How to Festival When You’re Not 21 Anymore

Article by: Mia Quagliarello|@miaq

Mon April 02, 2018 | 13:00 PM

Getting older is strange. The spirit is still young and the things you loved in your 20s (festivals! music! friends!) are as hot—maybe hotter—than ever. Yet at the same time there’s a fade starting to creep in: the young ’uns around you become objects of fascination and the body begins its long betrayal, starting with weird stuff like frozen shoulders and bone spurs. It’s harder to stay up later, never mind standing up for too long. Overdoing it today means misery tomorrow. WTF.

So where does that leave a festival-loving mother of two? I recently put it all together at Symbiosis Gathering, where I communed with three other lady friends, all of us over 40 and sans kids for the weekend. By tweaking our mindsets and bio clocks, we discovered the Ancient Secrets to Festival Happiness. Here’s what we learned:

It’s Key to Adjust Your Attitude

Symbiosis Gathering 2016 Galen Oakes   41 Of 96

Photo by: Galen Oakes

You can’t expect to do things the way you used to, so it’s time to get creative. Shift your clock. Aim low. Pack snacks. And when you can no longer kill ’em with your dance moves cuz you’re tired AF, make up for it with Wonder Woman socks and chicken hats (it turns out dancing is not unlike pecking).

Manage Your Energy Bank

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Galen Oakes People   1 Of 55

Photo by: Galen Oakes

This nugget came from my friend Shawna, who used the ride to Symbiosis to confess a serious worry she had about our trip: maintaining of her energy bank. We laughed at her earnestness, but it turned out to be a constant source of discussion (and jokes) throughout the weekend. Were our banks full or empty? Was it time for a deposit? Which deposits were actually withdrawals in disguise? We were always calibrating our energy levels and asking ourselves what we needed to keep that bank full. Brill.

Optimize for Sunrise

Symbiosis 2015 Galen Oakes   1 Of 50

Photo by: Galen Oakes

Have you seen the sun come up? Yeah, it is a joy and a privilege to be awake during these hours so why not optimize for that? By going to bed one night at 8 pm, we were able to wake up at 2 am and step into a scene that felt perfectly set. Cosmonauts in the middle of their adventures warmly greeted us, we hit the dance floor totally fresh, and breezed to sunrise, no problem. What a way to start the day!

Be Thankful for the Small Moments

Symbiosis 2015 Galen Oakes   1 Of 50

Photo by: Galen Oakes

Leave the FOMO to the kids. Just being here is likely to have been a feat of scheduling, planning and maybe also childcare. Savor the moment, and the time with family, friends or alone. Don’t worry about seeing everything or even any specific thing. Hey, you’re here! That in itself is a reason to clink beer cans. How many others in your demographic do you see traipsing around? Exactly. Well done, rock star.

This article was originally published in September 2016