This essay originally appeared on September 17, 2015. I’m pleased to say I’m still standing and embracing the Third Stage of my life!
For those of you who have imagined me lounging by the pool for the month of August, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I’ve been lounging on my screen porch, which is nowhere near the pool, and doesn’t dictate that I wear a bathing suit. But I have not been idle.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been very busy pondering life, and how I might best find purpose for all those estrogen-free years that lay ahead.
You see — I was a post-menopausal seeker, looking for role models for the third act of life. I refused to accept that gray hair, a few wrinkles, and five extra pounds of tummy fat somehow reduced my societal net worth. (Although I do admit that it does give one pause!)
Although I have reached a point in life when my age exceeds the speed limit, I am not ready to step aside. Surely I still had something to contribute.
I had heard of cultures which revered older women. And it was in this enlightened realm that I discovered the Triple Goddess — the representation of the three stages of a woman’s life.
The Triple Goddess! Where had she been all my life? I had blithely experienced Stage One, The Maiden, and Stage Two, The Mother, with a total lack of awareness of my inherent value. No way was I going to blow Stage Three!
The more I learned, the less I feared being discarded because I was an “older woman.” True, there were certain things I could no longer do, like become a Victoria’s Secret model. Not unless they added about six more inches of fabric to their panties, and two more cup sizes to their bra inventory.
But neither would I agree to be ignored or overlooked by a youth-worshipping society. I had discovered a place of honor. I would embrace Stage Three of the Goddess cycle, and live out my remaining years as a Crone.
A Crone! I heard you gasp. But let me reassure you. Not the crone (notice the small “c”) as represented by the witch in Hansel and Gretel, but the beautiful and benevolent Crone who appears as Cinderella’s fairy godmother. The problem-solver who turns mice into horses and pumpkins into coaches.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating. I really don’t intend to mess around with plants and animals. But I will strive to become the authentic Crone — the honored third aspect of the Triple Goddess.
According to legend, the Crone is a symbol of self-value, and respect. She is venerated for her experience, judgment, and wisdom — and clearly, someone to turn to when you don’t know the answer to Final Jeopardy.
To quote from one description of the Crone Goddess, she is ” the wisdom keeper, seer, healer, and midwife, whose knowledge is sought out to guide others during life’s hardships and transitions.” Cool. Although I think I can do without the midwife part.
I hope it’s not too late for me. With all this guiding and healing to accomplish, I probably should have started “Croning” years ago. But I’m a hard worker, and have confidence that I can catch up.
I do have one question, though. Must I look the part? Does deciding to become a Crone require a new outfit? I’m sure Crones no longer wear gowns and tiaras, or carry magic wands. But must I let my hair grow, and purchase flowing robes?
Or will people take me just as seriously if I choose Not Your Daughter’s Jeans and a tee shirt?
No matter. The important thing is to make up for lost time and immediately get to work on developing my wise woman energy.
I’m really looking forward to engaging in my new role. Since I’m a novice, I will begin in the safe bosom of my very own family, and maybe work my way out to a few close friends. I’ll have to let them know that I’m available for advice dispensing.
Do I wait for them to come to me, or do I take the first step? Should I tell my son that he should shave his beard immediately because it makes him look like a red-headed Smith Brother? Or tell my husband that the color of his favorite sports jacket gives him the appearance of someone with the flu?
I don’t think so. Because a truly wise woman knows when to shut up.