was a little sharp around the edges.
I can almost wait for next year, but not quite. I also have a lot of work to do.