It's finally live! The link is here. Watch my talk before you read on, so I don't give anything away.
What it felt like to do a TED talk
I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing and terrifying things I have ever done. I was so scared and excited when I walked out onto that stage. But the moment I started speaking, I suddenly relaxed, and started to enjoy myself. The words just kept coming, in the right order. The audience were laughing when I hoped they would, and I could hear them sigh and gasp at the 'tough' parts. Yes - this was actually happening and I had the audience in the palm of my hand. It's an incredibly powerful feeling to know that 400-odd people are hanging on your every word.
My Jar of Joy
I finished my last sentence, and anxiously waited for the response. I needn't have worried. The clapping seemed to go on forever. And then I was ushered down to the front row to hear the next speaker. I was on such a high. I wanted to do it again. But I had to wait until the interval to get any real feedback. The fab organisers had reserved my husband Dermot a seat in the second row, and I was able to sit in front of him. He gave me a quick peck on the cheek, and I saw him wipe the grit from his eye (he always cries when I speak), but that was it.
How did I do?
It was so hard watching the other speakers, not understanding what they were saying, when all I wanted to do was ask someone - "Did I do OK?". I secretly thought I had, given that I didn't make any mistakes and everyone clapped. But if there's ever a time to fish for compliments, its after doing a TEDx talk!
The interval finally came, and Dermot got me a much needed glass of prosecco. He also told me that he'd managed to secure one of the TEDx origami pieces for us to smuggle home later that evening. What a man :)
Then I found Ross and Nico who told me I was amazing, and I started to relax and enjoy myself. It was quite overwhelming have all these people come up and talk to me, and it was emotionally hard as many of them shared stories of their own relatives with cancer. But I felt honoured to have been able to reach out and touch so many people.
Jar of Joy
The best bit of all was that people started to fill the Jar of Joy! I was delighted - they had actually listened to what I'd said and had been inspired to act. At the start of the second half, Jonathan read out some of the cards, and it was such a special moment. It felt like this audience of strangers had connected as a whole, and I'd been the one to make it happen.
The second half flew by, and then tiredness kicked in. It was nearly midnight, and all the energy and adrenaline that had kept me going suddenly ran out, and it was time to go home. Dermot and I stopped at a bar for another glass of bubbly, and then found a wee shop selling ice-cream, so we walked back to our hotel with a huge waffle cone each.
Back to reality
Dermot was up at the crack of dawn to catch an early flight home, as he was working all weekend. I went to meet all the other speakers and the rest of the TEDx team for breakfast, which was just what I needed. A chance to talk to everyone I didn't meet the night before, and to relive the experience. They had also brought all the cards form the Jar of Joy, and I've listed them below. It feels slightly wrong to be reading about other people's happiness, as if you're prying in their lives, but it also gives me such a buzz to read about the simple things in life that are worth remembering. And if you do read them all, you should get a real 'Awwww' moment.
I hope I've inspired one or two of you to start your own jar of joy. Please let me know if you do.
