The Wisdom of the Crone?

Me at 26
Me at 26 | Source

Where has all my allure gone?

The picture above is of me at 26, taken when my daughter was about 15 months old.

I was suffering with mild post-natal depression which came in bouts and I felt very mixed up and confused about life. I am now 63 and have moved into the final, 'crone', stage of my life.

So where did all my allure go? I guess it just got wrinkly and dropped off. But if you ask me if I would trade my present age to return to my youth I would have to answer, 'No, thanks'.

Okay, I can hear the derisive snorts from here and maybe that is a strange answer when so many of us are trying so desperately to hold back the ageing process, to appear forever young.

So why would I say that? In our 'old age is a dirty word' culture, why would I not want to be young again?

Remembering the angst of youth.

The reason why I would not trade age for youth is all because of confidence. Such confidence, so painfully gathered by age and experience, has had the effect of setting me free to be who I really want to be at this late stage of my life.

My teenage years were exciting, but they were not without angst. Like most teenagers the changes in my body and the growing freedom to plot my own life, and make my own mistakes, were both heady and terrifying.

Although a reasonably bright scholar my new liberation made me choose the wrong path over and over again and confidence in who I was had not yet kicked in. I spent far too much of my time weeping over boys and writing depressive doggerel. (That has only partly changed, I have finally learnt one lesson ... I no longer weep over men). The doggerel … er ...

My twenties were concerned with the mystery and overwhelming responsibility of child-rearing and the dawning realisation that I had elected to allow my heart, in the shape of my children, to walk about outside of my body. Child-rearing is not for the faint-hearted.

By my thirties my confidence had grown and hardened but I still made appalling errors of judgement that hurt all those I loved most. This was my most painful decade and the one I would love to change the most.

Moving on with life ... the antidote to the past.

But eventually, realising I was unable to change the past, I set about making the best of my forties. It became a happy, peaceful and forgiven decade and I began to see that life was not all about me. At last I had the chance to try and make reparation for my sins and I took it.

So my fifth decade saw me accept myself with all the warts of my past. This is not to say that I forgot the hurt that I had caused but I actively chose to move on, knowing that guilt did not help any of us. I could not go back, I could only go on.

There was another great sadness in this decade but that, for once, was not my fault. So, beneath it all, was a feeling of peace in who I was. I was doing my best for everyone ... and ultimately that helped me too.

Allowing the crone stage.

And so to date ... my sixties. I have finally relaxed into who I am and have long since given up being sinful (unless you include chocolate).

Now I feel I have a chance for wisdom, even though I have to guard against my attitudes which often seem to be atrophying into the same intolerances as my parents. The downside is that the very intolerances I argued against when I was younger are surfacing in me and I am constantly aware of this change in myself.

I put it down to a withering of the brain as it is inconceivable to me that my parents could always have been right about things. I work hard at trying to retain my liberality of belief.

A personal viewpoint of the ageing process?

Of course it is, surely personal viewpoints are the only ones that are valid?

So I make no apology for the personal aspect of this piece. It is written, not so much as a piece of advice, as a testament of faith. It is personal confirmation that good things can come out of turbulence but that is made much easier by accepting yourself first.

This piece was written in the spirit of nil desperandum. If I can come out blinking into the sunlight of a serene old age from the turmoil of my past, then anyone can.

The bliss of finally accepting who you are.

For the most part, my hard-won old age confidence, my loss of allure if you like, means I am free to have grey hair and to be somewhat more cuddly than I was (a euphemism for chubby). Now I can wear enormous knickers, droopy cardigans, and strange hats in which to garden.

I am free to do all of the above whilst wearing comfortable shoes and not giving two hoots what anyone thinks about me. That freedom, the freedom of not having to strive to be eternally young, for me, is utterly priceless.

It is a freedom that was taken for granted in the past, a freedom remembered from a more genuine age than our own shallow, image obsessed society.

Am I being honest about enjoying old age?

Does this sound like so much bravado to you? Well, perhaps there is some of that here.

Being honest I must admit there are times when I fear what is yet to come. I am in love with life, in love with being alive but occasionally I do fear dying. I'm not afraid of being dead ... just the process of getting into that condition.

I have no driving need to leave some sort of legacy, to be remembered, for most of us are forgotten in the end and that is just another fact of a mortal existence. Only the great leave a legacy … only the vain believe they should too.

