Social Much?

I went to a large training conference in Las Vegas last week. It really is a very informative time with lots of opportunity to learn new things and learn about new technologies in my field. This year I went solo. The one other time I have gone P went with me. It’s a large commitment. The conference itself is Tuesday thru Thursday. Then there is travel on Monday and Friday. It’s a full week. It’s really difficult to find someone to watch the girls for a full week. Last time my mom was happy to watch them, this time we didn’t have that option.

It was different this year, being by myself. I crave alone time when I’m at home. My runs are usually when I get this opportunity. At work it is the same thing: Leave me alone! I need to get this done! So, I wasn’t exactly broken up over the solo part of the trip.

I’m an introvert by nature. I do so much better in small gatherings where I can connect with one or two people. I get anxiety with the lead up to large parties. The thought of me lingering by the wall, alone, sends me in a bit of a panic. While I recognize that I’m an introvert I don’t want anybody else to know this, I hate feeling weird and out of place.

Anyway, this conference is just one big “party” with forced social interaction. I mean there are classes and you learn. However, the rest: breakfast, lunch, bigger classes… have the meet and greet atmosphere. I do go to this conference with other people from my company, so I do know other people. However, we don’t pal around together. They do their thing, I do mine. We may meet up for lunch one of the days but that’s all.

After a full day of this forced socialization the LAST thing I want to do is talk to anybody or be social with anyone. Anyone. At all. Period. Leave. Me. Alone. It happened to be that this year I was starting a new half marathon training program while I was there so I would hit the gym and get on a treadmill and run for a few miles. I would get back to the hotel room, text P until he went to bed (Vegas is 3 hours behind home), and gear myself up to do it all again the next day.

The time on the treadmill and alone in my room were desperately needed. By Thursday I was ready to go home. I was done with all the stranger interaction, all the internal panic, I was done. Thursday night is a big “End of Conference Party!” at a large casino on the strip. Of course I have to go, right? I did, and of course I had a great time. I drank my gin and tonics, got loose, and danced the night away with perfect strangers who became my new best friends and came away with 5 business cards and a few snap shots of name tags to link up on Link*ed*In when I got home. Funny thing, I ran into a guy I met two years ago who helped me get the party started at that party. So, I did know somebody! He remembered me and we had another great time trying to get people on the dance floor.

Friday? I was hungover and ready to go home. Saturday was all about the girls and connecting with them again, I missed them terribly. Sunday we got our Christmas tree and did all the decorating. By Sunday night I was peopled out. I needed to decompress. This is where having a great spouse comes in handy: P told me to just relax, read, he’ll leave me alone. He tried talking to me about some stuff and I just looked at him all glassy eyed. That’s when he realized I was done.

I’m refreshed now and ready to be even keeled once again.

Seriously, how can you NOT have fun at these parties:

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