Last night I had the pleasure of attending Disney On Ice presents Disney-Pixar Toy Story 3 with my husband and kids. The tickets were comped and we enjoyed some VIP treatment in the form of dinner and a meet-and-greet with some of the characters. We watched the show with other bloggers/media from a private suite. As we walked down the memorabilia-lined hallway, I joked with my husband that he should remember moments like this when my paycheck isn’t as big as we would like. You can’t put a price tag on some experiences, right?
I posted a picture of my kids waiting for the show to start on Facebook and received a comment from a friend that surprised and upset me. I don’t usually blog about friends/extended family, but in this case, I felt like I needed to say something. I’m not going to repost her comment because it wouldn’t be in context, but it basically made me think about the way people perceive the work that I do. I thought I should set the record straight, just in case there are others who have similar feelings.
Before I get into the meat of things, I have to say that I do post my adventures on Facebook. I have a friend who I think just may have the coolest job in the world and I love to see what she’s up to and where she has been. I share my experiences because I think the people in my life will enjoy hearing about them. It’s not about bragging or status… it’s just a way to talk about the interesting things in life. I mean, I’m a writer. I like to write about stuff!
When I post on Facebook, I focus on experiences that I know other people will understand. Things that are easy to show in pictures and words. It tends to be the more material things because those are the things people easily relate to and find interesting. Here’s what I didn’t share about my evening:
I had the chance to see some of my absolute favorite women (and a few fave guys) AND I got to meet their families. I could have been anywhere, honestly, and would have been equally happy to just hang out with these ladies and shoot the breeze.
We gossiped, parented, and talked some serious business. These gals are SMART. Blogging has brought me together, for what I’m pretty sure is the first time in my life, with a group of entrepreneurial women. They think big thoughts, just like I do, and follow their dreams. They inspire me to push harder, not out of competition, but out of admiration. They aren’t content with status quo and they don’t tend to care how things have “always been done.” They simply set their minds in a direction and follow through.
I was with people who talk my language, respect my work, and share similar goals. When I say that Guy Kawasaki sent me a copy of his book and a personal email to go with it, they’re at least a little impressed (Big Guy says, “Who???”). When I complain about yet another company who is trying to get me to work for free, they’re sufficiently outraged. And when I’m down about an opportunity that has passed me by, they can empathize.
Events like this are the proverbial cherry on top. They aren’t WHY I write; they’re the result of my writing. This is my chosen career path and it didn’t come about out of a desire to follow some trend. I’m a freelance writer and blogger because I love to write (have been doing so for as long as I can remember), I love working for myself, and I love working independently. I enjoy what I’m doing so much that I look forward to my work days. I don’t know many people who can say that.
I have an incredible job that comes with some amazing perks, provides me with the flexibility I need to be around for my kids and is personally and professionally rewarding. I’ve also worked damn hard to get here. You don’t build up a reputation and contacts over night, and you don’t do it unless you’re willing to buckle down and get the work done. I know my family and friends see the perks and think it’s all glamorous freebies and fun. The truth is that it’s a lot of solitary time, late nights, frustration and compromise. I don’t take vacations without my laptop, I don’t do a lot of play dates, and I don’t take much time off. But, really, who wants to hear that part? Wouldn’t you much rather know that Gilbert Gottfried is really short in person and speaks in a “normal” voice? Or that Charm City Cakes not only look good, but taste fabulous? I know I would!