“It’s the pause that refreshes, part of the cycle—without the spin…”
FORGET Menopause. If you think that’s what growing older (and this blog) are about, I’m going to disappoint you. I’m not going to address this subject in the way you might be expecting— because that’s a health book, a psychology book, but not this little lesson about growing older. Every woman goes through menopause… we have since the beginning of time. It’s part of the cycle of life and it’s not gonna go away. Don’t let it become a crutch and a catchall excuse to be lazy and evil about everything else.
Way back before the dreaded “M-word” was used in polite society, (do not confuse polite with politically correct) they called it The Change. You know–in the same way your menses are called your “Friend,” “Auntie Flo,” or “Cousin Red.”All terms that is completely spineless and namby pamby and quite honestly-stupid!
BUT “Change” it pretty apropos…because things definitely change.
For some lucky ones of us The Change is gentle—a gradual, barely perceptible physical transition and one day you realize you haven’t had to make a trip down the “Feminine Hygiene” aisle (why our natural bodily functions are still acquainted with lack of cleanliness in the 21st century is still a puzzlement to me) in the drug store for months. Since you haven’t had sex in equally as long, you know you’re not pregnant and presto! You are done. Changed. Finito! TaDa! Adios!
For others, which includes most women I know, it’s a hard, hot slog through bad moods, wet sheets, underwear ruined by a “visitor” you thought long-gone. And then there is the ever popular, unexpected “change-of-life-9-month- surprise.” I personally witnessed the latter when I was in high school and to their everlasting embarrassment, during our senior year, three of my friends’ mothers got pregnant, well past the time when anyone thought they would, or could. Even worse it meant these middle-aged mothers were—you guessed it—having S.E.X., also well past the time when anyone thought they would or could. Egads! It didn’t matter that the S.E.X. was with their fathers—no that only made matters worse and implicated both parents in this untoward, inappropriate, appalling behavior. And at the end of nine months, each of my three friends had a brand new baby sister to wave “Bye-Bye” to as they headed off to college. My own parents, younger than I am now by a couple of decades, were quite probably also having S.E.X. (at least I hope so), but thank goodness, I had no new siblings to show for it.
Yep, life is full of surprises, but menopause isn’t one of them.
So after 30 or 40 years of monthly bleeding, deducting time off for good behavior, the occasional missing monthly and pregnancy, that’s roughly somewhere between 350 and 500 periods. Don’t you think that’s enough?! Look at the end of your menses as a reward— and think of all the money you’ll save in THAT aisle. Don’t get hung up on some outdated notion that your womanhood is something you’ll lose if you’re not reminded of it every 28 days. Or, that no longer being able to bear a child diminishes your femininity in some way. Even with the departing red sea, you are still you. And the only way you can lose you is to GIVE UP. Surrender yourself to a self-fulfilling prophecy that you allow to steal the “girl” in you right from under your own nose? Why would you let that happen just because your period stopped?
Because of some serious medical issues which I began battling at 19, my menopause was surgically imposed and started when I was only 32 years old . Forty plus years later, it’s still not over, that’s a lot of years—and I’m still counting folks. I admit it gave me pause when my doctor patiently explained what would be happening to me. But I didn’t let early menopause stop me then, and it’s apparent endlessness (for me) doesn’t stop me now. (My mom was still having hot flashes well into her 80’s!) Like many other life stages, this is a transition from your past to your future. Yes believe me you still have a FUTURE. Besides, you know what they say about one monkey not stopping the show!
See your doctor and discuss treatment options—drugs, herbs, exercise, nothing.
Talk to your friends.
Talk to yourself.
Come up with a plan and with your physician’s guidance—follow it.
Then forget the M word get on with life–YOUR LIFE!
Buy yourself something red.
Wear it when you feel lonely without your period.
Wear it when you don’t.
I practice what I preach!
Me wearing red (but not missing my period!) at various ages and weights…