Friday, June 08, 2007

Wiseacre or Wisewoman: a dilemma for the older woman

Boy, elderhood can sure sneak up on a girl. Here I was, looking in the mirror one day and seeing that semi-hot number from my past grinning back at me, sure of her charm, aware of her youth, not too upset about her body. Blink and that Ms Kitty goes away, to be replaced by an image with wrinkles, chin hairs, and the beginnings of a jowl. Arrrgggh! Where did that younger me disappear to? Am I now more Madam Kitty (well, that does have a ring to it!) than Miz Kitty?

So, yes, it's my birthday today. I was born six months after Pearl Harbor, on a rainy early summer day in Chehalis, Washington, much to my parents' delight, since they had lost two babies earlier in premature births. Today means Medicare, senior rates on the ferry, and AARP supplemental insurance policies. None of this is bad. I am glad to be 65. But I am pondering what it means in some other areas of my life.

During the brown bag discussion, one correspondent let me know that my Wise Woman persona was immensely irritating and drove the writer crazy. Boy, did that peg me, though I hadn't realized it until then. Thanks to that writer for the insight, but now I have to think about how to handle the wisdom I've accumulated over the 65 years since June 8, 1942, paltry as it may be.

Croneliness is supposed to be a virtue, according to some of my friends of a certain age, who delight in the label "crone". I frankly think the word is awful, reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel's captor, and don't want to apply it to myself. But I do have all this life experience to hand out and have to figure out how to do that, successfully.

Wiseacre Woman is another persona I am blessed with (who said Geminis had only two personalities? I have several). But I've found that WAW, though funny and lighthearted, may not be as credible as WW, even though the latter pushes buttons all over the place. (Apologies to my Gen X friends and relations who experience this from me.)

So on my 65th birthday, I am pondering how to be both wisely credible and respectful of others' personality/generational attributes. I am never going to be someone who calls someone down by name with criticisms of their opinions or deeds, except in the privacy of my own life, where the cats are my only audience. Well, maybe the president when he's on TV, but he can't hear me.

I'm not exactly conflict-averse, but I do have this cave I like to explore when others are ranting. In there, I think about other, related things I might say about the conflict that would be helpful without my having to come down on one side or the other. And then I come out and say them. Unfortunately, this isn't always hugely appreciated!

Well, gotta go take some ibuprofen for my 65 year old aches and pains. All you young folks play nice, you hear?


Chalicechick said...

(((Wise Woman persona was immensely irritating and drove the writer crazy)))

Smile. I've gotten a few letters like that.

Nobody calls me wise, but in the same ball park.

Happy Birthday!


uuMomma said...

Well, I was thinking I'd finally post about my recently passing into middle age (I think of 45 as my entry into middle age, thanks to the fact that both my folks are still living and each had a parent that lived well into their 9th decade), but you've said it all.

happy birthday to another gemini--which I think means, as twins, we get a pass to be both Wise Woman and WiseAcre Woman. I embrace both, and, like you, find it best to retreat and think things through while others are in the thick of it. I like to think there's wisdom there. We can't all just barrel in, now, can we? Let's leave that to the young and young at heart. Pass the ibuprofin, would you?

Joel Monka said...

Amongst the Pagans I hang out with, "Crone" is an honored title.

ms. kitty said...

I know it is, Joel, and I know I'm sort of rejecting a compliment when I turn away from it. I am not sure how I got the negative vibes from a simple word, probably from old fairy tales, but I don't use it for myself, though I love and respect my friends who do rejoice in it.

Joel said...

(In my best Orbison voice...) "Only the cronely... bum bum bum bum-be-doo-wah..."

Remind me to stay away from your oven.

ms. kitty said...

Neff, you are too much.

LinguistFriend said...

Happy birthday to you, youngster, having been born a year and a half earlier than you (winter solstice, 1940). By the way, I told CC early on that the brown bag business was a type of discussion to stay away from.
Even after my bringing up a black child and my father having taught for some time at a historically black college (I bless them for my use of their library during my childhood), my experience is that such discussions are rarely either productive or reasonable, which is sad.
My impression is that you have a very useful carry-over from your counselor experience to the ministerial role, plus having lived through marriage, child-rearing, divorce, and personal reconstruction afterwards. That's a lot of what there is to life that causes pain that a minister can help, is my guess, although it comes in highly individualized form. It may be dangerous in some circles to call it wisdom. Every now and then there does come along someone whom
I (at least) really irritate, and the hard part can be to decide whether their point is well-taken.
I am spending a week sweltering in the fairly deep South, reading about current medical issues and occasionally taking a break with Metzger's book on NT canon-formation. That is a fascinating eye-opener, which I should have read long ago.

Lizard Eater said...

Star Wars 9: Attack of the CRONES!!! AAAAAAGGGGHHH!

Thanks for getting me thinking about this. It jumped to my blog. (Hmm, we should have a name for that ... when someone posts something, and you start thinking, and then blog about it yourself, and so on ...)

Earthbound Spirit said...

Many happy returns of the day to you, Ms. Kitty. I wish you joy.

Mile High Pixie said...

Yay yay yay!!! Happy birthday, Miz Kitty! I've found that life has only gotten better as I've aged. Sometimes (and I know this is sick sick sick), I peer in the mirror and look for grey hairs, just to see, and feel a little down now and then when I don't find any.

My born-again Pagan mom likes "crone", and I personally like Wiseacre Woman. How about Wiseacre Wisewoman? You get a first and last name, and I've always thought that humor + wisdom will only ever save the world.

And Lizard Eater is right. We need a name for when someone blogs on something and other bloggers pick up the topic and blog on it themselves.

ms. kitty said...

We could call it Norblogging, since it's infectious.

Seriously, I'll keep thinking about crone. In the meantime, I like Wiseacre Wisewoman. We could form a league.

ms. kitty said...

If you don't get the reference, here's a hint: I just talked with my sister who went on a cruise and had a touch of the Norwalk virus, very contaigious stuff.

Every 7th Day said...

Happy birthday, Ms. K. You're a gift.

ms. kitty said...

Here we are at the end of my 65th birthday. It's been a truly lovely day, with lots of good wishes from friends and family, including all of you. Thank you for your warmth and support. I can't wait to meet you all in person at General Assembly!

Miss Kitty said...


I like the sound of Madam Kitty--it's got a slightly naughty air to it, don't you think? :-P

If, when I'm 65, I can be half as cool as you are, I'll consider myself to be doing well.

Debra W. Haffner said...

Happy Birthday! Milestones are surely to be celebrated...and we are all grateful for the wisdom you share. I look forward to meeting you in person at GA.

Rev. Debra Haffner

ms. kitty said...

Thank you, Debra, I'll see you in a few days!

kim said...

Happy birthday, a bit late.
Yes, we need a word for contagious blogging. Blogtagion? blogtagious? Infectious blogging? viral blogging? serial blogging? skip blogging? jumping blogs? leapblogging?
I like that last one....