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Women’s Hidden Milestone

Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon

When we are born, people shower us with gifts and beg to hold us. The phone rings, the doorbell rings, people stop our mothers on the streets, and all celebrate our births. Of course, we don’t remember our first milestone, but sometimes we have parents or grandparents who tell us stories of when we were born.

Childhood birthdays often consist of parties where we play pin the tail on the donkey. Sometimes we have our parties at restaurants where clowns and game areas entertain us. Our friends bring gifts to us, and we get to wear special birthday hats. Even if the parties and presents didn’t happen, we were likely to have a few birthday wishes. No matter how large or small the celebration is, we know that we have reached the milestone of growing for another year.

For many of us, there is at least a small memory of our first day of school ever. Maybe we had new clothes, a fresh hairstyle, a backpack, and most exciting of all, school supplies to put in our backpacks. Crayons and big pencils, books, and tablets are all fresh and new even though we don’t yet know what we will be doing with them. Our parents take our first day of school pictures, and off we go. This is often the first milestone that many of us remember. No matter how fun or awful schooling turns out, each new grade is a fresh slate and exciting. If we look through old family albums, chances are we'll find pictures of the first day of every school year. Finally, there is the graduation from high school with proms and skip days. The final year is special and different from the other school years. Then the diplomas, the graduation gowns, and mortarboard hats, and it is over. If we go on to college or do something else, this is the first and biggest step of our lives. We are officially adults.

We move away from our parents' homes, maybe get married or share our lives with another, and again this milestone is celebrated.

We become mothers, are congratulated, given flowers, and even have friends bring us dishes of food, so we don’t have to cook while we care for our new babies.

Our kids grow up, and we notice we are having hot flashes. Our periods are no longer regular, and we have passed our youth, our middle age, and the word old creeps into conversations with our friends. This milestone is shared with our friends by telling stories of lost youth, wrinkles, gray hair, and increased doctor visits. This time there are no parties or gifts or congratulations. It is time we changed that.

Our years have given us wisdom. They have mellowed us, and it has become time to become the counselors to the youth who want to learn from us. Some friends and I knew this transformation into the fourth quarter of our lives should be celebrated with the same joy and recognition of our birth, our youth, our years when we mother either our children, the children in our extended family, or the nice lady who always has a hug for us. We are now the wise women, the ones with time to listen to those who need to talk, the ones who know how to handle a disrespectful boss or coworker, the keeper of old family recipes and traditions.

My group of friends decided that we would celebrate this special time, so when one of our friends reached that stage, we celebrated. Recently it was time to celebrate the milestone of becoming a wise woman.

Greeting card companies have a card for almost everything but not this, so if we want to give cards, we make them ourselves. We stand together as the new wise woman is given a crown similar to the birthday girl party tiaras for the young but age-appropriate. This time it was a garland of beautiful gray roses to wear in her hair. We dressed as we wanted because wise women know that we no longer have to follow the dictates of fashion and instead follow our own individuality. We made jokes about aging and took time to express our regard for her, and we danced.

It is time that all women have the right to celebrate becoming old, and maybe even the card companies will start offering wise women cards right by the graduation cards.

Please read the words of the wise woman Mendi Kellner “Honoring our elders, and their experience and wisdom is a part of village living that we've gotten away from. Instead, we tend to make our elders feel like burdens when they are no longer able to contribute the way they could when they were younger. The idea of growing into a wise woman as an honor is something I fully intend to own and share with others! Our roles change throughout our lives, and the role of the village elder has long since been forgotten. Let's bring it back!!!

Honor to the elders!!!”

Side Note: Medicare Jet-Setters has been working on a line of positive aging greeting cards. Because of this Wednesday story, we will include cards for menopause and reaching the age of a wise woman. Thank you, Willow LaMunyon for this vital message. MJ takes it seriously.

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