I haven’t written at Pilgrim’s Moon for months. For two reasons:
- I have a “day job” which has become a multi-headed hydra taking up not only my day, but my evenings and my weekends
- I wonder whether I have anything left or anything new to say about women growing older in positive and subversive ways
The first reason is being given close attention, and there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel.
The second reason: well perhaps that’s where you come in. Are we there now, do you think? Has this generation of baby boomer women blossoming into wise crones finally turned the tide? Do we now as a first-world society finally SEE and recognise age as a gift? Is there still a need to write about it, should we simply be living it?
The arguments for
In popular culture we are represented much more frequently. For example, in film and television we now see lead roles for older people: romantic love is shown to be not only the preserve of the young and to be not the only interesting fact of life. A few examples: the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films, the great new Netflix series Grace and Frankie, the forthcoming 5 Flights Up with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman, anything with Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren.
There are so many wonderful books to read – see my Amazon store for just a few.
Individual older women are more and more prominent and influential in business and in public life.
The arguments against
And yet… women still discover my Crones Manifesto and express a sense of relief and often surprise that they are not alone. As we age, we face complex issues around health (our own and that of others), around how and where to live, around money.
Many of us still haven’t learned not to talk ourselves down: I stumbled across the wonderful phrase “hor-moaning” to represent the ways in which we are tempted to moan about our aches and pains, about our hot flushes, about how awful growing older is and how invisible we feel. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Which is not to say, of course, that women don’t have challenges around menopause and the physical, emotional and social aging process. I like what Jean Shinoda Bolen has to say about this in her book Crones Don’t Whine:
Grief is not whining. Even whimpering is not whining. Maybe some body part is not working well or is painful – and you are doing what can be done, medically and otherwise. You may have financial limitations. Whatever it is that you are struggling with can be told to people who need to know, want to know, or as updates to friends with whom you share the ongoing story of your life. However crones don’t bore others with a litany of their symptoms – organ recitals or tales of woe – that have an air of performance or bragging. A crone knows she and her troubles are not the center of the universe and knows other people have problems, too. A crone doesn’t indulge whining children, or whining inner children. Especially her own.
Many things don’t change. Women of all ages are being still being threatened and mutilated by men. Climate change deniers and religious fundamentalists are influential. Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex in 1949, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963 and still the capitalist patriarchy is our world model. I believe the perspective and wisdom of older women have a lot to contribute to all these issues.
So to those of you loyal readers still out there, what do you think, is there still a need for us to gather as friends over a virtual glass of wine or a cup of tea, talking about our experiences of growing older and looking for ways to make a difference in our world? Shall we still cackle?