I write this to you with no pants on. Sorry for the image, but I’m on deadline to publish this piece, I haven’t figured out what I’m wearing to our big birthday bash celebrating five years of TueNight, and, well, I’m between outfits. It’s not that I don’t take writing this Editor’s Note seriously, but honestly, this is life. Do I care that I don’t have pants on? Hell to the no.
This is the kind of thing that has changed, now that I am 51. Now that we are five years in on TueNight. You do what you gotta do, pants be damned.
Wait, we’re 5 years old, already? It still feels like we’re just getting started. Which is kind of the essence of TueNight.
We have, in fact, covered a lot of ground. To review:
- 1287 stories
- 292 contributors
- 275 weekly newsletters
- 15 TueNight Live events
- Scores of TueNighter Facebook threads where we’ve uncovered and discussed all manner of things — from how often we wash our towels to what qualifies us as “peak old lady” (e.g. Karen Gerwin carries Ziploc baggies of her favorite tea bags) to Tamar Anitai’s hilarious tampon-tossing thread to more serious subjects of gender and intersectionality.
- And countless “themes” — from Money to Break-Ups to First Jobs to Sleep to Best Friends, to the more esoteric Glow, Trust, Tribes, Pumpkin, or Shart Week, yes, Shart Week — when we commissioned 7 essays around the topic of poop.
Yes, we’ve literally covered a shit-tonof midlife territory.
Speaking of mid-life, or middle-aged, we kinda hate those terms.
It’s like, you’re almostdead! The term hardly depicts the vibrancy and hard-won life skills that women over 40 bring to everything we do. We’ve had enough rich life experience to know how we like our salad dressed, so to speak — olive oil with a little lemon and sea salt, thank you — but we’ll still give that horseradish aioli a whirl.
Our origin story began in the summer of 2013 when I wrote a piece for Medium about my betwixt/between feelings at this time in life. I called it Dinosaur Jr., a nod to a particular Gen-X indie rock band and the feeling of being a baby relic.
The story sparked conversations with longtime friends and one-time co-workers Kat Borosky and Adrianna Dufay. We talked about collaborating on a weekly website where we could share stories about our bad knees, our aging parents, celebrate our 2ndacts, the new boyfriend. We’d examine this mixed-up bag of feelings that felt fresh: newfound desires, loss, regret, success, wistfulness. The rinse and repeat of life, and when we felt things for the very first time at 48.
Who were we now? That was the question we kept asking.
Originally, we toyed with names like Midlife WTF, Oldish, Geezette, The Midway, Adulting — but they all sounded so finite, so negative. We wanted an open-ended name that didn’t pinpoint us to a particular set of expectations or a life stage, but one that that honored our experience, and reclaimed some time for us right nowin our crazy, busy lives. Calling our website TueNight was an effort to pick a time and a day to celebrate who we are right now at this moment. We’re not halfway to somewhere. We are already here. This is about right now. Tuenight is tonight.
In hindsight, a weekly website was a ton of work for a non-funded operation, and when I got ovarian cancer in 2015, we took it as an opportunity to slow down and move to a more reasonable, seasonal, schedule. I’ll never forget the editors, friends and women who chipped in and helped keep TueNight afloat during that time. Those are the kinds of friendships we women depend on throughout our lives, the bonds are stronger than any other and I am so grateful to so many who kept us rolling.
Over these last 5 years we’ve asked ourselves: Why do we do this thing? Especially on a night like tonight, where we have a big event and the stress levels are off the charts, where we write essays without pants on, we ask: is it worth it? And every single time, after every event, after every issue or newsletter is published we say a resounding, “YES.”
It is because of the community and connection of other women just like us that TueNight matters. That TueNight brings us incomparable joy. There’s something about hearing a story from a stranger, or reaching out to another TueNighter in our Facebook group, finding a bond or hearing things from another point of view, with the common thread being that we’re a Gen-Xer over 40. With open minds and open hearts we have learned so much from each other. And it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.
Even more personally, during these last 5 years, I’ve gone from a 46-year-old woman who was a little fearful and confused about this time in my life, to one who has embraced the crazy. Have we figured it all out? No, and that’s kind of the point.
I’m thankful to all of our fantastic writers, collaborators, artists and advisers who have helped make this site a joy to produce. But I’m especially honored that you’ve read this far. Hey you! You like us, you really, really like us.
As we like to say, we’re not dead yet — not even close.
Here are our Birthday edition stories – a few newbies and some of our favorites from the last five years:
- Cindy Gallop says her age
- Deb Copaken heads to the emergency room — in an Uber Pool
- Dodai Stewart pays to be touched
- Tamar Anitai will not be having any kids
- Karen Gerwin considers giving the Mazel Tov slap
- Dionne Ford struggles with God
- Penny Wrenn throws herself a retirement party
- Susan Linney masks the booze
Happy Birthday To Us!