I've wanted to attend FogCon since I first learned about it, maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I have trouble spending money on myself, and on the years I wasn't in the hospital, it always fell on a weekend I had to work. If I was uncomfortable spending the relatively small membership fee for something just for me, I was doubly so about taking time off work to do it. Maybe I was just afraid to go alone to a place where I would know no one. That was probably a bigger part than I'd like to admit to myself.
Lucky for me, I have the most supportive husband in the planet. When I sighed, alas, FogCon was again on a weekend I worked, he just looked at me, and said, "Then take time off." He encouraged me to buy my membership early and ask for the time off. So I did.
I only took Saturday off though, because I didn't realize how much happened on Fridays. Still I attended the panel on "Life in a Closed System" on Friday night. It was great. Saturday there were some tough choices, but I ended up going to "Decolonizing Space" about colonialism in our world and in fiction, "Science to the Rescue!" about how science and scientists are portrayed in fiction, "Sense of Place" about worldbuilding, "Creating with a Day Job" about what it says - this was super encouraging and so what I needed to hear at times even if I didn't get anything specific to use that I'm not already doing.
By that time I was pretty exhausted and there was a dinner break for 2 hours, and I decided I wouldn't come back since I had a big day of family events on Sunday. I did sneak in one last panel Sunday morning, and I was proudly on time for it even with the time change. It was "It's Never too Late to be a Writer" and again, nothing really actionable to take away, but lots of encouragement and inspiration, and I always need that.
I regret not making it to any readings, but there was just so many panels I wanted to attend.
The idea of going to a multi-day event like this alone was daunting, but since I was primarily sitting in an audience, listening and taking notes it was manageable for me. Everyone I spoke to - usually to ask a question since I was new and didn't know how things worked or where things were - was very friendly. If I can schedule things to go again next year, maybe I'll work my way up to being more social - attending the lunch banquet or visiting the Con Suite or something like that. Maybe not though. Not if I would miss an interesting talk.
I'm so happy I got to go.