My hippychick friend has just invited me to her 60th. birthday party, with a twist. Here is her invitation.
A Celebration of Aging
On June 23, 2006 I will be celebrating the fact that I have lived to the age of 60, and celebrating some of the many friendships that have made it all worth the doing.
Although men have profoundly altered the course of my life, it has been women who have helped me survive and embrace the journey. For this reason I am asking my women friends to join me in this major transition in my life, into the time of the crone.
The three archetypes of woman, maiden, mother and crone, are rooted in our bodies and framed by social conventions. The maiden embodies hope - innocence, youth, playfulness, spontaneity - the stage ends with menstruation, by which time we have learned our place, have learned to please. The mother personifies love - fertility, productivity, strength - the gentle nurturer and fierce protector, years ruled by the body. None of us have escaped the pressures - to give birth, to multitask, to be sexier, thinner, fitter, smoother, younger. Menopause ushers us out of this phase into the age of the crone, the fulfillment of female life experience, the age of wisdom.
The word crone once meant Âwise womanÂ and, in antiquity, was a term of respect. The crone was a voice of wisdom, an elder, a healer, a counsellor and a teacher who had traveleded the paths of maiden and mother and possessed the accumulated wisdom of her years. The transition to cronehood was a rich and empowering experience, an important rite of passage, though not one associated with a specific age. Now old women are, all too often, seen as a burden; the loss of sexuality renders us obsolete, invisible - we are pushed aside, silenced, forgotten.
Today, youth and the body have become obsessions that most women buy into (as I can attest to in this year of my folly). It is an important time for women to reclaim the status once achieved by cronehood. In awakening the crone we acknowledge that age, experience, knowledge and power are profound gifts that no one can take from us.
This invitation is a request for your participation in this transition - releasing baggage accumulated by the maiden, letting go the over-achievement, striving and control of the mother - to move from fearing the hag to embracing the crone and the gifts that she brings.
Please bring something to celebrate women and transitions. It could be a story, a picture, an object, a song - perhaps something that reminds you of a woman who has made a difference in your life, perhaps something from your own lifeÂs journey., It is my hope that together we can create a ritual to welcome the crone, the wise women, who lives in us all.
So, okay, you guys know me well enough, what do you think I should bring to the party, other than my cronie old body? I am uncomfortable, I am not wise, I still make bad choices at 60. I have never had children. The only wise thing I ever have done is stop picking my nose in public. I hope she remembers that I am still a child in an old woman's body. I'm going to have to fake this whole thing!!
She is one of my best friends, and I wish I could immerse myself into the depths of all what it means to her to turn 60. But for her sake I will do what I can. I don't like milestones, and try to keep them at bay.
She has walked many roads, I have never walked. She was married, had two children, and divorced. She brought up her children by herself in the 70's. Life was not easy. She went back to school and earned a degree in architecture. She worked for the man and got the experience she needed in her field, and then went on to start her own business. She ran a very successful business for many years. As her children grew older, she found herself at a crossroad, and wanted to persue a more
meaningful existence. She packed up and sold her house in Regina, and moved back to Winnipeg and enrolled in Bible College here in Winnipeg. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when she told me of her plans. A bible college??? I was flabbergasted!! But, you have to know Janis, she always has a plan. A real plan, not like one of my plans LOL. To make a long story a little shorter, she took two years of theology, women's studies, and a multitude of other stuff I can't remember, and graduated top of her class. She was always smart in school, when we were kids, I was the duuuuumbster. Then, after all her education was finished, she was looking for work in the Mennonite Community in the "Service Field." She found an organization that were sponsoring people to immigrate to Canada that were being persecuted in their countries. I think it only paid $500.00 a month to start. She took it. This organization was just starting and was having a hard time getting funding, but she thought it was worthwhile. She created her own job there.
Then the shit hit the fan. She discovered she had breast cancer. Just one more hurdle for our hippychick. She had her breast removed, and has been cancer free every since. It was a traumatic event, that I am sure it changed her life and the way she looks at it now. She has been working at the same organization for the last 10 years and now is a well respected in her field.
Last month, if you may remember I told you she was having breast reconstructive surgery after all that time. It went wrong. It had to be redone. After 4 months she has a breast again, but not without a huge struggle and sacrifice. That's my hippychick! Now she was finally feeling better and starting to get on with her (endless summer activities) she broke her wrist...dancing ...fortheloveofahippy... she fell down at a wedding dance (she says she was sober)..ahem. With last breast reconstruction they had to take some tissue from the right side of her back just behind her arm, which would render her arm useless for about 4 weeks, and after that she would have to be very careful not to pull on it too much. Now she broke the left arm. So, she is pretty well useless. HAAA..(just kidding Janis, I know you read my shit). But, giving up is not in her vocabulary. So she is throwing herself a partay! And even invited Joan the Drone Crone. aka balonie
I don't know how I can top the "fart jar" present I gave her last year. I'll come up with something. I'm not sure about what I will bring from my life's journey. I'm trying to find an old tampax I might not have thrown away. Maybe we can prop it in the ground and set it off like a firecracker, and say goodbye to the hag, and welcome the crone. dunno?