I am sure that plenty of people who work at renfaires are going to laugh about this-“That won’t be me.” Or “Oh Yeah, I feel that” or the hardest to laugh “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

I started late, in my thirties, and I feel that a lot of women are in the same boat-that we’ve survived most of what life has thrown at us, we don’t have much to prove and are generally stable in who we are and know our capabilities. That’s not untrue of plenty of men but I find that there is a bigger age gap in whom you find at the renfaires.

When I first started, I had no endurance, couldn’t make a fire if it didn’t involve briquettes and a grill and didn’t realize how much you should carry in a car to be *really* efficient. Not saying I have it licked, but my friend Jess was right on the mark when she said that you have “ a groove” when you hit a decade.

Then: I would wear expensive outfits and buy a lot of accessories.
Now: I have a good base wardrobe of inexpensive stuff with and overlay of carefully collected pieces that match. I have come to realize that a good pair of boots and your basic poet shirt can get you through many periods of time. There is a reason most folks start with this. And the base accessories are all necessities. The first time you take a tuck and roll with a cup on your belt-done with the fripperies!

Then: I would do the two days of the festival and be ready to rock and roll, having terrible “faire hangover” (a form of nostalgia) and just chuck the dirty clothes in a bag and get to them whenever.
Now: We start the day with Advil and caffeine, we rest quite a bit and let the younger people do the heavy lifting when available. When we get home we write down the important stuff, throw the laundry in while we have some comfort food and enjoy 21st century amenities. (We actually have something we call “Emergency clams” kept in the freezer for coming back home and tossing into the oven) We are better about getting online and following up with customers (it’s easier than back in the Cretaceous) Sometimes we build in a “sanity day” post faire to rest up and not fall into a week of chaos.

Then: Do ALL the things! Stay all the nights!
Now: pfft, right. You young people go to fire off at after-hours parties. Ain’t no party like a clean shower and delivered food party, in my hotel room. It has been noted by our subcontractors that this amenity is greatly appreciated!

Then: Hopping out of the car!
Now: Groan and slide out of car. Sigh and start unpacking immediately.

Then: Throw it in the car!
Now: Specialized bags and boxes. For long distance trips may make 2-3 runs at the packing.

Then: What did that person mean by saying that to me?
Now: Oh yeah, that douchebag. Did they bother you, too? HAHAHAHAHA! Where do you want to eat supper?
Then: Maybe someone has a {blank} I can borrow?
Now: The leatherman is in the glovebox, the rest is in the med kit.

Nowadays I consider some of our best investments to be regular car service, AAA and having jumper cables in the car. I still remember my husband asking –
“Hey, was that (subcontractor) by the side of the road?” So we called and yes, indeed it had been them and so we banged a u-ey and pulled in behind. Within minutes we had snacks, had set up chairs, were playing cards and blowing bubbles by the side of the road. Renfaire people are a fun time and that never changes.

And although I don’t quite as excited going to the faires as in the past, in some ways it’s better. We have long-term friends, we can plan for (some) hazards, everyone knows the drill and we are the ones who chuckle and shake our heads at all goings-on. And the tent, that’s our own little sanctuary, we really appreciate it.

So yeah, there is arthritis, and fatigue and making lists but it’s still fun to be part of it all. And there is one thing that will be funny and just get moreso as I age. It’s someone in their early twenties coming up and telling me that 1) they have it all figured out and 2) they are too old for this stuff.