Okay, so now I look as though I've had a bit of a hard paper-round and I must admit to sometimes wishing I did not have writer's thighs but those are small considerations and for the most part I have a strong desire to age naturally so I am content with how I am.

That final, hard-won, contentment is, for me, the silver lining of old age.

Me at 63 - don't forget the camera puts pounds on! My husband said to say 'kilos'.
Me at 63 - don't forget the camera puts pounds on! My husband said to say 'kilos'. | Source

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Comments 42 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I hate to break this to you, but your allure is still there, and very appealing.

In plain language, you are still very much a babe!


PWalker281 5 years ago

Reading your hub made me smile as I have moved through similar stages in life. Like you, I wouldn't give up the confidence I now have in myself at 61 for the youthful appearance I had in earlier years. It's a wonderful time to be alive and the inner peace makes the years of struggle worth it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Rated up and beautiful!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

love the line about your kids being your heart walking outside you.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

Crone is such a cruel word! You look happy and at peace with yourself and that's what counts! :)


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Will - you ol' smooth talker, you! Many thanks for stopping by with such a kind comment ... you've made one old bat's day.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Bless you for your thoughts, PWalker ... glad we are both singing from the same hymn sheet. I suspect there are a lot of us on the same wavelength out there (apologies for the overload of metaphors!)


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi cathylynn ... thanks for taking time to leave a comment. I have often thought that that is the best way to warn people that that is what having kids is all about. You die a thousand deaths for them before you actually physically die ... and that is when everything goes relatively smoothly in their lives!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hello Feline ... nice to see you here. I agree 'crone' has bad connotations but I used it specifically to try and rehabilitate it. It really means 'wise elder woman' and I am determined to try and turn its image around ...lol.

And yes, this is one crone who is finally at peace with herself and is very happy. And the darling hubbers who comment on my hubs and connect with me all add to that joy ...


writeronline 5 years ago

This is beautifully written Angie, (imho). I also particularly like the line about your children being your heart walking outside you. I have two adult sons, but they'll always be my 'children'. So I know how you feel, but have never seen it expressed better.

As to the allure of the older woman, I met the girl who was to become my wife when she introduced herself to m;, she at age 14, me at 16. We've been married for 41 years, happily, and still in love ( so much so I even wrote a hub about it...).

At age 26, she was as beautiful as you were, from your pic,(she had the same dancer's legs, and danced a great deal), but for much of our married life, I used to kid with her about how appealing I found 'older women'.

In more recent years, she's morphed into one, (I always knew she would) and my dreams of living with an older woman have come true. And I love it, (I always knew I would..).

Besides Angie, you know what they say, "Age is just mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.' :)


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

Is that what crone really means? I applaud your efforts at rehabilitating the word! :)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Angie, I have grown to love you and respect you for the immeasurable facets of your personality and talents, and the pictures that I have seen have confirmed in me my knowledge that you were, and are a beautiful person. Physically and emotionally and philosophically.

But hell, woman, I have seen some great legs! There are one or two hubs I love opening when I know someone has commented, for the beauty of the opening picture: Nellieanna’s Plaisir d’Amour with the parasol in Battenberg lace (I promise I had no influence on that choice, and neither did Ghastly Prendy.) http://hubpages.com/literature/Plaisir-dAmour

Svetlana's Men are buses a man of my dreams: http://hubpages.com/literature/Men-Are-Buses-A-Man...

And now this one. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder beheld and Wow!!!

I lovely and beautifully written hub, buttons clicked appropriately.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Angie - thank you~ I feel like I know you much better now. Only thing is,- you're surely don't qualify for cronyhood. :-) I love your recollections of the decades, though. I hated the horrid 30s too - though for different reasons. They were so - - dowdy, wondering what happened to the girl I was. Now, I'm pleased that she took her place in history! I wouldn't go back either, unless to make some wiser choices. But who knows where those might have led - and "wise", by whose definition? I had no real idea who I was then and was far too directed by others who never really knew me.

But back to YOU. Those legs surely go on forever! How I've envied long legs like that! Mine got shapely from lots of walking, since I didn't drive till I as 40 - but are a bit too short. You were gorgeous then and still are! The overall look of you now says very comfortable in your skin, confident and at peace. Good for you.

It's a delightful look at the years which have brought you here.