Jar of Joy from TEDx Stuttgart
1. The joy of riding into the sunset 2. Spontaneous blind date in Barcelona where I met my matching partner 3. Spending time with my niece 4. Touching talk from Liz O'Riordan 5. For my birthday I was given champagne and the entire collection of 'Tintin' (an old favourite) 6. After 14 years she said "Yes" 7. To have my whole family healthy and happy together for a whole summer - absolute bliss 8. The moment when I sat on the sofa with my perfect boyfriend and my shy cat joined us for the first time 9. Coffee at work every day 10. Realising that leaving the girl is not the end of the world 11. Meeting my kids for the first time in 18 years (I know it sounds crazy) 12. I met a beautiful young woman 13. Vacation with the family - and lots of time! 14. Meeting all my friends from university to have a great weekend together 15. Picnic with my girlfriend at a lake with homemade ice tea 16. Wonderful sunrise at the seaside 17. Love the way you are 18. Getting my Bachelors degree right and finishing university successful 19. It's like a monkey cage inside! 20. I found a cool topic for my Bachelor thesis 21. Finally being able to spend lots of time with Samira again 22. My family - they've been a big support 23. Making it to TEDx on time 24. Getting to TEDx without a traffic jam 25. That Kata came with me today to TEDx 26. To be at TEDx with my best friend and new found friend who sold me the tickets on Facebook and happens to be my neighbour! Here's to the past, present and future! 27. Still having sunshine on Thursday evening and dancing in the streets 28. Not getting lost on the way to TEDx (that was mine) 29. Arriving safely despite a broken down car 30. My friend walking into the grocery store and lending me money to buy my groceries after I forgot my wallet 31. Finished my Bachelor degree 32. Eating good food 33. Spending time with friends 34. Scored a goal whilst playing soccer 35. Waking up beside my wife 36. My son calling me Papa 37. I just met her 38. Met a friend this evening who I haven't seen for half a year 39. My grandfather (aged 89) giving me a call 40. Great sex with my boyfriend 41. So inspiring listening to you and your story as we (also) lost a family member to cancer 42. The first glass of water in the morning 43. My brother is back safe and my Grandmother is back from hospital 44. Swimming in the Meditteranean sea - loved it! 45. Boyfriend came back after 9 months abroad 46. Having a cup of coffee and an ice-cream with colleagues at 3pm 47. Happy that you have coped with cancer and that you share your experiences with us. Thank you 48. Nice trip to the Alps with my wife enjoying the beautiful landscape 49. Free drink token at TEDx 50. Yesterday I gave a talk and people learned so much that they discussed it in groups for 1 1/2 hours. That was great! 51. Celebrating our first wedding anniversary - still happily in love 52. Talking on the phone with Jutta 53. Being almost fit and in shape after an accident 54. My boyfriend asked me to marry him after 14 years - I said "Yes" 55. A wonderful sunny summer afternoon with my old parents and my aunt 56. Discussing my work with Ms Kreder 57. I found the perfect wall colour and got a really good hug 58. A beautiful evening with the best woman on earth 59. Finding inspiration and motivation to continue looking for my way and to share it with my husband 60. Getting a drink with old friends 61. Seeing my girlfriend again after a long time apart 62. I had a beautiful warm evening, having dinner with lovely people 63. Such a great feeling after years of stress: first time I realised what it's like to be bored. Great feeling 64. Start of TEDx 65. I found the car that I needed to pick up for my brother's wedding! 66. Videos of my daughter (3 yrs) when she is away on vacation 67. Amazing talks and speakers 68. Getting my Dad up and running a What's app to stay in touch! 69. After 3 years the man I love allowed me to see his children for the first time 70. I realised that it is OK to say 'no' 71. Rescuing a lizard from my apartment!! Set him free 72. My husband loves my crabby, scratchy, not-really-friendly elderly cat! 73. I spent time with my girlfriend 74. Kudos from a work colleague 75. Tonight, finally, I received advice on how to 'help' a friend / family member who's not doing well. Thanks Liz! 76. Fresh cappucino 77. Kissing Fran 78. A spontaneous dinner with a good friend 79. Drinking water with Bianca at TEDx 80. Understanding the purpose of life 81. Travelling to India with my sister 82. Feeling the sun on my skin at the pool 83. Our daughter 84. Having made the experience of being able to confront one of my deepest fears and still being able to cope in that situation. This day made my day great. Thank you for your wonderful talk! 85. Dinner with my love 86. Spent a lot of time with friends this week 87. Seeing and listening to extraordinary and inspiring presentations like yours 88. Becoming an aunt for the 3rd time 89. I had a really delicious breakfast with a great person in Frankriech 90. Moving from Stuttgart to Karlsruke 91. That moment when a wave of the Atlantic Ocean flow over me and flows all the daily stress out of my brain.