I’m in a liminal place in several ways – my father recently died, making me officially ‘an orphan’ (that is, my mother had pre-deceased him – I’ve been promoted to the head of the class in terms of mortality); I turned 64 in February and now I’m getting all these Medicare-related things in the mail (oooh! scary!); and I’m planning to retire from corporate nonsense by the end of the year.
So ~~~ Where are the ceremonies?
I mean, when you’re little you look forward to kindergarten graduation so you know little-kid-dom has ended and now you’re a schoolchild.
Then you get grade school graduation – and on to high school! Check! You’re not a schoolchild – you are a TEENAGER!
For many of us that leads to college, and maybe a wedding. Ah! the Householder/Wage Earner years ensue! You get ceremonies! Presents! Accolades! it’s very clear – the old order has passed, you are now AN ADULT!
Rituals that say: The old phase of life has ended, welcome to the new one.
We welcome boys to become men with a bar mitzvah; girls to women with a bat mitzvah. Christian confirmation is somewhat analogous, but it strikes me that Jews more clearly call out this life transition.
But when we get to midlife we get jokes about sports cars for guys and for the ladies, we have an array of menopausal jokes, products and discussions. But no ceremony.
Then if you’re lucky and make it to my age you’ve got your AARP membership and lots of mail from people wanting to sell you Medicare supplements. Maybe you get a retirement party if you worked at some company for awhile. But no ceremony.
I don’t like that.
I have friends who have had croning rituals and that may be where I have to go with this desire. The earth-based religions speak of the three stages of life as being the maiden, the mother and the crone. The Hindus talk about the Student, the Householder and the Wandering Sage. I like the idea of being a Wandering Sage – especially if the wandering includes Italy, Peru and Tibet.
Having been through those other transitions, I have to say this one feels just as huge as going to first grade was for me.
- What’s going to happen?
- Who will be my friends?
- Am I brave enough to do this without my Mommy?
- Are there good snacks there?
Yep. Pretty much the same. Oh, I’m more confident on the snacks part than I was then. But now I wonder also
- Where will I live?
- What will I do with all my time?
- Am I making a difference?
Well, as Cat Stevens sang back in my day “I’m on the road to find out.” I hope you’ll come along with me as I work on Diane 3.0: the Crone/Wandering Sage.
How about you? Do you feel the stages of your life have received appropriate ceremonies and have clearly marked the transitions? What would you like to have happened? As always, I really want to know!