Group Hug for Bloggers at Midlife

I almost missed International Women’s Day on Sunday. In a frenzied blur of packing, almost missing my taxi-sharing buddy Elaine Ambrose and almost forgetting my suitcase at TSA screening, there was only so much my midlife mind could process.

It wasn’t until I had some down time at the departure gate, scrolling through my iPhone, that it dawned on me. And I realized how fitting it was that International Women’s Day coincided with the first ever Bloggers at Midlife Conference I had just attended.

Bloggers at Midlife, the conference. The first of many, I hope.

It was somewhat of a miracle that I even got there. Because the day before I was scheduled to fly, we got hit with the biggest storm of the winter.

As predicted by giddy meteorologists jonesing for a real snowstorm, the drama began Thursday morning, just after dawn. A few harmless snowflakes at first, then a steady blast of snow throughout the day into early evening.

I checked the forecast every hour. Would I get plowed out before morning? Would my flight take off as scheduled? The answer to both was yes. I was lucky; several of the conference attendees had to bail at the last minute due to canceled flights, impassable roads, etc.

I am so grateful I was able to go.

Bloggers at Midlife. My tribe.

When I started blogging four years ago I sometimes felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, floating through space without a tether. Isolated and alone.

Group Hug for Bloggers at MidlifeOh, there were other women bloggers, but virtually no one my age. The mommy bloggers were friendly, but I yearned for contact with others like me, in my stage of life. It was a lonely cyber world out there.  Until one day BlogHer featured a post I wrote about my son being in the Olympics and I tweeted the link. And I received this text.

Group Hug for Bloggers at Midlife

As it happened, I was not attending BlogHer, but Sharon and I stayed in touch and before too long she invited me to join a newly formed Facebook group specifically for midlife women bloggers.

I was lost, but now I was found.

Thanks to Sharon and her partner Anne Parris, this very same group on Facebook now boasts more than 1,000 midlife women bloggers. Their own site, Midlife Boulevard, features content written by many of these amazing writers.

I can say without reservation that being part of this group has changed my life in many wonderful ways.

I never would have dreamed of having the opportunities that came from it. Having my work published on a number of sites, becoming a Huffington Post contributor, appearing on HuffPost Live when one of my posts went viral, becoming a brand ambassador for several major brands, and most importantly, feeling the validation that I had something to offer, something worthy. Which enabled me to fulfill a lifelong dream: I completed the first draft of my novel!

So this past weekend, at the first-ever Bloggers at Midlife (BAM) conference in Nashville, I celebrated this validation with a roomful of my peers. It was a two-day group hug. And you know how good hugs can feel.

Group Hug for Bloggers at Midlife

I shared a room with my dear friend Cathy Chester and reunited with many wonderful women I have come to  know through Midlife Boulevard, among them Kim Jorgensen Gane, Judi Krell FreedmanMargaret Rutherford, Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell HarringtonConnie McLeod. It was exciting to meet others whom I had only known online, like Claudia Schmidt,  Wendy Walker CushingSusan Williams, Doreen McGettigan. And so many more. It was a pleasure to get to know so many talented, bright, accomplished women.

Group Hug for Bloggers at Midlife

photo credit: Dorothy Salvatori

 

We learned a lot about blogging, but even better, we learned about the power of friendship and support, of empowerment and sisterhood.

All culminating on International Women’s Day. That just seems right to me.

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50 Thoughts on “Group Hug for Bloggers at Midlife

  1. I love seeing that message, Helene! We’ve all come so far since those days, haven’t we! It was wonderful to spend a little time with you at BAM, and I’m so happy you were there – it meant the world to me to see my “old” blogging friends there. I hope I’ll see you again soon – there’s never enough time. xoxo

    • hbludman on March 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm said:

      Sharon, I have saved that text for sentimental reasons — I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me. Here’s to many more years of friendship!

  2. Hi Helene! It does indeed sound like it was a wonderful conference. I am sure that many of us who were unable to attend this year wished we could have joined you and hope that next year will be different. And I tend to agree that it isn’t so much what we will “learn” at the conference (although it sounds like it was great) but it is more important to connect with others who a similar path. ~Kathy

    • hbludman on March 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm said:

      Kathy, next time for sure! We missed all of you who were unable to be there. Trust me when I say you were there in spirit.

  3. Helene, so great to see you at BAM. Wish I could have spent more time with all the talented midlife women. I remember when I went to my first BlogHer and I felt like the only +30 female blogger. Nice to see we are a much larger crowd now.

    • hbludman on March 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm said:

      So great being with you, Judy, and now that the weather is warmer we have to schedule a get together.

