I’m Not a Type A Parent, But I Went Anyway

by Chloe Jeffreys · 30 comments

in Blogging

Type A Speaker Chloe JeffreysThanks to blogging, I’ve had a reason to be in Atlanta the past three consecutive falls. In 2011, I was a newbie conference-attender at a Bloggy Boot Camp at the Meliá Hotel. Last year, I attended Aiming Low’s laid-back Non-Conference at Callaway Gardens. And this year, I was a speaker (!) at Type A Parent at the Westin Buckhead.

I have never had any desire whatsoever to live in the South, but I wouldn’t mind having a yearly timeshare in Atlanta for one week every fall. It’s just wonderful there this time of year.

The temperature inside the conference hall was Siberian, as usual, but the weather outside was spectacular. Warm, not humid, with an occasional touch of a cool breeze. It was perfect. I wish I had better pictures, but I’ve realized that there are two types of people in this world: People who live life, and people who photograph it. I’m clearly in the first category.

The people in Atlanta are the best. You will never find a more hospitable people than Atlantians. If Sherman wasn’t already dead, I would kill him for burning down such a lovely town.

Speaking of hospitable, I’d like to give a special shout-out to Kevin, the Westin shuttle chauffeur, for taking me all around my two-mile, free-shuttle radius. Kevin, I hope I tipped you okay. I wasn’t really sure what the protocol was there. And Crystal at The Dry Bar, thanks for making my hair look and feel its best. And to every waiter at every restaurant I ate at who had to prepare separate checks for dozens of women, I apologize.

I over-packed because I hadn’t had the time to really think it through, and I wasn’t sure about the weather. I wasn’t entirely sure about me either.

I arrived in Atlanta jet-lagged and exhausted, and the situation never improved. I’m taking my anti-depressants again, but they don’t help much when I’m rundown. These last two months of commuting to Oregon and working full-time, while trying to keep up with Generation Fabulous, and traveling back and forth across the country to conferences, has done me in.

But I woke up bright and early on the first day and made it downstairs in time for breakfast.

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The opening Keynote Speaker, Amber Naslund, spoke on The Other Side of Courage, Embracing Fear, Taking Risks, The One Truth You Need to Know.

Unfortunately, I’ve already forgotten the one truth I needed to know. That’s me, forgetting the only thing that actually mattered.

I do remember that when she ended her speech, though, I was feeling very inspired. In the crazy world of professional blogging (Ha!) it is easy to lose your spark, and forget why you got into blogging in the first place.

Even in my exhausted haze, I’ve started remembering.

The BEST part of this conference for me is that I spent almost no time explaining my blog to anyone. I did talk about the community of Generation Fabulous, but I never had to give anyone the dreaded elevator speech. I listened to some others though, which I never, ever mind. I am simultaneously fascinated and horrified that we live in a time when it is considered reasonable to expect a person to explain their entire raison d’etre in the time it takes for an elevator ride.

The other session I attended that meant the world to me was Writing, Yes It Still Matters by Katherine Stone and Anissa Mayhew. I already love Anissa; she knows me better than I wish she did. And now I have a mad girl crush on Katherine Stone and want to bear her lovechild.

It felt like the both of them were pouring water over my parched blogger spirit, which has been drier lately than any post-menopausal vagina could ever be.

Of course, the midlife panel I spoke on was a huge high-point of the conference. Wearing a Speaker Badge at a blogging conference is one of the biggest thrills a blogger can experience, but it doesn’t compare to that moment when people actually show up at your session to hear what you have to say.

We had a great turn-out, and unlike BlogHer, which I felt was more like a pep-rally for the midlife channel, this time, thanks to Anne-Marie Nichols, we seriously discussed the realities of ageism in the blogosphere.

Since blogging has been taken over by advertising, it is no surprise that midlife bloggers trying to make money in the space are experiencing ageism. The question is what can we do about it?

Money, Money, Money

Since my reason for blogging has never been about making money, it is no surprise that the sessions I loved the most weren’t about monetization, but about the art of blogging. Blogging for money is extremely hard work, and I already have a very hard job. Blogging is supposed to be my way of coping.

