BlogHer, the world’s largest blogging conference for women was a remarkable event to be a part of. 5000 bloggers there equaled 93 million followers and Midlife Bloggers was among the most mentioned topics. I kept trying to be profound while attempting to write this and then I’d just start laughing thinking about all the adventures I had. I started writing and then kept writing. This post got real long, it’s turned into a novella, so I’ve decided to break it down into three chapters. I learned blogs shouldn’t be as long as a novella. This is Chapter 1 of 3.
I started blogging last summer. A few women I sincerely respect told me I needed to go to BlogHer. I saw some buzz on the Generation Fabulous Facebook page and decided on the last day of the early bird special in January to sign up. Virginia Sullivan, First Class Woman and I had met in the virtual world and only know each other through this fabulous blogging group we’re a part of. (I learned that’s how you introduce yourself at BlogHer; your name, your blog name and a very quick sentence that says everything about who you are and then you hand out your card.) We were both looking for roomies. Two other women decided not to attend after agreeing to room with me, so the universe kindly put Virginia and I together.
I wasn’t concerned with rooming with someone I didn’t know. She was from wine country, so I figured, hey, I bet she’ll at least have a glass of wine with me. We arrived at the hotel within 30 minutes of each other and immediately agreed to get out and walk Chicago on that beautiful, cool day. It was my first visit to the windy city and it is beautiful. Our hotel was within sight of the blue waters of Lake Michigan. We found an outdoor café and by the end of lunch we had become instant friends. We’re both extroverts, view life from the same lens, are the same age, empty nesters, happy in our lives, we’ve been blogging around the same amount of time, both have corporate day jobs and were newbies at BlogHer. And yes, she liked that occasional glass of wine too.
After a brief adventure of “where did Connie lose her glasses”, we made it over to the exhibit hall, which was Brand Mecca, all the vendors wanting to be in fellowship with you. All had fun, clever ways to interact, sample their product, tweet their message out and were eager to have real conversations with you.
Virginia and I are both talkers. We whispered to each other as we walked past the AARP booth that we were a bit in denial about the age thing and that we put their direct mail in the trash. We couldn’t help ourselves and started talking to them anyway, we even confessed our ageist attitude. They laughed and said everyone throws their mail away. But they weren’t only about people in retirement homes; they were also for working women like us who had to care for those parents. It made me look at them differently, and next time I may actually open their mail. This was a turning point for me about this exhibit hall. It was about connections; just like what all of us bloggers are trying to do. Connecting to others in a real, authentic way, not just grabbing Snickers at their booth, which BTW was yummy.
That evening was the “non-event” event that all the GenFab women who were attending had set aside to meet each other. We packed the bar. It was great to see faces light up when recognition struck. We hugged, we talked, we laughed. I was a little jealous of someone who had just been interviewed by a dominatrix (who was not a GenFabber).
Virginia’s BFF status was sealed when she came back looking a little dusty from the ladies room. Apparently the lock had broken and she had gotten stuck in the stall. The only other person in the restroom was a young woman whose only help was to say that she wouldn’t Instagram her crawling out of the stall.
So ended my first day in Chicago, hours past my bedtime.
Hi, I’m Connie McLeod of My Creative Journey, I write about my creative life. If you like my adventures I’d love for you to follow me. I promise no spam. Here’s my card (imagine I’m shaking your hand).
I’m proud to be a GenFab blogger!