(Thanks, Ian - it's an honor to be favorably mentioned with Angie and Svetlana!)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I am beginning to think that all the beautiful women are gathered on Hub Pages, waiting to enchant and to offer good advice... a foreign language to me, but Hey Ho!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Enchantment and good advice are foreign languages to you, Ian????? Naw!!!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Nellie, I know I've said it before, but HP was brown sticky stuff to me for a good while, but I must admit I am loving it again, for all the reasons that you know of.

By the way, I think Mike may (just may) join our grave party ("Grave" as in noun, not "grave" as in adjective).


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah, dear Ian. I'm so happy you've become more comfortable in HP. It was a vast wilderness to me at first, though I was helped by having an ally who persuaded me to join and then I had the good fortune to have De Greek be my first "follow and fan" even before I'd ventured a single word - even my profile was very brief and non-revealing.

Following and fanning were things I had NO inkling about - but it was enticing. His own wide following was enthusiastic, so they sort of adopted this odd-ball introvert and soon I thought HP was an exception to the impression I'd had about gatherings of "special interest groups", each trying to outdo the others and all that nonsense. I hesitated to join because of that, in fact, but Merlin was persuasive enough to stir my eleemosynary instincts to come on in to support his work.

Now if Mike does join in the graveshift (hehe) - that will be fun and add ever so much class to it! (right, there will be nothing 'grave' about that party!)

And I truly think Angie should be a major part of it, don't you? - just allowing us to banter on about it here should give her automatic diva status there - not as though she needed any other recommendation but being Angie!


michael ely profile image

michael ely 5 years ago from Scotland

Hi Angie, Good article. i hope you enjoy your 'cronism'.

All the best. Michael.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I could not face eternity in the grave without Angie or you or several others.

Let's party!

Oops! My British Reserve left me for a moment there, but I'm better now.

Phew! That was close.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

My darlings! You have been having a party without me!!! Sorry for the late reply but it would appear that HP has started withholding things from me and I didn't know you had all started the wine and nibbles without me!

(Excuse all the exclamation marks but I am outraged and deeply annoyed with HP ... I only found all this chat by checking through all my hubs comments as I realised HP can no longer be trusted. And they keep dropping my author score for no apparent reason .... grrr).

So to all of you, my darling TL/ delicious Nellieanna and delightful Michael - a huge thank you for your oh so kind comments and positivity. I am usually nervous of putting too much of my real self on HP but I get soooo ticked off with ageism. When you look at all the headings on HP under 'Age' you would think there is nothing left for us but decrepitude and death. Grrr ... again.

So as TL says 'Let's party' ... sod British reserve ... let's go American! I love you all .......x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

It is strange what filters through, isn't it Angie. Sometimes I think that no one has made a comment, and then I check and there's something.

Wossamattawivdem?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Angie & Ian - I long ago quit relying on HP email notifications for new comments or other things given by others which need my responses & acknowledgement! For one thing, notices of those were always late to be posted as emails, and it was bothersome replying to them, having to move back and forth between my email account and HP page.

I happily discovered a better way; - now I just open "My Account" at the top of any page I have open in HP, and right there, I can check "Comments" under "Hubs". It lists all the current comments to any of my hubs and they are posted on there in a very timely way.

To see any new "Fan Mail", I just look in "My Account" under "Activity". There are other things one can track under "My Account"; - but being able to track current posts to one's hubs and kind fan mail needing approval is really valuable!

It's also convenient to check "Hubbers you Follow" under "Activity" to see recent posts from them. I still try to check out the notices of those in my email, - but if & when I am involved otherwise and those notices are missed when just posted, - they so quickly slide down the list of emails and get buried. When new ones are constantly arriving, it can become intimidating to try to go back and find older ones. The "Hubbere You Follow" list also shows their most recent post and how long ago it was. That is very helpful.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

OOPs. You're "going American" and will prolly think we all spell it "Hubbere". No, no. That's just Texan. Surely you're not quite ready to "go Texan" - - are you?

By the way - you probably know this - but to check back on your own comments on others' hubs if you want to see if they've responded, your Hubtivity lists everywhere you've made comments - for some period of time; I'm not sure if it's forever. hehe. I try to keep up so I only look back into that history for a bit.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I was curious so I checked to see how much is stored on "Hubtivity". Mine has 44 pages and goes back 8 weeks. HP trivia for the day. So you don't think I have no life, please be aware that I didn't go through each page one at a time to find that out. I went to the second page and changed the page # in the URL 10 or so pages at a time till it didn't go forward. When I changed it to 50, it stopped at 44. hehe But I am snoopy enough to want to know. I missed a calling as a detective. :-) And I care!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I'm voting for Nellie to be the next Miss Marple.

