As I reflect back on 2015 and the last few years, I am of course so amazed and grateful for the gains we’ve made in LGBT rights. But we need to take stock as a community here in Baltimore and consider “What’s next?” “What is most important for us, as women-who-love-women, to coalesce around?”

I know that for many of us finances are paramount. If you are like me, retirement is looming and many of us haven’t had the chance to save more, if we’ve saved any, for our golden years. On the whole, we still make less than men and many of us, as heart-centered women, are in careers that pay less. Many of us have also made sacrifices over the years to take care of sick family members and animals. So, I’ll bet you agree your financial health is a rich area to cultivate in 2016. Most of us can do much better in valuing the work we do and most of us can become better savers. These strategies are more important than ever due to the rising costs of housing, health care, and more.

Speaking of finances, other rich areas for me currently are time management and life/career balance. I already thankfully work in a career I love, so my problems tend to center around striking a balance between work and life. I remember some laughing at this idea but I still believe it’s possible and, indeed for my health, absolutely necessary.

So I believe these three quality of life issues are vital to support each other in, in 2016. For example: Do you have a balance between your work and your play? Or, are you bitten by the entrepreneurial bug to the point you need to restore a sense of balance to your life and bank account?

And, what becomes of one’s body when one is so engaged in their work? I know that I am now in a phase of life where I am stepping back, slowing down and simplifying. Self-employment is so much fun I like to say it can become an unhealthy addiction. Running your own business is a recipe for sure burnout unless you daily remember to put yourself, not your business, first. Now I know how working moms must feel.

Lastly, one of the best pieces of wisdom I’ve learned in life so far is the danger of isolating. And, I’ve felt some of the not-so-positive results of isolating myself, so I can speak from experience. Do you isolate yourself emotionally, financially or physically? Financially, that could mean spending that doesn’t focus enough on your basic needs or not asking for help when you can’t meet your expenses. Do you eat junk food or gain weight too often, because no one is there to care enough to say something? Do you stay home and self-medicate untreated depression by drinking, instead of finding healthier ways to cope? There are countless other examples of ways we hurt ourselves by isolating.

As for many lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women, it’s perhaps even more a habit not to share, given the negativity we’ve experienced in the past when we’ve opened up. But we often isolate to our peril. So in 2016 I want to offer you opportunities to stop isolating and start communicating. About who you are and what you want and need. In safe places and spaces where you will be supported for taking better care of yourself.

So kick off your new year on a happy, healthy, wealthy note, why not join me for “Lunch with Barb Elgin,” Sunday, January 31st, 2016, at noon at a location to be announced (but somewhere in the White Marsh/Perry Hall/Nottingham areas).

This first gathering will be very simple. If I receive enough RSVPs, I’ll choose a location with a private room. If we have only a small group, we’ll reserve a big table somewhere. To keep it simple, food/drink costs will be dutch, on your own.

Invite your friends. These lunch are open to all women-who-love-women. Each must RSVP as described below.

What will we do during our lunch? Socialize. Network. Have some fun. Relax and get to know one another. Throughout 2016 as I hold more monthly gatherings, we’ll grow in numbers and sophistication of events, based on what our attendees want. I look forward to talking with you.

To RSVP, it’s easy – just go to my Lasting Lesbian Love Facebook Group here and let me know if you will be attending by choosing going or if you may attend interested. You can also note you are not going at;

Barb Elgin has been helping lesbians thrive since the mid-1980s as a psychotherapist, life/love coach, matchmaker, author, radio-show host and more. Her current focus is the Lasting Lesbian Love Social / Travel Club. If you’re ready to unwind, unplug, and become healthier and happier, while having fun and meeting other like-hearted LBT women, sign up for L3’s complimentary Social/Travel E-Zine at