Conferences are both enjoyable and exhausting. Some thrive in constantly being “on.” I find them exhausting. Not that I don’t enjoy the social interaction, the intellectual stimulation, and the rekindling of old and new friendships. I do find these occasions invigorating, within limits. But normally I’ll reach a point where I need to recharge in solitude, or at least relative calm.
Sometimes, like on a recent trip to Vancouver, I’ll find a quiet out-of-the-way place to open up the laptop and write…or stare off into the blue sky and azure waters, imbibing their energy into my soul.
Other times I’ve been known to sit in a sidewalk cafe, a glass of wine or single-malt scotch in hand, people watching as they glide about their business.
At no time does this feel lonely. People skitter along, sometimes engaging, sometimes simply smiling as we exchange glances but no verbal or physical contact, sometimes continuing on oblivious to the energy I’ve sipped from their presence. My world extends beyond me on terms that enhance, not sap, my energy.
Like a smart phone, a short time absorbing new life is enough to fire back up and continue on. Back to a world constantly being shaken, and yet stirred by the power of friendships and the forceful bonds of human interaction.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.