There are two moments in my life when I vividly remember feeling like a real adult. This could go to a bad place, but I'll keep it on track.
First is when I went away to college. I had the opportunity to attend Emerson College which is an exceptional communications school, but is only 20 minutes from my childhood home. The other option was Ithaca College, which has an equally impressive communications school, but was over 6 hours away from home....where no one knew me....where only one other person from my high school was attending....where I could be anyone I wanted to be.
Most popular? Sure! Prom Queen? You bet! Played 10 sports and ran for student council? Absolutely! Had every lead in every drama production? Now we're talking!
But in reality, those little "mistruths" would catch up with me in college where people actually get to know you over time, so I stuck to the facts!
Which brings us to Hotel Bars! The other time I remember feeling like an adult was my first solo business trip sometime around 1995! Or 1994. Or 1996. Lord, I can't remember the year. Point is, whenever I walk into a hotel bar now, I relax. I feel grown up, but not in the "I'm getting old" way but in the "I can be anything I want to be" way. I'm taken back to an exciting time when I was figuring out my path and my goals.
Plus, they are always so clean - the bar stools lined up, the little bowls of crunchy snacks, the clean tables with their little tealights lit. In a hotel bar, not a single person cares if you are..well...a single person. Tables of 1 are everywhere and it is perfectly okay to spend the whole time with your head down, immersed in a book, a smart phone, a lap top or a newspaper. Bartenders offer friendly banter, and if you're lucky, some great insight to the area or a "No way!" story about a past patron.
People there don't know if I have 2 kids or 9 (could you imagine??!!), if I'm local or from far away and if I choose to engage in a conversation with someone nearby, it could turn into a business lead, funny story or wasted moment. But who cares! You're in a swanky hotel bar!
I promise I don't spend hours trolling the local hotels pretending to be someone I'm not, but as I was building my career that occasional business trip out of town helped me to build a little confidence and a lot of independence. And when this Mom of 2 had to drop off a PTO flyer the other day to a hotel restaurant and was directed to the hotel bar to find the manager, let's just say I wasn't a Mom of 2 for a moment but a 20-something excited about my first business trip! Man I love hotel bars. Wanna go for a drink?