Today I want to share with you the story of a rather unexpected couple I know closely and that is, in a way, the confirmation of my last post on the importance of Sisterhood for women’s empowerment and happiness.
This couple, or partnership, as you may prefer, brings together two divorced women, one in her thirties and the other in her eighties. The first is actively engaged in social entrepreneurship, non-formal education and change, and is a freelance (sometimes) quite lost in the world. The second is retired and her main occupation is to build some new and empowering stories about her past, to be worried about everybody else in the family, and to complain about the loneliness and the body pain. These two women share the same living space and sustain each other through life situations that, as you may imagine, are quite diverse. They are actually a great match, not entirely free of arguments and conflicts, but so far they are doing quite well.
This kind of alliance, not so rare anymore I believe, has led me to some reflection on the values that drive people’s life nowadays, specially around the subject of time, love, intergenerational dialogue and rest/leisure:
Time to love, time to dedicate attention, time to be and to rest. Why society’s definition of success seems to be determined only by the amount of time people expend doing (a certain type) of work? What is work? How can we humanise work? Aren’t there any other measures of a person’s worth, that value other components of the human being?* How to love and how to fulfil the ‘love is as love does‘ maxim? And how to apply these principles and values in a relation with a old grandmother with her vulnerability and stubbornness, with her own way of being and (not) doing things?
On the other way around this situation has a lot to do with gender and gender equality, this mutual care and respect for each other that is Sisterhood. This partnership has been of utmost importance to a woman who is building her economic independence. And despite the refusal and frustration it often creates, I am convinced this is a win-win situation for both of them, from all perspectives.
It also reinforces the realisation that normality is a painful and unrealistic goal to aspire to, because the only normality that exists is our individual normality: What makes me feel good and happy? What is the best version of myself? What do I want to achieve? Who I want to be?
On the top of it, to live with the grandmother also represents an exceptional life experience, and the greatest and deepest intergenerational exchange one could ever wish for. To accompany a grandmother in her getting older is simultaneously tough and beautiful, it reveals a lot of who we are and is a mirage of how we will be. No time for hiding or lying, in front of you the wane we all will be subject to. No matter what, oldness is awaiting everyone who will have to joy (or else…) of a long life.
* Check this post for a great reflection on this subject.