Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Crones and Cronies

The main reason for my holiday last week was to attend the Annual Gathering of Growing Old Disgracefully, where I go to meet with the crones and cronies who are members of this organisation for women. I don’t think it is amiss to give it an annual plug here on my blog. Who knows, I might attract a new member or two - we do have them in many different parts of the world.

But first I should say something about the word "crone". I used to accept the common dictionary definition of "an ugly, frightening, witchlike old woman". But l have since become aware of a quite different meaning and culture attaching to the word, which I find much more acceptable. This can perhaps briefly be expressed as a crone being a woman in her third age who is to be honoured for her long life, her strength and her wisdom. And in our case, as I once wrote about our members, "women who are colourful, interesting, vibrant and full of panache"!

Our annual get-together, organised each year in a different venue by one of our local groups, has grown over the years from a one-night to a three-night event. The programme comprises one full day of workshops, with a choice of three or four offered by members, in each of three sessions. Subjects include such things as writing, drawing and painting, music, singing and dance, various kinds of massage and other therapies, and more serious subjects such as How to Be Happy, Roaring Through the Glass Ceiling, The Generation Gap, Living Well With Less, and Ideas and Inventions.

On the second full day we have our Business Meeting in the morning, and the option in the afternoon of a coach trip to see the local sights, or free time to spend as we will. On all three evenings we are offered some form of entertainment, frequently participative, and we fill in all the gaps with meeting and talking to old friends, making new ones, and laughing a great deal. It is always very hard to say goodbye on the last morning and tear ourselves away, exhausted, but stimulated and refreshed.

You are never too young to start growing old disgracefully ….. in fact, I would say you need to start young, just as you need to develop good eating habits early on, in order to live a healthy, happy life in old age. You can find out more about our aims and ethos, and also how to join, on our website here.

8 comments:

Sharon J said...

"You're never too young to start growing old disgracefully" - what a pearl of wisdom that is, Judith :)

Mehreen said...

That organization is a great idea.. I visited its website and end up thinking that, when I'm a grandma, I want to be like these women :) enterprising, active, with a keen interest to continue learning things...

This is a good way of giving this part of the society the chance to express theirselves, to enjoy life, share their wisdom and be happy. You've lived lots of things and you have a lot to say. It would be a mistake to leave all that wisdom in the armchair in front of the TV.

That love for life is contagious, Judith. :)

Vita said...

Hello. Your Crones and Cronies sound a bit like the Red Hat Society, which is very popular here in Oregon. Definitely liked your Crone definition.

Judith said...

Yes, Vita, we know about the Red Hat Society, and have a lot in common with them. I think they are activated by a similar sort of spirit. Are you a Red Hat?

herhimnbryn said...

Crones of the world unite......you have nothing to but you inhibitions!
Great post J. I found the following link a few months ago, what do you think?


http://www.oldwomensproject.org/index.htm

herhimnbryn said...

That should read...... nothing to lose but your inhibitions!

DellaB said...

Hi Judith, thanks for posting this, very thought inspiring.

I have a picture of an early invention I think you will like too, I'll let you know when I have it up to be seen.

Judith said...

I have had a look at the Old Women's Project and am full of admiration for them. Their website is full of stuff which accords well with the ethos of Growing Old Disgracefully, although we are not a campaigning organisation. They seem to have done a great deal for only three women.

I particularly liked this statement:"The word 'old' is a statement of fact, not a matter of shame. We claim it, believing that as long as it is humiliating to be called old, it will be humiliating to be old." I have been claiming it as well for a long time now. And their tips on how to reply to ageist remarks are great too.