“How long have you lived in Australia?,” asked the Justice of the Peace as he certified some documents for me today. “Almost fifteen years, this time,” I replied. “But I lived here in the early 1990s for a couple of years too, before moving to the UK and living there for nine years.”
He shook his head. “You only look like you are 25 now.” I laughed and replied I definitely didn’t feel 25.
As I left his office I thought about when I was 25. I had moved from Michigan, where I had grown up, to Washington, D.C., where I lived and worked for four years and then on to Sydney, Australia. I felt young and beautiful and adventurous. I also felt worldly and wise in the way that only the young can. I was told I was an adult, but I didn’t feel grown up.
Because at 25 most people haven’t really grown into who they are yet. They are still trying on personas and trying out life. It takes life experience to make a grown-up person.
With another twenty-five years of life under my belt, I feel like I’ve finally grown up. I’ve grown into my skin. I’m finally comfortable with who I am and don’t really care if anyone else likes it or not.
I talked to a dear friend of mine today, someone I haven’t talked to for more than 20 years. We talked a bit about this — how 25 years ago I hadn’t grown into myself. At the time, he could see my potential; he could see what I might grow into, but I’ve needed time to actually do it. Talking to him today, he could see how my life experience has turned me into the woman I am now.
That’s the beauty of ageing that rarely gets talked about. Instead, ageing is presented as something that women in particular, are meant to fight.
In a world where we are told young is better, skinny is better, dumbed down is better – I say ‘no way’. The women in my life who make my life richer are older, wiser, of all body shapes and smart as anything. We’ve all grown into our own skins. We’re not out to impress a boy or a boss or anyone else. We love who we are and are ok standing in that fact, on our own.
I wouldn’t want to be 25 again for anything. I love every bit of hard-earned wisdom I’ve gained, I love every minute of learning and have no regrets for my life so far. Everything I’ve ever done has been a stepping stone that has helped me get here, now.
Another friend who is in her early 70s told me I’m just beginning to step into my cronedom. The word ‘crone’, like the word ‘witch’, has come to have a terrible connotation in our society today. And yet both words in times gone past meant a wise woman who stands fully in her own power. Crones were traditionally older witches.
I’m happy to claim the title of witch now. And I’m more than happy to begin my journey into cronedom. The old adage is ‘with age, comes wisdom’. Bring on the next 25 years.