from the editor: Summer 2023, “nostalgia”

We didn’t get tickets to Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour.

We tried really hard, but we were 11,000 and some people back in the Ticketmaster queue, and it didn’t happen. So, instead, we decided to dress up as our favorite T. Swift era, make our own playlist of our favorite Taylor Swift songs from each album and have our own party.

My sister Phoebe dressed as the original “Taylor Swift” album. My friend Claire represented the “Lover” era. I was brunette Taylor in the “Wildest Dreams” music video from “1989.” On the night we would have gone to the concert, we put on the party light and disco ball in Claire’s backyard, and we danced.

Taylor Swift is approximately two and a half years older than me, so the timeline of her music has often paralleled my own coming-of-age experiences as it is released. Throughout my life, her music has accompanied me: Riding with my best friend from early high school to Cape for the first time after she got her license, when she got out her new CD to have me listen to “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Dancing to “22” in my college dorm room with my best friend Priya during the height of the “Red” era. Unpacking my suitcase to move into my room for the year in Athens, Greece, to “Shake It Off” the day after it came out. A lot of life gets lived over a period of 17 years, and I was there for all of it.

A lot of life gets lived over a period of 13 years, too, and throughout different editors and staff, flourish has borne witness to all of it. At the milestone of our 50th issue of this magazine, we pause to take a look at where we have been and honor the history of this entity we love so deeply. In these pages, find some of our favorite photos from the first 50 issues of flourish, dating back to its rebrand in 2010 and even earlier, when flourish was She magazine. Learn about Kara and Evan Steffens’ renovation process as they transformed a school bus into their home. And reminisce about iconic memorabilia from the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s with five local women who share some of their favorite artifacts from the decades they grew up in.

Although I don’t usually like nostalgia because I’ve worked hard to learn how to be centered in the present and happy here, I’m learning maybe nostalgia has a place in building community, in bonding us, in helping us remember what has been good about our shared experiences and therefore our individual lives. It is an exercise in appreciation, and through these pages, we hope you have a blast remembering the people and fads that have added goodness to your life throughout the years.

Because it’s not really about Taylor Swift or even about flourish. It’s about us. The girls we were and the women we have become, the women we are becoming. All of the things we’ve experienced and learned along the way, and the fact that we are still here, after it. Wiser and stronger and more sure than before. That’s what our “Eras” party was about, that’s what this issue is about.

And we are something worth dancing for.