Sure youth is great. Our culture celebrates youth both straight and queer. In lesbian land, the liberty that younger women experience, their events and celebrations take place everywhere now. At that age, in my life, there was nothing public going on. And my life was shaped by that experience in so many ways.
But I'm a boomer. No getting around it. My years alive on this planet are a real thing while the rest of me isn't sure age means anything anymore. I've been on the road off and on with my camper van and The Gay Girl Love Tour for over a year now. The Love Tour is my way of helping lesbians change the way they date and find that great soul mate experience. It's also been my own personal pilgrimage in lessons about life and spirit.
I've logged about 40,000 miles, done over 20 workshops in as any cities and seen a lot of the USA. I've learned to pack lighter, live with less, deal with long stretches of solitude while driving thousands of miles, come up with ways to stay more fit and gain less weight from all of it and deepened my spiritual practices. It was that or just go plain nuts. This has not been the joy ride I anticipated but its been so much more actually.
That's about both the tour and what happens to a body as it grows older. Life requires more attention. Living well requires awareness and the Love Tour has been a teacher of some of the newest deeper truths I've acquired as a boomer.
I left Maine on September 4th to head to Guerneville, CA for Women's Weekend 2.0 Festival. I arrived 8 days later exhausted and emotionally spent from spending too much time feasting on a fear ball in my stomach. Look even at my age, I'm still often a ball of doubt and fear that creates a festival of confusion in my emotions.
Add that to one of our national past times, the sport of comparison, and anyone can end up feeling like a loser. There are so many lessons in life and once in a while I think I've really conquered a few of them. Then life shows up to laugh WITH me as I realize that I'm always learning again just more deeply.
I made it to Guerneville and survived an exhausting weekend of meeting women, remembering names, holding emotions in check along with dancing, eating, drinking and hanging out with a few hundred mostly boomer lesbians at a great musical and comedy event in the redwoods of Northern California.
Today as I write, I'm sitting in Woodcat Cafe in Echo Park in Los Angeles. I drove down to this area yesterday from San Francisco to attend a special event put on by my friend Kute Blackson. The 100 plus beautiful people who attended were mostly younger and definitely straight but it was delightful to see a few wise women and men at this sweet spiritual celebration of life. A bliss-filled party with an intention to infuse love into our beings through dance and celebration. I left feeling changed and open hearted in a new way. Hot, cramped, dripping sweat dancing went on for hours. I stayed until I just couldn't keep my eyes open and left as those 20 and 30 somethings started to really crank up their celebration. I was full. I hope they left feeling as full.
I spent the night in my camper van parked on Sunset Boulevard just a few yards away from Kute's front door. It was the perfect completion to a perfect day. I entered into my camper van not seeing it as less, small or a sign of what hasn't worked out in my life but as the entry into a new spiritual understanding of both my existence and that of all of us. Young, old, wise, foolish, funny, serious, able, other abled and the gifts of life that pass through our hands often with out us ever really understanding the gift.
This morning I got up, put the van in drive and looked for a coffee shop and here I am sitting at Woodcat Coffee Bar. A brand new little coffee shop with enthusiastic owners. A couple in their 30s who have put their all into creating their dream. I get it. Every last penny and ounce of energy; skipping play, fun and friends for months on end they have finally opened up and now hope for the best. And I certainly wish it for them.
I'm constantly meeting dreamers, schemers and creatives who want to make a difference. And being a boomer lesbian, I meet many women like myself. So along with Kute, the Woodcat Coffee Shop owners Saadat and Janine Awan, I've connected with one of my own and found a similiar spirit and soul in Robin Lowey of Epochalips.com. She's on a mission to reach lesbians over 40 with an online magazine that speaks to us and makes us feel like we've come home.
I certainly found it to be that. The women that write for her are smart and experienced about life. And Robin is slowly and effectively building a following of writers and readers. I met Robin at a party that was at Meredith Baxter's house. That Meredith we knew as Elise Keaton in Family Ties, who came out a few years back and is now married to her partner Nancy and is still making a name as an accomplished actor.
I was invited to attend by my friend Anne Bennett while in California earlier this summer with the Gay Girl Love Tour. Now as a girl from Maine, of course I thought, damn this will be fun. And yes it was. I met the hosts and enjoyed great live music, a yummy atmosphere and being surrounded by a crowd of lovely women.
I met Robin at this event. The live music was off the charts great for dancing but nobody was. Robin was standing there... tall, blonde and very good looking. She turned, looked at me and said, why isn't anyone dancing? Well that was the invitation I needed. I said, well hell let's dance. And off we went...
It's a funny juxtaposition to the party I attended in LA last night. There, the dancing was off the chart. Everyone came expecting to have a night of dancing and release orchestrated by Kute. it was fun, rowdy and full of easy connection and joy. And let me add, there was no alcohol served at last night's event. And then, here are Robin and I, the only women dancing at this beautiful party. Oh well, it was everyone else's loss; Robin and I agreed on that. We upped our fun factor by shaking our booties.
I think that's part of the spirit of being an entrepreneur and a creative person. Step outside the box. Everyone else can sit around in their box but damn that's no fun and I'm too old to play safe all the time.
And that's Robin to a tee. She's about living life outside the box.
Robin's own journey as it continues to play out has contained the usual twists and turns of the roller coaster of life. She started out living the dream we've all been raised to go after... she was was married to a lovely woman for 27 years. Two adorable kids--beautiful home--great career--the whole package. Suddenly at age 50 everything changed. Her marriage broke up, she got laid off and then sold their home. Her kids are mostly grown. She had no choice but to completely start over. This is an echo of my own life story and one reason why I feel so easily connected to Robin.
Now I'll also add she's a surfer. And pretty good at it too. It's her spiritual practice and the place she goes to find peace and connection with what's good about life.
She literally had no idea who she was outside of being a mother, long term partner, and career woman. In order to survive, she needed to focus on something new. She wanted to give back, and find her community again.
As I got to know her and we talked about epochalips.com, she said..."Smart Lesbian Commentary was the one thing I couldn't NOT do. It just burst out of me! All of a sudden it was obvious."
She realized she had connections with many interesting lesbians from all different walks of life including celebrities, activists, business women, adventurers, athletes, musicians, psychologists, comedians, filmmakers, artists and literary types.
So she started to call on them to contribute their stories. She went on a grassroots campaign with booths at every festival and pride event she could get into for miles around. One by one, she built her email list to nearly 5000 names and started to deliver a monthly eMagazine that highlights everything new on the site. She's cultivated a major local, national and international following. And she adds more interesting writers every day.
So what's the point of her story versus my story versus the Millenials I've been hanging out with lately. With all the changes going on, boomer women are still marginalized and it takes courage to stand up and say, "dammit, I'm not taking this anymore. I'm doing something to make a difference because its needed!"
As we age we have choices. We can think life is handing us a shit sandwich, give up and take it or we can say age is just a number. As boomer lesbians we are no less able to change the world than that room full of raging 30 years olds I spent the night dancing with at Kute's party.
In the words of Mary Oliver... What oh what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life? Create something, love it, grow it and BE the change you want to see in the world.
Robin inspires me. Kute inspires me. Saadat and Janine inspire me. Who inspires you?