Are you ready for a change? It’s true that older people are resistant to change and I’ll admit that I’m guilty. Although I do have a computer and submit this column copy by email, I don’t have an iPad or a phone that takes pictures or a GPS for finding map locations. However, until now I thought I kept up with the proper use of words.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in on a Marylhurst University class titled “Women’s Issues in Aging.” I thought it would have great potential for this column until I read the course outline that asked “If you lived guided by crone energy...” What did that mean?

When I’ve been uncomfortable about a word or term I used my much dog-eared 1997 Merriam-Webster Dictionary to be sure I understand its meaning. Its definition of crone was “hag or evil looking old woman or witch.” That didn’t sound like a way I wanted to be guided — not with that 1997 dictionary’s definition.

Maybe my dictionary is out of date. To test that thought I looked up a few other words that might have newer definitions — words like flapper and gay. There the dictionary defined flapper as “a young woman of the 1920s” and the fifth definition for gay was homosexual.

Apparently crone has additional definitions and I’ve found one! Just last week I was loaned a book titled “Crones Don’t Whine” published in 2003. Author Marion Woodman writes that to be a crone is “about inner development, not outer appearance. A crone is a woman who has wisdom, compassion, humor, courage and vitality ... She has learned to trust herself to know what she knows.” That was on page 4 of the book. I can hardly wait to read more.

I’d like to be a crone. Maybe I already am one. I’ll have to read more to know. And I invite readers to send me comments, more definitions and more ideas. If talking or writing about crones becomes more common maybe there are others like me who will learn that growing older and wiser go hand in hand.

As I learn more about this current definition I’ll write about it. And if I and others make enough noise maybe new dictionaries will include it. And maybe I’d better get a new dictionary.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego author of “ Facing Age, Finding Answers” Ardis Stevenson. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.

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