  4. Beautiful sentiments! I love/hate reading this stuff because I had to miss it. I am going to try not to again!

  5. Elaine Ambrose on March 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm said:

    Helene, I’ll share a taxi with you any day because that means I’ll get to see you again! Wonderful blog. Let’s intend to meet again.

    • hbludman on March 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm said:

      I look forward to the next time, Elaine. And remember, we’re going to Hawaii someday!

  6. Helene, your post echoed my feelings. I’m so glad we’re part of the same tribe!! Big Hug!

  7. We are all so lucky to have met you and to be part of this wonderful, talented gathering. Helene, you have described this so beautifully!

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 8:34 am said:

      It is always wonderful being with you, Grown and Flown! Can’t wait til the next time.

  8. Your blog expresses my sentiments exactly. Look how far we’ve come since we began to blog, and look how blessed we are to have “found” this extraordinary group of women. I feel doubly blessed to not only have shared a room with you but also to share our midlife journey together. Wonderful post.

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 8:59 am said:

      It was so great being with you to share this very fun weekend, Cathy! Can’t wait until the next time.

  9. Sounds like I sure did miss a great party and learning opportunity! Hopefully there will be another gathering next year. Glad you got out after all the awful weather.

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am said:

      It would have been great to see you there, Sheryl. I miss you. We’ll have to plan a rendez-vous in NYC this spring.

  10. I love the description of BAM being a two-day group hug! I’m disappointed to have missed the hugging but hope to have my arms wrapped around and amongst the huggers at the next BAM conference.

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 9:01 am said:

      You were missed, Lisa! Next time for sure — can’t wait to give you a big hug!

  11. Your trip sounds wonderful! I so wish I had been able to attend. So many of the women you mention are role models for me. We really are a GREAT GROUP!

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 9:01 am said:

      I agree, Cheryl! Next time I hope you will be able to come. I would love to see you again.

  12. So thrilled that you had a great time and that the connections were all you hoped! So many wonderful faces in that photo! Love it!

    • hbludman on March 11, 2015 at 9:03 am said:

      But it would have been even better if your lovely face had been one of them in the photo. Next time, Ruth!

  13. Oh my, I can totally relate to how you felt. I just started blogging a year ago and while I adore mommy bloggers, I get so excited bonding with women my own age and folks I can relate to. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time. Sharon is a great gal. I adore her blog and midlifeboulevard.

  14. I have just been introduced to this amazing group of ladies vi Lois Alter Mark and I am so glad I did. The conference sounds so inspiring!

  15. The first BAM conference was everything I hoped it would be and more.
    It truly did feel like a big group hug. It was amazing meeting everyone, especially you.

  16. This is a great post and captures the essence of BAM. Thank you for braving the elements and being a part of this wonderful group of women!

  17. Right as rain! Loved seeing you & Cathy again and meeting so many others! xo Can’t wait to do it again!

  18. Helene, it was so nice to meet and talk to you! I hope we have the opportunity to get to know each other better.
    I am poised at that moment you described, just before Huffpost and brand ambassador. The wisdom and support I got at BAM might be just enough to get me started on that road!

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

    • hbludman on March 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm said:

      That wisdom and support did it for me, Alicia, and I have no doubt it will do the same for you!

  19. I’m glad you made it, and even more glad that you had a wonderful time!
    You’ve come a long way, baby! And you’re on your way to even bigger things
    in your midlife career!

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  21. Hi Helene,
    I’m so glad we got to meet in person at BAM! I hope it’s the first of many BAM conferences, and I’m also hoping that we’ll get to see each other again at other conferences (BlogHer in July, maybe a dinner one of the nights, since it’s in NYC?).

  22. Helene, I had the exact same thought about International Women’s Day: we weren’t just celebrating it! We were living it!!! Next time, I want to TALK to you more. I want to hear your story!

    • hbludman on March 13, 2015 at 9:21 am said:

      I agree, Susan! We needed much more time together. Next time for sure!

  23. Yay. So glad y’all made it to spite all that snow. It was so much fun to meet all of you. Look forward to getting to know you better through your blog.

    • hbludman on March 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm said:

      So good meeting you, Jamie, and I’m happy to have another fabulous blog to follow!

  24. The more I read recaps of the amazing weekend the more I have to pinch myself, because it almost feels like I was there! Love reading about the amazing camaraderie and support in this group of fabulous women.
    Next year!!!
    b

    • hbludman on March 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm said:

      So sorry you couldn’t make it, Barbara! But next year for sure. 🙂

  25. So well said. I, too, am happy to be part of the Midlife tribe. BAM sounds like a blast. I hope one day soon I will be able to hang out there with you.

    • hbludman on March 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm said:

      I would love it if one of your trips home coincided with a meetup, Pat.

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