But…

It has been extremely difficult to resist the call to monetize. In fact, I haven’t resisted. I have succumbed.

My excuses? Why shouldn’t I make money from something I do all of the time anyway? But even more to the point, it is extremely hard to feel like everyone else is getting invited to the ball while I sit in a pile of cinders.

Who doesn’t want to get the invitation to the ball with the Prince? 

I didn’t want to be left out. Now I’m not so sure I want to be let in. I’m like the cat who can’t decide which side of the door she wants to be on. I don’t want to be locked outside, but I don’t want to be trapped inside, either.

Walking Dead

I managed to make it outside of the conference at least twice for no other reason than to take a long walk. Those walks felt wonderful, but I could really tell how exhausted and out of shape I am from working too much, sleeping too little, and not eating right.

Not eating right for me means mostly just not eating, but I did have some good restaurant meals in Atlanta. Of particular note was Maggianos Little Italy where I ate two dinners, back-to-back, (don’t ask), and the Brazilian steak house Fogo de Chão Churrascaria where I had a lovely lunch with an old friend who is not a blogger. I also ate at the Red Pepper Tacqueria with Cecily Kellogg, Robyn Wright, and, Lizz Porter, among others.

The Friday night GenFab dinner party at Maggianos was a marvelous time. Lots of ladies showed up, including some who weren’t able to make it to the conference. I had an especially good time talking Romance with Pamela Mason and meeting Valerie Hoff who is one of those women who is as beautiful inside as out. Our community has the nicest people in it.

Saturday I woke up with a splitting headache, and didn’t leave for almost the entire day. I ordered room service, and they brought this lovely sandwich with a salad and a huge pot of hot tea.

sandwich

Because of my headache, I missed most of the Town Hall meeting with all its accompanying drama. I have only one thing to say. You bloggers who make your living off of attacking other bloggers ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Seriously. Why don’t you get the hell off the internet and go donate your time–because you obviously have plenty of it–to a charity or something?

After the Town Hall meeting, I went to the Feedblitz session taught by Phil Hollows. This session was excellent, and I learned a lot about email marketing.

The closing keynote speaker, Erika Napoletano, was frustratingly scattered, and yet mesmerizing at the same time. She had the amazing gift of giving me an existential out-of-body experience, and then snapping me back into analytical-mode almost instantaneously. It was dizzying.

Erika bookended the conference by bringing it all back to taking risks, which is obviously the hardest thing there is to do or everybody would be doing it, and we wouldn’t need keynote speakers snapping our souls around the room like that.

The last night was the best. The crowds had emptied out, and most of the bloggers left were women I’ve come to know and love. Several GenFab ladies were in attendance (Jennifer Conet Wagner, Sara Broers, Kay Lynn Akers, Nicole Morgan, Judy Freedman, Kelly Pugliano, Leisa Hammet, Melanie Herring, to name a few). At one point GenFab had the dance floor. I am very proud of our community.

I was able to fake being fit and fabulous after 50 for about an hour and half before I had to give it up and go to bed. My body finally reached the point where it is said, “No more.”

I want to thank Kelby Carr for inviting me to be a presenter this year, and for honoring the midlife tribe with a session all its own. It was truly a great honor.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

christy July 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

nice

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Leisa Hammett January 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

Hey there. Thanks for the linky love and mention here! I’m on here trying to figure out the whereabouts of Generation Fabulous. Been confused for a while. I actually wasn’t there on the dance floor and last night dinner. I’d already left that morning. But I love to dance! I wanted to share this post with your Gen Fab folks: http://www.leisahammett.com/2014/01/divorce-ends-a-marriage-but-not-always-the-parenting-partnership.html Well, looks like you’ve got an app that will do that anyway. And, I really enjoyed meeting you. It was my first blog conference that I could really sync in with the bloggers. The Gen Fab, of course! Cheers!
Leisa Hammett recently posted..Divorce Ends a Marriage but Not Always the Parenting PartnershipMy Profile

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Jamie@SouthMainMuse October 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Chloe, it was so great to meet you. And now I read in your later post that you are heading to Haiti. Look forward to hearing of your latest adventure. Glad you came to peace — or it sounds pretty close.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Nice to meet you, too, Jamie. I am at peace about my decision. And Haiti was definitely a game-changer for me.

