If you’ve read the first two parts, of this three-part series, you’ll undoubtedly see a pattern emerging; being that women are amazing, have come a long way, and can do anything. Women today, have more choices than ever before. We’re not bound to stereotypical lifestyles which dictated our paths just a century before. The only limits we have, are the ones we allow to stop us, although some of those obstacles can be tough on the soul. Our lives are our own. Not that any of that is even news anymore! Women have walked across the fire to get to the life we have. But that’s the plural, “women”. What about the individual, “woman”?
The reality is that most of us live unremarkable lives; we don’t institute world peace or find a cure for an incurable disease. Our names won’t appear in history books, and we will not be truly remembered by more than a handful of people. Across the lifespan of planet Earth, our life is but a grain of sand upon the vast beaches of the world, but to a human, it ain’t bad. How poetic. Despite that, we Earthlings generally wish to make our mark on that timeline, however small it may be.
We might be remembered by a neighbors’ child as “the woman who used to make us brownies”, or fondly, by a former co-worker, as “that funny gal”. We weave in and out of countless lives, as we live out our life. Some people will have bad memories of us, but hopefully, most will remember us fondly. When we are at the end of our life, it’s our valuation of ourselves, which is most important. Being able to say, “I lived my life well.”
How do we reach the pinnacle of self-satisfaction? Do we have to choose a few things, and dismiss the rest? Can we have it all, but across a lifetime, rather than all at once? The longer we live, the more versions of ourselves that we’ll go through. We’ll like some of those versions. And may dislike some others. But they’re all a part of us; they’re what make up the whole. We don’t need to compare ourselves to others, and in fact, comparing ourselves can be detrimental. We look to others to gauge who we are, and who we wish to become, or not become. Other than that, our opinion of ourselves is the only one which counts.
Seventy years ago, what others thought about us did matter. Social pressures on a woman in 1950 were much more severe than today. While women emotionally supported other women, our voices were still squelched a great deal. There were certain expectations about careers, child-rearing, and marriage, which directly affected how women lived their lives.
In 1950, the post World War II generation of women, who had tasted the workforce in droves, essentially for the first time, were being pushed back into traditional roles. Only about a third of the workforce was women, after soldiers returned home, so women were still largely dependent upon men. Birth control pills were not FDA approved until a decade later, so women were at the mercy of their childbearing years, unable to control when, or if, they had children.
Now picture the earliest time of modern human beings on the planet; those people who had none of the conveniences which we take for granted today. Is it possible, that even in those difficult times, life was better? It’s unlikely that they felt compelled to have “the biggest and newest cave” on the market. They didn’t have to ensure their children had the most valuable “animal skin” garb during cave painting lessons. They just were. It’s unlikely they put all the common pressures we have in modern times, on themselves. They lived for the community, rather than the individual.
Imagine what they had to do on a daily, and seasonal basis, strictly for survival. Women would likely have stayed close to “home”, to rear children, tend to the sick, find and make the food. They would have kept the household running smoothly while the menfolk went hunting, or protected the homestead. While it’s not politically correct to say it these days, in those beginning times, males and females had to work together to see any kind of future. However, it’s as apparent then, as it is now, that the feminine of the society is the machine that moves life forward and makes it worth living.
And life should be worth living, at every age. To partially quote the illuminated Terminator film series, “The future is not set.” Women make strides every day, and until we are satisfied with what our world looks like, we’ll keep making those strides. Banding together with other women will only make us stronger today and in the future. There is no difference between us, so great, that it should keep us from uniting, for the better of all.
Want to see how it all began? Check out Part 1 of this series here!
Want to read the previous installment? Part 2 of The Lens of Age and Time can be found here!