That Beautiful, Bittersweet, Sinking Feeling

Over the past several years, I’ve placed myself in situations where I experience a lot of change. Mostly, that change is traveling from one environment to another, interacting with different groups of people on a regular basis. At Room to Read, it was temporarily living and working with different staffs in 12 countries around the world. At Automattic, it’s attending meetups with various teams in different locations around the world.

This week, I spent eight days with 35 co-workers and multiple non-work friends at SXSW conference in Austin. Each day was jam-packed – shared meals, conference sessions, individual meetings, working the trade show booth, evening activities of going to bars, hanging out in the lobby co-working, seeing live music, dancing into the early morning hours, and going out for late-night shawarma. Eight days of near utter exhaustion and very little sleep. Eight days of no exercise and meals consisting almost entirely of either bbq or tex mex.

Towards the end of the week, I thought, “Wow, I’m looking forward to a solid night’s rest in my own bed.” Yet, this afternoon at the AUS airport, boarding my plane, having been away from the excitement of sociability for a few hours, I felt a twinge of grief. That moment of, “Aw. I’m really sad. I miss the craziness of the past week. Of trying to get a reservation for 22 in a restaurant. Of coming home at 3:30 am and chatting with my roommate for an hour before going to sleep for a few hours.” It’s familiar, that sinking feeling in my stomach each time I leave people I care about and enjoy being around. That feeling that’s with me almost every single time I board a plane, either to return home, or to leave home. And even though I’m sad, I realized it’s okay. Because it’s a bittersweet reminder of the amazing people who are in my life.

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