I leave today for my 4th TED Conference. It's hard to believe it's already here, especially since I was accepted for 2011 while I was still at 2010 (and I'm already in for 2012). Usually I am counting the days furiously, reading the TED Book Club offerings and generally champing at the bit to get there and experience it. This year has been very different, though. I've had so much going on in my life that is changing, new, and exciting that I've barely given TED a thought since the new year. And so today, 6 hours away from my flight, I am feeling completely unprepared. How is that even possible??? Not think and obsess about TED?? Blasphemy! But it's true...and I don't feel one bit guilty about it. So fellow TEDsters, if I seem in a haze on Monday or Tuesday or if I haven't intently studied my top 10 people to meet, it's because real life has had the audacity to intrude, and now that I think about it, that is exactly how it should be. TED may be the most intellectually stimulating week of the year, but it's a week. That doesn't mean I love it less or value the experience less--it's still mind-blowing and I am excited. It's just been put in its proper place in orbit in a life that is much happier and on track for great things.
(And while this post is about TED, I could say this for a number of things in my life. There are all sorts of experiences that have served to fill the void in my life left by years of unhappy marriage; TED is just one. I no longer feel like I'm escaping to these things, and while I'm not obsessing about TED, I am looking forward to experiencing it from this new perspective as a me that isn't necessarily new, but maybe just newly uncovered, having been hidden away for far too long.)