I wrote a few weeks back about my 50th birthday, this post is kind of a continuation from that.
Due to being stuck at a certain phase of life due to trauma I have never really celebrated life phases, becoming a mother – so moving from my maiden stage of life to the mother stage, becoming a grandmother (I was 42) and when I reached the menopausal era that just happened. No celebrations for these life phases.
Of course the healing therapies that I took part in really shifted me from victim to survivor, and then to who I am now. And who I am now is a 50 year old woman, been married for 31 years, have 3 adult kids (30, 28, 24) and 1 granddaughter (8). As I turned 50 I realised I’d reached cronehood.
And reaching this period of my life I spent time reflecting. About life. About loss. About grief. Realising life is very definitely for living. Understanding that we are steering our own lives and directing our own fate. We may not have control over everything that happens to us, but how we react is all us.
Realising I am now in my crone years I began to understand a few things about myself. A big takeaway for me is that I have allowed other people to dictate my happiness when that is mine to decide. I have allowed so called friends to use me, to abuse my generosity and willingness to help. One friend in particular whom I’ve known for over 15 years treat me appallingly. No matter what other friends and my family said I stayed loyal. But one day, when my own personal life hit a tumultuous time she turned her back on me because I dared to be friends with someone she doesn’t like.
I’m a believer in giving people chances. I probably give some people more chances than they deserve. But what really got me riled was how this so called friend was all over social media, and in real life, preaching love, light, harmony and forgiveness. Yet my own act of love and forgiveness to this other person was seen as a betrayal. I was lied about and criticised, and then blocked everywhere.
It was deja vu for me because this isn’t the first time this so called friend has done this to me. If I do something she doesn’t like this is what she does. And yet I remained loyal. Much to the chagrin of my family and other friends.
So as I have reached cronehood I have shed my skin once more. I’ve decided that my life, my rules is a good motto to follow. Who I let in is my choice and won’t be dictated to by some hypocritical liar who gets to piss all over my life and tries to dictate who I should be friends with. And yes, she gets to choose this for her own life too. I respect and honour that. If she chooses to not have me in her life, then so be it. But lies and games are not needed.
Cronehood, for me, has been quite the adventure so far. Opportunities have presented themselves to me that I’ve never even considered an option before. That sense of mothering has now taken a back seat, yes it is still present, but it watches from afar. Ready to step back in if needed, ready to guide and help. Cronehood isn’t the death sentence I once imagined it would be, it is so much more than I ever imagined it would and could be.
The crone years have brought me to a place where I can offer up my own distinctive talents and use them to help others. There are plans in the pipeline, being finalised and fine tuned. On some levels they are already in use, but hitting the going public button is taking a little longer. Chronic illness has played a part in this. But realising that I get sick when I do too much, I stepped back and let life flow with ease and grace. Younger me would’ve been chomping at the bit, pushing my body to its limits, burning the candle at both ends. This new me stepped back and rested. And watched. And learnt some valuable lessons too.
To be a crone is often to be viewed as a wise woman, a healer, a witch who is older. I believe cronehood incorporates all of those things and much, much more. It certainly isn’t anything to be afraid of or ashamed of. It’s all about embracing who I am. Who I have become and who I will become. I’m very much present in my life, conscious of who I am and who I portray to the outside world. I’m in control of my own life, my own destiny.
Cronehood is a stage of life that many women are denied, so I plan to embrace it and live life to the fullest.
Any illness will have bad days. Whether physical or mental. Right now I’m having bad days from both.
Coping is a struggle, but it’s a necessity and finding what’s right for you has to come from you. Tools, ideas, suggestions, techniques, they’re ten a penny. There’s an abundance of them online, in books, in magazines, advice from therapists, etc. But you have to find your own coping strategy.
This can be relatively easy, or it can be hard. We are all different and we all react to stress factors differently. But one thing I have found is listening to my body. That said, not everyone can tune in during a time of crisis.
Half the battle can often be getting the gremlins in your head to pipe down for long enough to hear yourself think, and to decide how you’re going to tackle the black cloud that’s hanging over you.
This isn’t a do it this way post. What works for me won’t necessarily work for the next person. This post is just a quiet reminder that this will pass.
Movement is an excellent way to loosen up the tension in your body. You don’t have to have great moves either, just in case you’re worried about not being a natural dancer.
You don’t have to be fully able bodied either. I have a disability and I move what I can when I can. Granted, it’s not the same as a full on dance, but it’s what I can manage and that’s what’s important.
Whatever you manage to do is always the right way. Your body, your rules.
This is a great exercise to do at the start of the week, even the start of each day. It really helps to bring your stress levels down too, so why not give it a try and move into your Monday, and your week, with a happy smile.
I was reading an article yesterday about how we should embrace our childhood passions in order to help us navigate our careers, present or future.
My childhood passion was to be a Jedi knight.
At first I laughed because how could I ever follow my childhood dream? But then I got thinking about what a Jedi knight encompasses. Upholding certain laws. Embracing the energy of the universe and using it for good. Fighting evil.
Whilst there are certain aspects of this particular passion that I cannot ever hope to emulate, there are at least one or two qualities I can embrace and even incorporate into my career.
Sometimes we over complicate our lives. We over think plans or ideas and then dismiss them as impossible. Just because something is easy, or is simple, doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.
If you aren’t living your childhood dream it’s maybe worth revisiting that passion. You never know, you could rework a once cherished idea and make it work for your future.
There’s a huge push for digital detoxing right now. I get it, really, I do. People do become disconnected from their family and friends due to spending too much time on social media, checking emails, snapping selfies, and so on. The kind of detox that is popular right now might appeal to people who spend their days online, on their smart phones, engaging with everone except their family.
But what about those of us who rely on screens to engage with others because a disability prevents us from socialising outside of our homes? I am not referring to lockdown life, I am referring to people, such as mysef, who have to spend huge swathes of time at home because a disability prevents us from leaving home.
And what about those of us who rely on tablets, IPads, smartphones etc to read? Someone like me, for instance, who has severe issues with joint pain, swelling, and even dislocations, what then? I know I can’t always hold a book, that’s where my kindle is a life saver. And there are times when I am confined to my bed, my phone is vital in keeping me connected with the outside world.
I have a smart watch that I use for a variety of reasons, quite a lot of them health related. My screens are a lifeline for me, when I am bed-bound I rely on them. I haven’t found an alternative solution that would enable me to have as good a quality of life as I have when my disability bites hard.
I don’t think we should fall into the demonising screens trap. I think we have to use our common sense. We have to establish whether a screen detox is something that would be beneficial to us, or would we be doing it just to follow a trend. This demonising of screens seems to be the latest thing we should all do. We find ourselves portrayed as slaves to our screens, but the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we really a slave to them?
I have yet to see any articles or self help books welcoming the use of screens for those of us who have limited mobility and the like. We seem to be forgotten when it comes to being represented in these mediums. This can often leave us feeling confused by what we are reading, we are as keen as anyone else to improve our lives, but often get left feeling despondent by reading that our lifeline is really bad for us and we shouldn’t really use it as much as we do.
Is something that is a lifeline to us such a bad thing?