What is a Wise Woman,
and why you should want to be one?
When I started to write about being in my 50s, I couldn’t find a word that I liked to describe the age I was at. The ones I did find were not very inspiring:
- Middle-aged (often used as an insult for being dull and boring)
- Mid-life (associated with ‘crisis’)
- Mature (what, like a cheddar?)
- Menopausal or even worse Post-Menopausal (yuk, far too clinical)
- Crone (too old and warty)
Which is when I decided on ‘wise woman’. I don’t really want to be any of the above, do I quite like being a wise woman.
Then as started to look at what a wise woman was I found that there were a number of images that came to mind.
- A healer or midwife
- A shaman or medicine woman
- A Fairy Godmother
- An elder stateswoman or leader
- A witch or crone
They all represent an older woman who has a certain amount of skill and power, so I knew I was onto a winning name. So now, I want to reclaim the title wise woman for all women who are at or past menopause.
How you can become a wise woman
If you look up the word wisdom it means ‘someone who has the experience, knowledge and good judgement.’ But I would also include the following as traits of the wise:
- Being authentic and trusting your intuition
- Learning from your mistakes
- Being independent and resourceful
- Open to learning new things
- Is non-judgemental as they are aware that they are not perfect
- Wanting to work for the common good rather than self-interest
It is not easy to follow this path and we will often fall short, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t aim to live our lives in the pursuit of wisdom.
What makes a wise woman?
Just because there are ‘wise’ women doesn’t necessarily mean that there are also ‘dumb’ women. It is not a case of one or the other. Hands up who has a list of dumb things they have done? (My most recent was ending up going the wrong way up a one-way road!) The way to be wise is to acknowledge these things and try not to repeat them. Becoming wise isn’t something you just become it is a process that takes a lifetime.
One of the requirements of wisdom is age. In a world where youth is celebrated and ageing is seen as something to avoid, age denial is something that many of us are guilty of. By not acknowledging our age we buy into the idea that there is something shameful or embarrassing about getting older. Ageing is inevitable, it begins as soon as we are born! If we deny our age then we are stigmatising ageing, after all, there is nothing we can do about it! Wouldn’t it be easier if we started to celebrate our ages, even if others do not? If someone compliments you on looking younger than your age. Tell them that this is what 55 (or whatever) looks like rather than thanking them.
One way to do this is to look for the positives in getting older instead of concentrating on the negatives. Yes, our bodies are not as they were in our teens, but we can still be healthy and happy. Menopause can be difficult but also it can be liberating. Hormonal changes may make us start to question our values and priorities in life and begin prioritising ourselves instead of others. Becoming a bit more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have spent most of your adult life looking after others and/or pursuing a career. Menopause is an ideal time to start to look at changes you want to make in your life both for your physical, emotional and spiritual health. This is one of the things that makes you a wise woman. If you are happy then those around you will also benefit.
You may not feel that you are wise, but that doesn’t mean you do not possess wisdom. It would be hard to live half a century and not gain some insight. Part of being wise is knowing that it is not a state of being, it is a virtue, something that you have to keep working on. I think every woman has seeds of wisdom inside her. It is up to her to develop that wisdom through learning about herself and about the world around her. Then she must be prepared to share her wisdom to help make the world a better place.
the If you want to explore your own path to wisdom my How to Become a Wise Woman e-course will help you with this and many other dilemmas that come with being a midlife woman.