This past week was a whirlwind. Last Sunday, after spending an entire day and night Saturday volunteering for a school fundraiser, I awoke at the crack of dawn and flew to Washington, D.C. for a work-related trip. I volunteer on the executive board of a state education organization and our mission in D.C. was to advocate for additional funding for educational opportunity programs for low-income students. This required several days of intensive training in governmental relations to prepare us for meeting with our state legislators’ education aides. This was my second time attending this event, but there’s always more to learn.
After spending each day in trainings, all I wanted to do was have a nice, but quick, dinner and head back to the hotel room to veg out. My young colleagues had other ideas. They wanted to explore our nation’s Capitol City at night, see the monuments, dine out and drink lots and lots of Sangria.
Once upon a time I would have gladly joined them. Though they were kind and courteous enough to ask some of us older folks if we wanted to join in, none of us did. We were tired, and so we sent them on their way.
I for one was relieved to have the hotel room to myself while my 23 year old roommate hit the town. After training all day, I couldn’t have stayed awake to walk the streets of D.C. if you’d paid me to. Having a 23 year old roommate worked out well for both of us. I got the room to myself at night. In the mornings, I awoke early, showered and dressed while she slept, and slipped out for coffee, which allowed her to have the room to herself for a while. She’s already tapped me to share a room at our next event.
Then came the day of the legislative visits. This is where those of us who’ve been around the block a few times perked up and took the lead. There is much to be said for professional and life experience when dealing with the folks on Capitol Hill. We knew what to say, how to say it, and how and when to follow up. I think our younger colleagues developed a new appreciation for us.
The bottom line is, young or old, we each have something to teach and offer the other. Youthful energy and enthusiasm merged with professional experience and polishing to create an amazing 10 person team that day.
Now I’m back home, dealing with a husband who is just getting over the flu and a son who is showing symptoms of it. I’m praying I don’t get it and am bleaching the house like crazy in an attempt to kill any germs. I returned to a messy house, an empty refrigerator, and bills that needed paying. Not to mention I dove right back into my job, even as my young colleague took off a half day to recoup from D.C.
Is it any wonder we older folks tire more easily?