I've had a busy week. Like I'm sure most of you have. Lots of evening events, client training, and outside of the office meetings and workshops, which can be great for networking and learning, but pull me away from actual grants and tasks I need to accomplish at the office. Not to mention the cramming of nonprofit finance and strategic assessment info into my little brain. Numbers and charts of accounts and spreadsheet fields are floating around in my head like Tetris pieces. Clearly I'm looking forward to the weekend, except I have more training for my volunteer work tomorrow. I'm not complaining. I actually love everything I'm doing, but I think I need to schedule some pajama time for next weekend. You know those weekend days when you don't shower, stay in your pjs until at least 5pm when you finally decide to go grab dinner or see a movie or talk to other people in person? I need a pajama day.
So today as I sat trying to stay focused during a 1/2 day seminar, I searched for ways to amuse myself while still paying a modicum of attention to the speakers. So I started watching people, and investigating their hair and clothing choices, and whether they were still awake or not (about half way through the morning one gentleman at our table was fast asleep, until his wife leaned over and pinched him suspiciously close to his nipple, he did not fall asleep again.) And I came up with several conclusions about the sample of nonprofit professionals and founders at this particular meeting. Here they are in no particular order:
The hair bow and headband are still fashionable and acceptable choices when you are over 50, especially if either one is floral.
Bringing your knitting to a seminar is a professional and appropriate choice, particularly if it is neon colored yarn and you make a point to laugh loudly when no one else is laughing, thereby bringing all of the attention in the room to you and your knitting needles and your witchy laugh.
Mustaches on women are distracting, especially if you are standing very close to them. We had a 5 minute conversation and I honestly tried to not stare at her mustache. Honestly. This was not blonde peach fuzz. I could not ignore it. So I nodded politely and smiled, with my eye constantly locked on her twitching mustache. She (the lady not the mustache) actually asked me a question at one point and I had to ask her to repeat it, that is how distracted I was by the full and dark little caterpillar residing on her top lip.
Basement banquet rooms feel like damp, carpeted, dimly lit dungeons. It could have been midnight or noon, we would have had no idea.
That powerpoint needed some cheesy clip art, maybe some animation, well, never mind, there it is.
But easily the best thing that I noticed today as I scanned the room, was the enormous number of compassionate and engaged people who just want to make a difference in their communities. They have identified a problem and they have the diligence and determination, the willpower and guts to say, I'm going to try to fix that problem. "I want to feed hungry children." "I want to bring more art to more people." "I want to create safe places for women in crisis." "I want to empower my church community to get more involved locally." These are all the types of statements I heard today. We nonprofit folks may not be the wealthiest or the most fashion conscious, but we are some of the kindest, passionate, most creative, committed people around. I'm happy to be in their company. Though I will probably avoid the hair bows.