Is there NOTHING you can't do with technology, woman?

You're so clever.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Uh- huh - lots of stuff!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi Angie,

This was so well written and I loved it! Your photos are beautiful. I wouldn't change the wisdom and self acceptance I feel today. It is so much more "peaceful" than even not that long ago. I'm looking forward to my 50's being much better than 40's. Gosh, it feels strange even saying that, ha. Take care,

Sharyn


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi TL and Nellie - they've done it again! There I was thinking no-one cared and here are you two gossiping away like good 'uns!!! Will defo. take your advice, Nell and check the comments heading on my account. That's how I found all this going on ... Grrr, I'm spitting feathers here! As you can tell by all the exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! Well, I 'm glad you two had a nice chat anyway. My best love to you both. x

Dear Sharyn ... sorry for the neglect and many grovelling thanks for your kind comments on my photos. I must own up here and say I was vain enough to get my old man to take one that hid several of my chins though. So glad you are looking forward to your 50's ... despite being widowed my 50's did actually turn out to be quite a blast later on. Hugs ...


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

Angie Jardine - with age comes many things and among them is the ability to like oneself. Once that kicks in, then look out world - here you come.

Great hub looking forward tdo reading more.

q


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi Quester ... thank you for your comment ... I think that is certainly true for me, thank goodness. It is very sad thought to think that it may not happen for some people.

Nice to see you here ... and I hope you enjoy some of my other offerings. I don't think they are altogether a straight forward look at life ... or maybe they are and everyone else is out of kilter : )


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

You will like her writing, Questa. It's good. It's eclectic. It's really worthwhile.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Daaahhhhling! I've never been eclectic before! Does it hurt? x


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Daaahhhhling! I've never been eclectic before! Does it hurt? x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

It only hurts if you have en esoteric leaning.

Mwah!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Ah, the straight jacket helps with that ... chortle!


Nadine 5 years ago

I am not quite into my sixties. I was just telling a friend who is in her sixties about the crone stage of life and how I am happy in it. Everything is better. This idea of time is just that- an idea.I have had the pleasure of knowing several people who pay no attention to birthdays or worry about the aging process and are doing very well into their 80s. It isn't too common but it is an inspiration to me. I have never felt my age and don't plan to. By the way, yoga helps.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Many thanks, Nadine, for stopping by to comment on this hub. It's nice to know that there are other women out there who are enjoying later life.

My (slight) problem is that I cannot keep on working for as long as I once used to. I always forget and by the time I stop it is already too late and I have overtaxed my energy levels.

Other than that life is great!


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

You are beautiful! Crone-hood looks good on you and as a fellow crone, I can tell you that you have written the story well. I love being a crone. It's a place of freedom, as you so accurately described; a time of shedding all that phoney covering we wear and getting down to the basics of being real. I wouldn't go backwards if I could. This hub is wonderful and refreshing and well, just a cool tribute to a wonderful place in life. Voted up and awesome.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi lrc7815 … or may I call you lrc? :)

Many thanks for the very kind words! Like you I do think there are advantages to being a crone … sadly the word has unfortunate connotations and I am still trying to grow my warts … but the actual state is wonderfully liberating.

I’m just off to water my cannabis plant now (for any reading SWAT teams that was a joke!) and practise my spitting.

Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment - dear ol’ HP forgot to let me know I had a comment on this hub.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

call me Linda, or, anything else you want. I don't really care. lol

I've learned to love the wrinkles and warts. Bring em' on. As long as I can speak my mind without worrying too much about what everyone else thinks, a few "uglies" don't matter to me. Enjoy your weekend.

Your sis in crone-hood.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi again lrc … I am getting the definite feeling that something at HP is broke. I have only just found your reply … they don’t appear to be letting me know when I have comments now. This is the second one I have discovered today!

Thank you for designating yourself my sis in crone-hood … it would seem that you are enjoying it as much as I am : )


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

I agree with you about accepting crone-hood. I stopped coloring my hair. It is now salt and pepper--more salt than pepper. I feel so much freer not trying to pretend to be something I'm not. BTW, you still look great--just great in a different way.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 2 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

How could I not reply to such a kind comment?! I quite like the thought of crone-hood ... it hints at wisdom, though not especially true in my case. I’ll just have to wing it : )

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