Sunday, May 7, 2017

May We All Be So Lucky

Singapore during the last night of my trip

During the months of March and April, I traveled for work to Akron/Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York City, Chicago, Hong Kong and Singapore. I also had two day trips in April, to Hartford for Passover, and back to NYC to see the Broadway show "Waitress" with Hannah. That last experience and my time in Asia will forever be connected for me.

I'd seen "Waitress" in 2015 with Marc, when it was in previews before going on to Broadway, and I loved it then. It's even better now. It's a shame that it came out the same year as "Hamilton," because I think it would have gotten more attention otherwise. Musician Sara Bareilles wrote the show, and she appeared in the lead role for a short period of time, so I knew it was time to take Hannah and get there before that ended. The crowd was electric - I don't think they expected to enjoy it as much as they did. The show is sweet and funny and heart-breaking and life-affirming all at once.

The day we traveled to NYC, I was exhausted. In between each of those trips mentioned above, I'd been working like crazy. Evening and early morning conference calls, working at night and on the weekend, thoughts of work bleeding in to my every waking and many non-waking hours. I wasn't even trying to achieve work-life balance. Work had totally taken over. But I was okay. The kids and Marc were managing. It was just a really intense period.

The dam broke during one of the more saccharine numbers of the show. The three female leads sing a song called "A Soft Place to Land," a song about dreams.

"Dreams come and they go
But hold them and keep them
And know that you need them
When your breaking point's all that you have
A dream is a soft place to land
May we all be so lucky"
The moment was so extraordinarily beautiful that I sat in the dark of the mezzanine and I cried. Not heaving sobs, but a steady flow of silent tears.

I think I've lost sight of some things lately. I haven't spent any time dreaming.

Four days later I boarded the plane to Hong Kong. I'd never been anywhere in Asia before, and I was beyond nervous. I worried about being so far away from my family, and for so long. Imposter syndrome was making it hard to hear my own thoughts. I over-prepared, thinking over many worst-case scenarios, both for the presentations I was doing and the logistics of the trip. I spent a lot of that 16 hour flight reviewing my notes, discounting the 18 years of experience I brought along with me.

In the end, I managed just fine. I brought my A-game to every presentation, which in Hong Kong meant crashing into bed as soon as I got back to my hotel room due to the 12 hour time difference, and in Singapore meant a 13 hour work day I got through on adrenaline. I took care of myself, preferring sleep to tourism. I ate the granola bars I'd brought along when I couldn't face eating lunch at their normal time. I took pictures, which is always one of my favorite things to do. I tried to stay in the moment, rather than floating above my head, feeling like it was someone else in the suit at the podium down below.

It wasn't easy, but it was a huge accomplishment. It felt something like living a dream I'd never bothered to dream before.

The trip gave me a sense of confidence that I think I've been working toward over the last several years. I don't know how it's all going to work out, but I know that I did my best, and I learned a lot while doing it. I made it through to the other side of a really intense time, and on the other side, I regained some of the insight I'd lost along the way. I need to make time to dream.

May we all be so lucky.