Powerful Reminder of Staying Present

When I found out that my favorite author was coming to San Francisco for a lecture to promote her new book, I was thrilled. I read her first book 17 years ago and I've been her ardent fan since.  She is a class act. I looked up to her; I admired her outspoken courage and fierce boldness. 

Since she was a role model to me, I dreamt that I would get twenty minutes with her where I would have a conversation about her work for my podcast.  This event would be the perfect chance to make this ask.  I counted the days leading up to it.

On the day of the lecture, I forgot to bring my copy of her new book.  When I found out that she would be signing books afterwards, I got hopeful that I could get my golden opportunity and make the request.  So I decided that I would purchase another copy of her book.

The book sale was closed ten minutes before the lecture would begin.  I left the lecture 40 minutes early so that I could quickly buy a new copy of her book and be first in line to get her autograph.  I paced back and forth waiting for the lecture to end, even coming close to the auditorium door, attempting to eavesdrop at the rest of her talk.  All of the ushers knew why I was in line and they wished me luck.  I planned the whole conversation in my head and how I'd make the request. 

I was indeed first in line.  I was so excited, I had an adrenaline rush.  Everyone rushed out of the auditorium hurriedly so that they can get their spot.

I was nervous when she came in and took her seat at the table.  I mustered the courage, came up to her, told her that I was her biggest fan and that I would love to schedule twenty minutes with her for a conversation in my podcast.  I had my contact information in hand, just in case. 

She said, "No, it's not possible" and said "Next".  I felt like the wind just pushed me out of line.  And that was it. It was over.

That moment felt like a dream crashing into pieces.  I was so bummed.  Rejection feels yucky. Especially from someone you put on a pedestal. 

After some reflection, I understood a new lesson.  I was so focused on the end goal that I forgot to enjoy the moment and feel the joy of just being there in the same room as her.  I was so intent on being first in line that I missed half of the program. 

This experience taught me the importance of radical presence.  "Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments".  It was a reminder to live in the moment fully and to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination.

In the end, my favorite author still managed to teach me a valuable lesson.

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Aliya Janjua