Tomorrow I turn 50. And you know, the more I think about it, the wider the silly smile on my face gets.
Tomorrow I will be eligible to join the Red Hat Society.
Tomorrow I will be allowed to sit at the virtual "adults table" with my friends at O.B.O.D.
Tomorrow I can begin calling myself a crone.
Far from a wizened, terrifying hag depicted in stories designed to keep little children shivering under the covers at night, the crone of the ancient Celts is Annis, the keeper of wisdom and the old ways.
She is Badb, an Irish shapeshifting warrior goddess, guide through the cycles of birth and death, of inspiration.
She is Ceridwen, keeper of the cauldron.
She is the Cailleach, the Scottish goddess of seasonal rites and weather magic.
She is Macha, the Irish wild woman who battles against injustice to children and women.
She is Nicneven, goddess of Winter.
And she is the fearsome Morrigan, the Celtic crow goddess who understands the nature of Death.
This has been a year filled with transitions. A daughter who returned home to temporarily roost until she attains the degree that will help her fly the nest. A son preparing to leave high school and navigating the stormy waters of first love. A new mother-in-law to take part in our family traditions and introduce us to a few of her own. And a father who passed from this life to the next.
Turning 50...just another transition. A good one. I figure every birthday that arrives and I'm still breathing is a good birthday! Since I was 5 and diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, every birthday where I'm still on my own two feet and able to flip the proverbial bird at this disease is a victory. :) Even if it does take a small medical army, a cocktail of modern medical pharmaceuticals, and a few spare parts to keep this body moving, I'm grateful.
I think that's the big thing. To arrive at this age grateful, unbowed, unashamed to show my grey hairs, laugh lines, and most of all, the scars life's battles leave behind.
This is a great age to be. In my 40s, the need to care about what others think of me began to drop away. In my 50s, I expect I'll lose it altogether. Hee! This is going to be fun! I know I'm supposed to be older, wiser, more mature...but in a way I'm returning to the freedom of the very young. Shedding the trappings - and traps - society has placed me in as a woman.
Now excuse me while the Morrigan and I go lift a few pints. We have a glorious battle to plan. :)
by Judith TreeCrone
Contrary to the sanctions of a culture
that worships and glorifies youth
The crone years are not simply
the interlude between life and death
These are her omnipotent years
These autumnal years
when her womb is fallow
but she continues to give birth
from her fruitful creative self
Her nurturing spirit comes not from hormones
but from her wisdom of choosing to live fully
Both her inner and outer vision see new possibilities
Her awareness of her connectedness
to all of creation
She cherishes the poignancy of the sunrise
on the horizon of each new day
She embraces the quiet of the darkness time
when she shares her harvest of life stories
This is the legacy she bequeaths
Be who you are
Trust who you are today