Sometimes things seem to align. Right now the writings of several people I read, the comments on my posts, and just knowing and having met many of these women writers in the last year or so convinces me that there is a wisdom brewing.
Many of us write from monikers real, imagined, or somewhere in between out in cyberspace, that suggest midpoints in midlife, although I think we all know that the midpoint of our lives is apt to be behind us unless we live to be over 100.
I cannot speak for the other women, but I know that for me I have been thinking about the ending of individual lives and how we personally feed into the human legacy. I realize that I might be a bit young to be thinking about what we leave behind, but I guess I tend to be an outlier in most things. As an anthropologist I am intrigued by what we as individuals add to the nebulous collective of knowledge and structures and rules that we call culture. Recently facing the reality of probably losing another brother in the near future brings the theoretical into the world of personal, practical, nitty-gritty reality.
I am 57. I am an elder of the Late Boomer Cohort within the so-called Baby Boom Generation. Sid Vicious and I were born within a week of each other and I have taken on the comparison as a mantle so as to show that Punks obviously delineated something significant breaking away from our older Hippie brothers and sisters. I try to use female examples wherever possible, but I have not found an easily recognized icon of my own gender that fits the bill as well as Sid does. Patti Smith rose up in the rock world at the same time as Sid, but she is one of the oldest of the Boomer Gen. I guess that shows that women of the Boom couldn’t sneak through the cracks into the new cultural paradigm until a critical mass of change burst through the barriers and opened a new ecosystem, or at least a new niche, defined by a new level of open communication and personal determination.
Women began to really come into their own when reliable birth control allowed larger and larger numbers of women to direct the course of their lives more than at any point in human history. The later born boomers are the women who were just becoming sexually active as Roe v. Wade was decided. The 1970s were where the trends of the 1960s became real in the lives of the culture as a whole. The last half of the Boomer Generation are the first women to have had self-determination for all of their adult lives. We are also the first group of women to have a level of comfort with the interconnectivity that the online world brings with it.
This is a shift of seismic proportions that is still playing out as human culture works this development into the mix. Women who are of an age to become a wise woman, an elder, to sit at the grandmothers’ counsel right now have perspective that was impossible to fathom even a generation ago.
The balance of power is shifting. Let us continue to work toward wisdom, as the women elders we are developing into have more important work in preservation of the world and humanity, as part of that living system, than any generation has faced. We are up to the task. We are finding our way, making our way.