In an article from February 2021 the academic and broadcaster Mary Beard says how she is frequently branded a witch, which she believes is to discredit her and older women generally because people are fearful of them. I think she’s right. People are fearful of older women because of the confidence they exude.
As I have mentioned in May I turned 60 and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. All menopausal issues have gone. I feel like I have enough energy now. I am bold enough to say when I’m tired and take myself to bed. No one is going to ask me what I’m going to do with my life because it is too late for me to start a career. I don’t even care now that I did not have a career because I like where I am in life.
It probably helps that I do have a good life with enough money, a good house, children who are settled enough. In fact I have realised as I write this that I have reached the “enough” stage of my life. I’ve got rid of some of the issues that held me back through some expert QEC counselling so that helps too. I don’t feel like I have to say I am “x years young.” I want to say “f*** it why didn’t any tell me being 60 was so good”. But then are we afraid to say that reaching that last 1/4-1/3 of our lives is good?
In Caitlin Moran’s boo, More Than a Woman, she asks that question why didn’t anyone say what being a woman is like? Why shroud womanhood in mystery? I have to say menopause would have been less of a trial if other women had been more open about what they’d been through.
I think that the “witch” accusations and the “not being told it could be this good” come from that fear of having someone about that sees life as “enough”. It is threatening. It needs to be halted. In some cultures there is talk of “the crone” but I wonder if that is just halcyon days, rose-tinted glasses, and actually never was. When one looks at the way older women were treated through the centuries it is appalling. Thank goodness no one does burn us at the stake after calling us witches.
I will ponder the quote from Mary Beard as I rejoice in being 60, in my health, in my confidence, in my freedom, while it lasts.