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Hope October 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Wow. Sounds like a great conference experience…minus the exhaustion…and the headache. I need to perfect my blog elevator speech also. Glad you didn’t have to use it though. I hope to attend a Bloggy Boot camp one day 🙂

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Highly recommend BBC! Tiffany Romero and Francesca Bandalucci do a phenomenal job providing lots of useful information in a small conference setting. You’ll have lots and lots of opportunities to hone that elevator speech. I suggest listening a lot in the beginning. I learned so much from just listening.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..I’m Not a Type A Parent, But I Went AnywayMy Profile

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Anissa Mayhew October 6, 2013 at 8:01 am

Chloe, it was awesome to see you as always. It was fascinating to read how your conference experience was the same yet different from mine. I hope we get to spend more time together when you get that timeshare.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I read your piece, Anissa, and it seemed like we both shared similar feelings.

I have no idea why you and I never seem to be able to get a picture together! That’s my only regret.

And you’ll be my first guest if I ever get that timeshare.
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Kelly October 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

So good to see you this past weekend- only wish we had more time to talk!
xo
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

There never is enough time, is there Kelly? It’s like a wedding where you spend all of your time with strangers and miss getting to spend time with the people you’d like to. Our paths will cross again. Thank you for commenting.
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Haralee October 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

We are a tribe!
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm

We are, aren’t we? GenFab has totally changed my feelings about being a midlife blogger. I appreciate our community more than anyone can ever know.
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Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

You definitely sound grumpy! xoJ
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Jane, I’m afraid so. Nothing a little rest won’t cure, I’m sure.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..I’m Not a Type A Parent, But I Went AnywayMy Profile

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Kristi R. October 4, 2013 at 9:13 am

Mmmmm, love Maggiano’s and Fogo de Chao.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Lunch with you was a high point!
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..I’m Not a Type A Parent, But I Went AnywayMy Profile

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Heather October 4, 2013 at 6:35 am

and then you walked down the hall talking to yourself and you were caught by Heather who laughed at you and then said ME TOO and so it was all good.

LOVE YOU.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

So embarrassing! I was sure muttering away, wasn’t I?

I love you, too, my friend.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..I’m Not a Type A Parent, But I Went AnywayMy Profile

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Pamela Mason October 4, 2013 at 4:09 am

It was a pleasure talking Romance with you too Chloe. Someone who gets it.
You come back soon. Our weather is delightful year round, as long as you know where the air conditioners are.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I feel exactly the same way. Romance is such a misunderstood genre. And devalued. It was fun to talk about with you.
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Patricia October 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Interesting Chloe. I did not know Type A was going on nor do I know much about it. Your perspective on the difference between Blogher and Type A audience was revealing. I wonder what the difference in the audience was.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Patricia, it was a much smaller and more intimate audience at Type A. We were all sitting at a table together, which lent itself more to conversation.

I think there is room for both the optimism and the cynical realism. Ageing is both wonderful and terrible. And any view that excludes the other is really only half of the story.
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Phil Hollows October 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for coming to my session, Chloe! Glad you enjoyed it. Type A was a wonderful event.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Thank you, Phil. I’m working that ebook.
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Judy October 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Chloe, we mid lifers definitely rocked at this conference. Cheers to you and the Gen Fab team.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Isn’t it so much more fun to go to these things and feel like you’re part of a tribe? I love it! And I loved getting to hang with you. Your new style is HOT!
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nicole morgan October 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm

and we hugged and we squeed and we got down lo’ girlfriend.
You truly are so very dear to my heart and I am so glad we
‘met’ so many eons ago. The South would love you, like way down South in FL – anytime. You are so very special … be you, be real and write your heart … no matter what!
Always, the world needs to hear your voice.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Back at you, my friend! You are a joy.

Although I think I stood you up last Friday!
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Jennifer Wagner October 3, 2013 at 7:52 pm

It was one of the best blogging conferences I’ve been to and it was great being able to spend time with you.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm

It was fun to hang with you, too. It’s so nice to see people in real life, and get to see them be themselves. I can’t wait until we get to do it again.
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