Sunday, August 29, 2010

Conferences and the Aging

I attended some parts of the National Federation of Press Women's annual conference, held this year at the Union League Club in Chicago. It was a very successful, well-run conference, with interesting speakers and excellent meals. My main purpose in going was to support the organization, of which I've been a member since 2006, and to receive my third place award for the Clarion, the residents' newsletter that I edit.

This conference reminded me again that I'm old. I can't say I didn't enjoy some parts of it, but I got very tired and overfed, and I skipped one reception, one banquet, and one cocktail party during the two main days of the conference and the evening before. First, I found that the speakers were addressing matters that didn't much concern me: dressing for success, getting a book published, making money. I know that my books will never attract traditional publishers, and the process of finding an agent, writing book proposals, etc., which were spelled out skillfully, just made me tired. I found out long ago that I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur, and that's what a writer must be to succeed. I enjoy writing, but I just don't have the interest or the ability to promote my work. If I expected the world to come to my door, it just hasn't happened.

Another problem is my hearing. With my state-of-the-art hearing aids, I can hear the amplified speeches (unless the speaker has an unusual accent or mumbles), but the general level of chatter in a large dining room is really annoying. I can't hear colleagues across the table, and I can barely hold a conversation with those nearby because of the background noise. I feel that I miss out on a lot of interesting conversation, and I probably appear either mute or stupid, or both. No, I'm not the oldest member of the group, but some people seem to have retained their mobiity and their hearing much better than I. This conference made me feel a bit sorry for myself.

I wrote last year about problems with that year's NFPW conference in San Antonio. Of course that involved air travel, rainy weather, inappropriate plumbing fixtures, etc., things I avoided this year. Still, I have a feeling that I'm finished with conferences. Conferences are good for the young and agile, and I used to enjoy them very much. Now, they just seem to be too much work. I need a shot of energy--and better hearing.

At least one good thing came out of this conference: I may have been inspired to write more again, mostly just for myself.

1 comment:

Yvonne F Brown said...

I commend you on your authentic voice and your candid post. The ability to know what works and does not work for you is crucial in having a happy life. From your bio I realize that you are one of our elders and I respect that.

Additional kudos to you for your sharp mind and your thoughtful writing. Your hearing is sharp and clear when you listen to your inner voice. You clearly deserve the award.