How fortuitous. This blog posted in the New York Times earlier this week.
The author must have listened in to the phone call my cousin and I had a few days earlier. If she didn’t, then this is further proof that, for women, aging has its challenges but also big time perks.
Dominique Browning, a babe at 60, has found her voice and the relief of thinking and declaring, “I’m too old for this.” She is, she writes, too old for feeling bad about her looks. Insecurity is another distraction for which she is too old. She doesn’t have time to change others because she knows it’s an exercise in futility. And she’s learned to walk away from toxic people and toxic situations.
Hail to Ms. Browning. And hail to the millions of other wise women who are feeling much more comfortable in their own skin.
Browning writes that she could just as well have adopted the mantra “I’m too wise for this.” But she went with “I’m too old for this,” a mantra I was about to adopt when the aforementioned cousin suggested “I’m too new age for this.” Or simply, “I’m new age.”
For me, that’s pitch perfect. My age (70) is “new,” “revitalized,” “different from expectations”—mine and every other woman who survives in tact with energy, health (Okay, maybe a bum knee here and a fragile back there), and optimism for the future and the unknown but exciting path it will take.
Cultural expectations be damned.
I mean, what was the New Age movement in the 1970s all about? At its root, New Age was an alternative approach to Western culture. The new age culture focused on spiritualism, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism. The movement was all about “feelgoodism,” “correct knowledge,” and “tolerance.”
We sure could use some of that!
And no one is pretending that adopting this mantra works every time a “new age” woman is confronted with her image in the mirror, the “Oh, I sure want to be like you when I’m your age,” or the invisibility new age women experience (except for those who go under the knife, unable to accept the slow but inevitable march to the end.)
We “new age” women—even those loud and proud feminists—sometimes secretly wish that the construction guys on their lunch break might hoot and holler as we stroll by. Or, while out dancing, some man who can keep a beat asks us to dance.
The flip side is that we don’t have to worry about the anger at being oogled or the hurt of being a wallflower. Now, we can dance to our own tune without having to worry about what anyone thinks. Being outwardly “invisible” allows us to be inwardly “visible” and to connect honestly with ourselves without the cultural pressure to look, act, think like an “senior” or “elder” or, worse yet, a “hag.”
I’ve been searching for my copy of Barbara Walker’s The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom and Power. The book left a huge impression on me and, based on Amazon customer reviews, a powerful one on scores of women, both “new age” and younger.
“So many times ‘crone’ is spit out like a disparagement, and Walker does an excellent job of educating the reader that Crone is an age of woman that brings wisdom and power.”
“This book celebrates the place of perhaps the most marginalized group in our culture, while damning the methods and motives of the Christian church from the burning times through today.”
Sit back, put on some New Age music and meditate on and give thanks to all the wisdom and power age has offered to you as a gift to be cherished and shared.
And for Pete’s sake, have a little humor about it all.