Saturday, 24 January 2015

Join the Club

I don’t think of myself as “old woman” much, even though I am. I have blogged about the aging process, and I’ve accepted this reality. That’s a big step. But another step might be, how do we who are older present ourselves to the world?

Check the thesaurus, and you will find a host of titles for old women: dame, matron, old bag, queen bee, granny, biddy, old bat, old girl, dearie, old trout, dowager, matriarch, hag, crone... (If you’re a male reader –  I know I have a few – there are titles for old guys, too: veteran, relic, old poop, old fart, codger, duffer, geezer, gaffer, old goat, old timer, back number, old fogy, fuddy duddy...) Listing them like that, it makes me think they’d be great in a chorus of a song.  Stompin Tom would have a field day...and if you remember him, then yes, you are probably one of “those”. But I don’t much like any of those titles. This is not how I view myself. Old women should just wear beige and shut up? I think not!

I was thinking about this because I’d been invited (again) to celebrate a milestone birthday with a friend by going out for lunch. Yes, seems to be happening with some frequency. Hanging out publicly with grey-haired friends over lunch  probably reinforces the common stereotype of older women gossiping away the hours, putting in time till the hands wind down. The blue rinse set, taking up valuable table space, moving seamlessly on from lunch to afternoon tea, giggling hilariously over ... well what on earth do the old dears have to laugh about, anyway? Oh, if only they knew!

So I looked for a card for my friend. This is what I found:

The Resident Sweetie, seeing this picture, asked, "Holy Crow, is that what you call a murder?"
"Voices of the Southwest" photography by Elzbieta Kaleta

That card inspired me. Four crows having fun/ four friends having lunch – there was a certain symmetry to the two.  I decided right then and there to form an Old Crows Club.  Oh, I had fun in the studio that week, creating personalized membership cards that reflected the personalities and interests of my Old Crow Club Charter members.

The back side of the card identifies the bearer as a member of the Old Crows Club, entitled to all the benefits thereof, namely wisdom, friendship, laughter, respect and support.
Fun, yes, but it was serious fun. Being an Old Crow is, I decided, a much better and more honorable title than any of those I’ve listed above. Think of the characteristics of old crows:

Old crows are wise crows (at least most of them are.) They have lived long, and they know much. They pass their wisdom on to younger crows, and because they do, the crow family thrives.

Old crows are adaptable. They have seen change coming, and their motto has been: Adapt or Disappear. They have survived because they have been flexible and have not been afraid.

Old crows are beautiful. No matter how old they are, their feathers still have an irridescent sheen and their eyes a bright shine that marks them as ageless.

Old crows are valuable members of society. They teach youngsters, they clean up garbage, they shout out warnings, and they protect the vulnerable.

Old crows are intelligent. They solve problems, and use the tools that are at hand to achieve their purposes. They are able to take small steps in order to achieve a larger goal.

Old crows dare. They can be fearless and audacious when they need to be. If you see a mad old crow, you’d better run!

Old crows are social. They belong to a group and enjoy hanging out with them. They are not afraid of being alone, but they know that there is strength and support to be had in a circle of crows.

Old crows like to play. They’re never too old to swing from a branch, take a sunbath, tweak a dog’s tail, play hide and seek, or canoodle with a partner.

Many people fear old crows, thinking of them as harbingers of death. Old crows know that death is part of the life circle. They make their peace with it. They love life, and they mean to live, and live well, until they die.

Young crows have many of these characteristics, it’s true – and there are many younger folk who are honorary old crows. But old crows have had the traits for longer, and have achieved mastery of many skills that young crows still need to learn. Old crows are happy to contribute to this learning. They know that what’s good for the young will be good for the old, as well. Old crows are vital to the well-being of the crow world.

The Old Crows Club: it’s quite a club. Old Crows can hold their heads up high and look the rest of the flock straight in the eye. If you belong, caw it to the world.  Wanna join? You’re welcome!

Our motto: Look 'em in the eye and stand proud! (and don't forget to laugh a lot.)

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