When does it stop

stripedI didn’t mean to suddenly disappear for a few weeks, but I’m feeling as if I’m on a merry-go-round in some alternate, hellish universe and wondering when it’ll stop and I can get back to reality.

Work has been very busy for me and two weeks ago I went on a conference trip. This was my first ever work trip of this kind and I’ve learned several things:

  1. I really need a roller suitcase of some sort: I thought I was being thrifty by using my ’80s floral tapestry overnight bag (it was part of a 3 piece luggage set I got when I was younger). I packed it full and thought: oh it’s not that heavy and it’s not as if I’ll be carrying it for long. Cue scene to last day of conference and we had a one-mile long walk from the hotel to the conference hall despite the buildings being next to each other. The hall we were located in was at the complete opposite side of the most ginormous convention center I’ve ever seen. I even checked it on my fitbit – it was almost exactly one mile from the lobby in the hotel to the hall. It was fine when I was just walking it without luggage for most of the trip, but I was incredibly sore the day we left since we checked out and towed luggage with us to the show before leaving.
  2. I did not pack nearly enough casual clothes: and by the same token I packed too many business clothes. During the day it was all suits and dressed up, but even though we were going to super fancy and expensive restaurants at night – everyone was in casual wear. I needed more layers and options. Also, what I think may look good for business attire in my head does not always pan out. I need to do some serious outfit reassessments and I need to take more comfortable shoes.
  3. It’s OK to say no to social arrangements. The conference was in New Orleans and I’d heard horror stories from the other sales members about being blitzed out drunk with clients at bars and restaurants, wandering all around Bourbon St. during previous trips. I learned a long time ago not to mix these things – EVER. I knew that if I had arrangements with a client then fine, I’d go out but I refused to be coerced into drinking more than I want. Luckily, this conference was pretty lack luster in that department. We had reservations at restaurants for each night we were there, but not always with clients. I indulged in the company only dinner the first night, Wednesday, and then attended a fellow sales client dinner the next. By Friday, I was sick of eating. It was like that sickening feeling of always eating out when on vacation and I just want to eat normal little things instead of grandiose meals (that last 3 hours – omg – that was the worst part!). Friday we didn’t have any client dinners lined up, but still had a reservation (they are reserved weeks in advance to ensure we get the times we want to take people out). After that, the sales guys wanted to hit up Bourbon St – literally the night when all hell breaks loose because Saturday began the week long festival of Mardi Gras. No. Thank you. I’m not against going out and enjoying such things, but after the past two nights of next to no sleep, being food-ed out and simply exhausted mentally from always being “on” I bowed out entirely of that night. I stayed in, went to a little cafe in the hotel and bought a sandwich that I could barely finish for dinner, crawled into bed and played some games before turning in early. It was absolutely necessary ME time and I don’t regret missing out on seeing a bunch of crazy drunks in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd for the sake of being able to say: been there, done that. No FOMO for me in the slightest. I was completely refreshed the last day of the conference, which really benefited me because we not only had to be working the booth, but also tearing down the booth and then trekking back home over two slightly delayed flights. I walked in the door at home a minute before midnight. That was also on a Saturday, so Sunday was spent in travel/trip hangover mode.
  4. It’s very boring and lonely when you have nothing in common with the people you travel with. Since this was a smaller conference and I didn’t have any client arrangements, the booth became the lonely bastion of boredom and awkwardness. Of course I had to be “on” in case someone came by, but at the same time topics to hash over with my coworkers ran out within the first half of the first day. By the last day it felt oppressive and we paced around, waiting for the clock to strike the exact minute we could start booth tear-down. The only thing that saved our dinner the first night from being too boring was one coworker drinking so much he started waxing philosophical about our careers and the rest of us nodding and smiling at the show. On that same note, I learned a lot I really didn’t need to know about and once that bridge has been crossed, it’s not easy to go back over and pretend like certain views don’t bother me. Traveling with family and/or friends can have those comfortable silences and I’ve experienced those plenty. They’ve never bothered me because I feel secure with those people. This trip felt like a constant waiting room at the DMV where you never knew who was going to say what and when and really wish everyone stay quiet or go away.

Last week – after my one day of weekend/rest – I was bowled over by the amount of work I had to do. By Tuesday night I was feeling horrible and Wednesday morning I woke up with a full blown sinus infection. Luckily, it snowed that day and I’d told my boss I wouldn’t be coming in. Even though I worked all day from home, I wouldn’t have gone in to work anyway due to how awful I felt. Thursday I dragged myself in, still trudging along to get stuff finished, but left early. Friday I had a sinus pressure headache so bad I gave up and called out sick. I thought I’d work from home, but I felt like I was in a fog all day and couldn’t even muster the strength to sit at my computer and focus on stuff I could care less about.

I lived in that haze until late Sunday and today I was back at it again at work. By 1 pm though my tiny bit of recovery energy petered out and I’m dragging now. My boss wants to me to go with him to a client meeting tomorrow but I may tell him no because I don’t want to be hacking up a lung there and I’ve got way too much work I’m still catching up on.

Outfit photo is from today. I’d planned on going out to possibly get a blazer to have another business attire option for conferences, but my optimism at the beginning of the day turned to dread after I started to relapse.

The bad news is two weeks from tomorrow I get to do it all over again and go to another conference. I really hope I don’t get sick again afterwards. I don’t know if I got sick from traveling or if I managed to catch whatever plague is making the rounds in the office.

Lastly, here’s a photo of Yuki, because this post needs something cute after me writing about all the doom and gloom work has been lately.


1 thought on “When does it stop”

  1. I believe that getting sick is a way for our body/brain to help us make things stop for a little bit, and put some care into ourselves. And to nudge us to say no if there is an occasion to do so. Hope things start getting better, and less overwhelming for you.


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