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Visioning Elderhood

first_imgby, Ruth Tamari, GuestBloggerTweetShareShareEmail0 Shares"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me..." From the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph. Photo By garryknight “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me…” From the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph. Photo By garryknightCan you imagine yourself older? Can you imagine yourself as an Elder? Do you even want to?In the past few months, several people have mentioned the inspiration of Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning: When I Am An Old Woman”. She pictures for us her notions of her old age. She wrote it in 1961 when she was 31 years old. She is now 81 years old. I wonder how close her poetic vision is to her reality? Does she wear purple, spend her pension on summer gloves and satin sandals, and run her stick along the public railings? Does she live her life with the spontaneity and friendships that she wished for?Here is a beautiful recording of “Warning: When I Am An Old Woman” ready by Helena Bonham Carter.It started me thinking about what I want for myself when I am an old woman. What will my “Warning” look and sound like? What will I want to be doing, and not doing?The beauty and power of visioning is that you get to create with your mind the person you want to be and since the mind cannot tell reality from imagination, it believes it to be so. Visioning inspires actions and choices that align with your vision and opens your awareness to notice opportunities that might otherwise float by your consciousness.Even more powerful than that, creating a positive vision of yourself as an elder counters negative stereotypes and internalized ageism. It’s a way to acknowledge how you want to age and the honest fears or beliefs that stand in your way: isolation, loneliness, disability, illness, dependence, mortality.So here is my version of Warning written at the age of 46. Wonder if my vision will come to be.Ruth’s version of Warning by Jenny JosephWhen I am an old woman I shall wear leopard skin tops Paint my toes wine Break open hot lobsters with friends Wrap myself in soft, warm layers so that I may sit by bonfires, stare up at twinkling stars, and converse with the moon.I shall stretch my limbs behind my ears (definitely my arms, hopefully my legs) Wear bracelets to my elbow, pendants in my cleavage ask the unaskable, choose the unpopular, and walk the unwelcome road.I shall wear my grey hair long sometimes loose and wild sometimes braided, chignoned, or pony-tailed. I shall whistle at dogs, men and great musicians Read stories and current events, in large print or on audiotape if I mustI shall fill my nest so that it dances with music and books lovers of my soul to keep me company as I lose friends and family filling lonely nooks and crannies with chocolate bon-bons for my sweet tooth (however many I have left) of course I know that my tastebuds won’t savour the way they do now.I shall hug babies and children tightly, kiss them soundly and blow bubbles with them, nurture the world with my estrogen-less, toothy smile and bear-hugs share my understanding, experience and wisdom with those who seek it out.I shall wear faded denim jeans and tortoise-shell glasses to study for another degree in something purely pleasurable and esoteric unattached to being hirable or producing an income like the history of film or music.My drive to achieve, to accomplish will shift into a desire to contribute a yearning to leave behind my difference, my mark, my footprint of course I know that is still my egoSure I’m scared of not having enough money of becoming another crone living in poverty scraping coins together rubbing the genie’s bottle wishing for three magical wishesYes I worry that I’ll fall and not be able to walk on the sand again beaches don’t take kindly to walkers and wheelchairs and who would I be without my mobile legs?So maybe it’s time to let my grey hair grow in stroke the black cat stoke the fires of understanding acceptance and joy.Related PostsTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: crone Elderhood poetrylast_img

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