Entering Cronehood

© Jeanne Mozier – March 1996

Here in the Center of the Universe, we found ourselves once again on the cutting edge of a major sociological trend.  Turning 50.  Entering cronehood. Baby Boomers receiving recruitment letters from AARP.

We didn’t need network news and national magazines to tell us what the hot topic should be at our annual ladies lunch.  We didn’t need to hear national survey results to know what turning 50 means.  We simply caught up on our lives since the last gathering and there it was – cronehood, defined as a woman over 50.

Most of the women in attendance at the lunch spoke of feeling empowered, reveling in their accumulated wisdom.

“It all comes together at 50,” reported one woman.  “All the wisdom, experience and knowledge are there along with a real grounded feeling about life.”

Several expressed a sense of responsibility  — and a willingness – to pass on that wisdom.  “I feel more need to bring what I’ve learned to young people,” remarked a woman who recently began a youth group at her church.  Another mentioned that she finally understood being matriarchal.  “There’s been a change,” said a jeweler.  “I find myself beginning a lot of sentences with ‘now that I’m 50…’”  A Montessori teacher was surprised at how little change she felt.  “I thought I’d be more grown up at 50, but here I am, still wondering where’s my charge accounts and bank books?”

Comparisons with turning 40 were popular among the crowd.  A landscape designer spoke of feeling less remorse than she did at 40.  Another woman agreed.  “At 40 I was pissed off and wanted to leave the planet, now I feel great.”

An office worker asserted that she felt better at 50 than she had at 45.  A massage therapist, who is only approaching 50, believed it had to be easier than the first five years of her forties.

No one spoke about failing physical energies.  “A lot of my friends are younger,” reported a 52-year-old.  “I’ve started roller-blading and long-distance biking.  My body seems to be screaming for action.”  Another celebrated her recent 50th birthday with a special hiking vacation.  In spite of their energy, the reality of time passing was not lost on the group of women.

“Both my mother and grandmother died in their early fifties,”  said an artist.  “I’m worried  about how many years I have left.” Even those who did not feel pressured by a family history of early deaths acknowledged the limits of time.  “I still feel like there’s a lot to do and I better hurry up,” reported one woman.

Only the group’s certified Aphrodite spoke about sex, or rather the change in her sexual energy.  “I feel retired, monkish, like the ashram master.”  Artistic energy fared better.  None of the several artists at the gathering noticed a lessening of their creativity.  They agreed with the wisdom that over-50 women are moving from pro-creation to pure creation.  Every older woman at the gathering spoke of being happy with her work.

No one complained about the body changes.  “They’re workable,” said a woman who works outdoors.  “I wouldn’t want to go back.  It’s the stage I should be in now, so it feels right.”

The times make this issue a different conversation than would have happened 15 or 20 years ago.  Our homeopath, who is also one of the older group members at 56, has been an invaluable resource.  She is adamant about treating the aging female body as healthy and right in its action.

“We are not suffering from estrogen deficiency disease,” she emphasized.  “Our bodies know what they’re doing and we should treat them with respect for their innate wisdom.”

She encouraged use of homeopathy and other alternative and non-invasive modalities to help our bodies through the natural process of re-balancing.

The most practical comment about the rewards of cronehood came from the jeweler who had been 50 for less than four weeks.  “I got a refund check from my car insurance.  Now that I’m 50, I’m in a safe driving group.”

Repeatedly, the women commented on the benefit of having a supportive group of women in a similar age group ready and able to discuss the passage of time and its effect on their lives.  “Aging seemed to be a taboo subject for my mother and her friends,” said one woman.  “I feel the value of a supportive group of women, of our valued place in the community.”

The women wondered aloud about the audience for our wise comments about aging.  “All the women here under 35 were polite but uninterested,” commented our hostess.

If the national media coverage is an indication, we post-1940 babies are, as usual, talking to ourselves.  Yet, there are millions of us to listen, some bearing fresh wounds from a bout with the mid-life, some with 50 just ahead.  It was for them that I scheduled my semi-centennial celebration which turned out to be a 10-day-long series of parties in five cities and three states.  I felt duty bound to show that there were bright sunshine and warm breezes on the other end of the forties.

The common enemy to be faced in the passage of time is fear…fear of moving ahead to the next cycle, fear of body deterioration and the solutions that are forced on women by a mostly male medical establishment.  The collective wisdom of millenniums of healing wise women is not lost, it is emerging in the world all around us.  We can find the answers we need by listening to each other, to older women and those who have blazed the trail.  With information and encouragement, this return to our original nature can be the most joyous of journeys, the best of celebrations.

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