In 2000, at the age of 53, I moved to Los Angeles, hoping that the blessing of a warm climate would compensate for the curse of a dismal medical diagnosis. It did, a bit! But the sun was not enough: I craved women my age to befriend, and new friends were hard to find. I started to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with me.
After 16 years spent wallowing in self-pity and doubt, and now approaching 70, I decided to go on Meetup to see if I could join a group for women my age. And there weren’t any! This left me, as I saw it, with only one option: to start such a group myself. I called it “Finding Female Friends Past Fifty.” 200 women joined the first few weeks and I quickly learned that I was not alone. LA women were all having a hard time connecting.
Once we did connect, it was momentous! An altogether different experience from friendship-finding in younger decades. Now, our differences are so much smaller than our similarities, and our desire for closeness so much greater than our competitiveness. Friendships can form instantly when a safe space is provided—one where you feel safe to be yourself because you’re all there for the same reason.
A platform specifically for older women to make friends
A journalist for the New York Times contacted me in 2018, wanting to write an article about my group. When that article was published on December 31, 2018, my inbox was flooded with messages from women all over the country—and all across the world. I learned that women everywhere were having a hard time connecting. Fifteen chapters were added to my Meetup group. But still, I felt that there was a bigger opportunity here to supersede fifteen chapters and instead build a true nationwide community of women, with tools built just for us.
So when one of my members who lives in the Bay Area told me about a San Francisco group that was doing exactly what I was but with their own platform, I jumped at the chance to build a real community with the tools one needs to create an engaged network of individuals. I joined up with Revel and took many of my members with me.
On Revel, we have an ever-expanding sisterhood of nearly 4000 women aged 50+ women across the country, connecting with friends near and far. Over 200 member-created events pop up each month, and a real community is being birthed where all members feel they belong and are part of something bigger.
My health still sucks. But knowing I’m part of this amazing group, that my life experiences are valued, and I can be myself with others who want to learn, grow, and stay fully engaged in our later years—that’s a blessing that can’t be diminished.