One of the major fictional archetypes is the crone. She may be the grumpy old woman you want to steer clear of in case she curses you. Or, on the other side of the coin, she may be wise beyond your years.

Wisdom of the Crone

Mrs Daisy Young (1922) photo by Dennis Mayor (1922-) the Dennis Mayor collection of photographs. State Library of Victoria.

The Crone may form part of the triple goddess (maiden, mother and crone), or the Weird Sisters (as in Shakespear’s Hamlet) or, as a third version, the three Fates.

I mention this, because an Australian government attempt to clean up the superannuation industry now requires a default plan that starts reducing your investment risk as you get closer to retirement.

And I recently got an email suggesting I should think about it.

Which enraged me, because I still think I’m fifteen despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Least ways until I started thinking about it…

So, in the vein of wise old women, I’d like to share five things I’ve learned over the decades.

Not that I expect any actual fifteen-year-olds to pay any attention.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You can’t do everything.

Sometimes, you need to consult a professional (e.g., health checks, tax accountants, multi-million dollar windfalls, or book/movie/audio contracts).

Other times, you just need a pair of hands, (baby/dog/catsitting, reading through your essay/short story/job application, or online profile).

Most often, you’ll read a book, watch a YouTube video, or phone a friend, but the truth remains. You can’t do everything by yourself.

You have nothing to lose, (or prove), so swallow your pride and get help.

2. Relax, no one cares

Whatever it is, in the scheme of life, the universe and everything, it doesn’t matter.

If you’re torturing yourself over something, chances are that no one else noticed, or even if they did, they don’t care.

Though if you are torturing yourself, ask yourself why this thing bugs you so much you can’t let go. Absorb whatever lesson it has to tell you and don’t make that mistake again.

And if someone points out the spinach in your teeth, the toilet paper on your shoe, or that your fly’s undone… Well, congratulations, they love you!

3. You will get old… and die

All the time and money you spend on anti-aging potions won’t make a difference. You will get old.

Though if you smoke, or spend a lot of time outdoors without sunscreen, you may seem to age faster.

Chances are, the cheap skin care/hair care/fitness regime will do just as well as the expensive. You will never know, because you can’t do clinical studies on yourself by splitting into separate timelines to A/B test the products. At least not with the current level of technology.

The main thing is to use your allotted time wisely. To use your body and mind to the best of its abilities.

If no one wants to go to a gallery with you, go on your own. Maybe you’ll meet someone there who’ll go with you next time.

4. Say yes, instead of no

It’s fairly well established that when you’re dying, the things you regret are the things you didn’t do.

So, instead of being embarrassed about how you look, or your level of experience, or being afraid of looking like an idiot – just do it. Dance like no one is looking!

No one is going to tell you that you look like an idiot (see #2). More likely, they’ll be saying I wish I was brave enough to do that.

5. Keep your friends closest

I was listening to a podcast a while back, and the guy (whose name eludes me), said to keep in touch with your six. Your six being the people who’re going to carry your coffin (see #3).

And we’re not talking about liking Facebook or Instagram posts. We’re talking about meaningful contact.

It’s easy to lose touch with people; one thing leads to another, and five years have gone by. So, try keeping a stack of postcards handy – send one each week to someone you haven’t been in touch with.

Or make time to call them, talk to them and hear how they are.

Bottom Line

The average life expectancy for females in Australia is eighty-five years and ten months.

And that means, all things being equal, I have another three decades on this planet.

And I don’t mind telling you, I’ve already wasted too much time worrying about what other people think. And not enough time getting out there and doing stuff.


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