23 days to 50.
On my way to Portland for the third World Domination Summit. It’s a conference of people who are willing and eager to change the world. A year and a half ago several projects I funded on Kickstarter mentioned WDS several times. I went online and looked it up and instantly felt called to attend. Last year the 1,000 tickets sold out in a matter of minutes but they allowed ticket transfers until a weekend in May. I got an e-mail from the founder a few days before the ticket transfer deadline and somehow found myself on Twitter (shudder, TWITTER?) sending messages to people I didn’t know looking for tickets.
I found a girl in Canada selling a ticket and was so obsessed I did a google search for her, found her personal blog, and e-mailed her that way. She was astonished that I found her and after a brief discussion to prove I was worthy, I sent a PayPal payment into the ethers and crossed my fingers hoping she and her ticket were legitimate.
I booked a flight and a hotel, summoned all my courage and went. On the flight up to Portland I sat in the same row as a very hip young woman. I knew she was going to WDS because she was hand stamping her business cards with rubber stamps the entire flight. I didn’t find the courage to speak to her until we had landed. She and her friend were also staying at the Ace Hotel and they offered to travel with me on the train.
I was full of trepidation and feelings of worthiness. I knew the conference would be full of hipsters and here I was a middle aged woman flying across the country to crash their party. I wasn’t sure my Tom’s (shoes and sunglasses) would be enough to gain me access to this elusive community.
I was dead wrong. Everyone in the conference I encountered went out of their way to make everyone else feel honored and heard and appreciated. At the end of the first day I walked outside the theater and approached a group of a few people and just asked if I could go to dinner with them. They said, “Sure, we’d love the company.” So I went to dinner with half a dozen total strangers. We laughed, we ate pizza, we drank beer and had a great time.
I pretty much did the same thing all weekend. I never just approach people like that so I was way outside my comfort zone but it was magical. Just to be in a room with a thousand other people who think like I do that the world is troubled but beautiful and we owe it to ourselves to do something to change it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
The last night we had a Bollywood dance party and I actually spent HOURS on the dance floor. Me. Hours on a dance floor. I wasn’t worried about who was watching me or how I looked or whether or not I looked cool or fashionable or together. I somehow got to the place where I felt I was allowed just to be myself.
I booked my ticket (and a ticket for my partner in the non-profit) before I left Portland last year.
I left with a tremendous amount of hope and optimism. I had big plans for the past year. Some of them panned out, some of them didn’t, but there has certainly been change.
This year there are 3,000 people coming. That seems like a daunting number for me but isn’t it incredible that there are 3,000 people in the world who fought for a chance to come together this weekend to talk about the things that are important to us.
I’m excited to make new connections this year. I am excited to once again step outside my comfort zone. I am excited to be with my tribe all weekend. To be with a community where I am not an outsider, but an insider. An insider in the I-WILL-make-the-world-a-better-place movement.
It isn’t about how old I am or how old they are, it’s about what we all mutually want to accomplish. I’m excited to feel like I’m home.