I hereby give my own mini standing ovation to all the event planners out there. You are sorely under-appreciated. Why is that, all you non-event planners might ask?
First there are the lists. Lists of attendees, rsvp’s, items needed, payments due. And then the double checking of lists and is there enough space, are there enough chairs, will it be too hot or too cold and did the books get ordered on time??
As the event nears, the dreams begin. Dreams that 30 minutes before the scheduled start time all the chairs have disappeared as has the sound system. Dreams that upon arrival, someone has decided that the chairs would look prettier arranged in the shape of a diamond, with a huge cooler of soft drinks in the middle that people can get up and help themselves to anytime they want during the speeches.
Of course, in the end, it all went off without a hitch. Or almost.
The Evening with Michael Ellsberg (& special guest Blake Boles) was fantastic. The chairs were full (and not in a diamond shape), the kids were occupied in the next room, the microphones functioned and no one was too hot or too cold. I introduced Michael and though – as is my tendency – I did go “off script”, it was well-received. Michael spoke about the types of knowledge that people need for success in life and how almost always that knowledge is not found in schools. He used Maya and her YouTube channel and the squishies she sells as an example. He made a point of saying that while she has 600 subscribers, he only has 60. It was fantastic. Blake told how he got involved in the wacky wonderful world of unschooling and talked a bit about his new book, coming out in June. He pointed out that a lot of what people love about college are things you can get without actually attending college. Like community. Want the college community experience? Move to a college town and hang out with all the students. All the fun with none of the debt!
By the way, in case you’ve been living on Mars for the past six months, not reading my blog, Michael Ellsberg is the author of “Education of Millionaires: It’s not what you think and it’s not too late”. Blake Boles’ new book, available in June, is titled “Better Than College: How to build a successful life without a four year degree.”
Read them both for a kind of one-two punch on avoiding the money pit that college often becomes, and instead create a fulfilling successful life and career for yourself.
After they spoke, Michael did a Q&A and then both he and Blake hung around and chatted, and Michael signed copies of his book. It was better than I could have hoped.
Except (and here’s where the one hitch came into play) we were in a taxi on our way back to our apartment when I realized I had completely forgotten to take any photos or have anyone else take them! You have no idea how annoying this was for me. I had my camera with me – had even taken it out of my bag and placed it on my chair – and then forgot to use it. This is how you know that event planning is full of a million details.
I never forget the photos.
So, bummer. No photos of Blake and Michael. No photo of me with Blake and Michael. No photos of friends in the crowd. No way to hit rewind and remember to take the photos.
Still, it was a pretty great evening.
And as a major consolation prize, we had the honor and fun of hosting Blake and his girlfriend Brenna Wednesday and Thursday night. They crashed in Ben’s room and Ben camped out with Maya. We loved having them here. We hooked Brenna on “The Hunger Games”, which she hadn’t read but which she finished in less than 24 hours after borrowing it from Maya yesterday. We introduced Blake and Brenna to Wafels & Dinges, which they agreed were the best Belgian waffles on the planet (because they really, really are). Blake played many rounds of Mario Kart with Ben and we all went to dinner last night. Blake & Brenna & I talked unschooling and Not Back to School Camp and advocacy. Joshua and Blake talked Argentina. Today when they left, we were all sad to see them go.
And did I mention Blake & Brenna had coffee yesterday with Seth Godin?! Color me jealous!
Anyway, since I didn’t get any photos at Wednesday’s event, I decided I couldn’t make the same mistake twice. I think this one is pretty good compensation, don’t you?
So this is what I learned from the past five days:
Event planners? You guys are unsung heroes.
Michael Ellsberg? You are an amazing speaker and I am in awe of your ability to speak with barely any notes and not go wildly off track. And of course I love the message. I still can’t quite believe you chose me to work with you as an apprentice. How lucky am I?
Blake Boles & Brenna McBroom are very cool people with whom I could easily spend more time. Can’t wait for Blake’s book to come out so that everyone can read it and apply it, and am excited now for Maya to attend Not Back to School Camp when she is 13, because Blake and Brenna both volunteer as counselors there. (Not sure if that’s the official title, but whatever.) Oh and also, Brenna makes INCREDIBLE pottery which she sells on her Etsy shop and which you can see here.
Finally, and this is not something that I learned, but instead was reminded again that my family and friends are the best. They were unfailing in their support, love and praise.
What a week.