The Crone Apprenticeship

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I thought I would talk about why I call my blog “The Crone’s Apprentice”.

The short answer is because I am not, as yet, a crone.

The longer answer is this:

When I started this blog a year and a half ago, I had just turned 50. In some countries that milestone is the marker for the transition from being a mother figure to being a mature, wise, and older women once venerated with the title of crone. I think this line of thinking comes from ancient times when many women died in childbirth so making to the ripe old age of 50 was a feat.

When you consider that today the average woman’s life span is 80 years and more and more women are living well beyond that, 50 is really closer to middle age than the end of life. I could hardly call myself a crone at 50.

Yet there are some characteristic that happen to a women (men too) when she gets into her 50’s that would suggest a transition away from youth. The first and most obvious is appearance. We ain’t spring chicks any more! Our bodies are sagging, our hair is graying and our joints are starting to seize. Luckily science and good health care practices have helped us stave off the degeneration and while we may notice the start of the inevitable aging process, we can stay in our little bubble of denial for a few more years.

But for most of us it’s the internal changes in our 50’s that mark the beginning of our transition from youthful mother to aged crone. First is menopause, the end of our ability to create life and really at this stage aren’t we really relieved that that is finally over? Whether you chose to have children or not, losing the monthlies is so liberating!

There are other internal changes too. Maybe you have started to question certain things about your life to this point. Maybe, upon reflection, you are dissatisfied with were you have landed. Maybe you are questioning were you are going? Whatever the questions, you realize that it’s time to get prepared for the next stage of your life.

For most of use who had children, they are probably grown or at least soon to leave the nest. We have more time for ourselves, for our mates, for dreaming dreams that are self-ish because we no longer have to consider our dependants first.

With more time to focus on ourselves, we also start thinking about our mortality. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What legacy will I leave? With these questions come a new relationship with ourselves, our spirituality and our place in this world. This is where the apprenticeship comes in and for some of us we enter into a quest for meaning, knowledge and wisdom to help us transition to our final stage of life.

If we are lucky we will acquire a few teachers along the way. If we are true to ourselves and strive for an authentic existence we will shed some habits that no longer serve us along the way, and if we are compassionate human beings, we will take our life experiences and learned skills and generously pass on our knowledge to others.

Today, the ages between 50 and 65 can be the most fulfilling time in any adults life. If you have spent your youth wisely and arrived in relative good health then no matter your economic status, you should have enough acquired life skills and knowledge to parlay them into an empowered, dream realizing life.

The crone apprenticeship years to me is like a second chance at being young but with out the angst. By 50 we should have achieved all the things that society expected of us. We worked, paid taxes, had children, had careers, contributed to our communities and generally were decent citizens. Now we can looked inward, access our lives and decide what we want to continue with, what we never got a chance to achieve and create a new bucket list to experience while we are still energized and strong enough to actually make them happen.

At this age we are the masters of our lives, go out and enjoy the pinnacle of your achievements. Relish in your strengths for the next decade or so. When we finally make it to the stage of old age, we will be that much wiser and more able to become the final incarnation of our life’s journey and that is the insightful guide for those who come behind us and then we can embrace the title of crone.

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