Karen, Age 70
In January, 2014, I spent three weeks in India with two women who are not family members, not of the same nationality, and not in the same age group. Drawn together by a keen interest in the Indian subcontinent, a love of travel, and a genuine enjoyment of each other’s company, we embarked on separate journeys which we took together.
Our hardy band of adventurers was composed of Rolanda (a maid of 30 years), Ritu (a matron in her early 50’s), and me, a crone of 70 years. Ritu and I are university professors while Rolanda is a small business owner. While Rolanda and I are born and bred Midwesterners, Ritu grew up in New Delhi and while she has lived in the US for most of her adult life, still has strong ties to India.
Our travels together gave the me the marvelous opportunity to reflect on my life as a woman by viewing it from three different perspectives at one point in time. I am the crone of the group but have been the maid and the matron, and even though I have the shortest life expectancy of the three of us, I have the broadest perspective. I wouldn’t return to either of the earlier stages if I could because it would mean sacrificing the wisdom, knowledge and contentment I have gained over my three score and ten years. Rolanda and Ritu can only regard their lives only as far a they are along the path, and must have difficulty conceptualizing my thoughts and feeling
s as the older woman.
While Ritu’s role as a “matron” is somewhat similar to what I experienced as one many years ago, Rolanda’s role as a “maid” is much different from what mine was. At 30 years of age, I had 2 children and was a homemaker; Rolanda at 30 is single, doesn’t plan to have children, and owns her own business. The contrast between us reflects, to some degree, differences in personality and temperament, but I suspect it is more a reflection of how young women have changed over the past half century. Will the matron and crone roles change as much over the next 50 years?
I feel so blessed to have had such wonderful traveling companions and had the opportunity to see the big picture of my life rather than the more narrow perspective of my daily life. I wish all women of 70 candles could experience this.