I have been a fan of TED Talks for years. I probably was turned on to TED talks by my younger son Cris, who is really good about keeping me up-to-date with social culture and YouTube and internet postings.
What is TED? I could tell you the TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and their catch phrase is “Ideas worth sharing.” I could tell you there are a non-profit corporation that hopes to make the world a better place through 18 minute talks (TED Talks) on technology , entertainment and design.
Or I could just post a link to their own explanation:
Or I could just post a link to their 20 most popular talks:
TED Talks have made me think, have made me shed a tear, have made me feel optimistic about the state of the world, have touched me profoundly and have made me want to be a better person.
That being said, there are others that made me think, “Well, they can’t all be winners.” These are few and far between.
I get an email every few days telling me that a new TED Talk is available for me to watch. And I subscribe to the pod casts of the TED Talk Show broadcast on NPR.
I was looking at one of the TED Talks that arrived in my email, when I saw a button that said “Want to Attend TEDWomen 2015?”
Well, hell, yeah, I thought, though I was also thinking, this is too expensive for me to even think about it.
I clicked the button and though all the $3,500 subscriptions to attend the Talks and see the speakers in person were taken, there were places in the screening room where the speakers would be simulcast. That was available for a little over $1000.
I had not celebrated my retirement in any significant way with a big trip or a new tattoo or a piece of jewelry. This would be my gift from me to me.
My imaginary number was $3,000. I could afford $3,000 without feeling I was endangering my retirement.
There was another consideration. How to get there?
I had a friend who said she wanted to drive cross country. Though I had not wanted to drive cross country with her because her itinerary was to hit every presidential library she could (boring), and also I had been cross country with my motorcycle club already (how do you top that?), I thought if we had one week to get there and one week back, with a week in Monterey, CA for me and for my friend, a week with her daughter who was a Dr. in Stanford, and we shared expenses, I could do this. And make my friend’s bucket list one item shorter. But only if we shared expenses; because while NJ gas prices were still under $3.00 a gallon, the rest of the country was terribly expensive.
Did I mention we only had two weeks to decide?
It was around the first week in May when I saw the postings and the Conference was May 27th through the 29th. And I wanted a couple of days to tour Monterey, thinking I would probably never get there again.
Unfortunately my friend had a health crisis and without her, driving was not a viable alternative.
Did I mention I had to fill out a questionnaire, give two character witnesses and write an essay about my TED moment in order to be considered as an audience member? To sit in front of a screen and not in the presence of the speakers? And to pay $1250 for the privilege? And I was looking forward to it!!!
I asked the former President of the American Library Association and the current Executive Director of the New Jersey Library Association to be my references. They agreed.
I wrote about how I refused to give up a patron’s borrowing record to the police without a subpoena and became a temporary national cause celeb.
I was accepted, and I was on my way!