Menopause – the springtime of our lives

There, I’ve said it. The M word. The time women dread, docs don’t understand and society generally keeps shushed under the radar. It supposedly means the end of life as we know it and the “winter” years. We’ve lost our ability to bear children. So. Screw that!

I asked a seasoned sister a few weeks ago what I should expect during “the change” and she wisely gave me following advice which I have NEVER seen on websites, webMD, my doctors brochures, magazines or the wisdom of menopausal women I hang out with periodically. I haven’t specifically asked them of course. Everyone already knows about our own personal summers – hot flashes and cold flashes, but this is more information that no one may have told you.

  1. You’ll be crazy for a while. OK, big surprise hormones have been doing that to me for 25 years. She corrected me with a gentle smile. No you will actually be insane for a time. Extremely emotional. You may find yourself crying at a commercial because the energizer bunny can’t stop moving, like you’ve done for the last 20 years and you know how he feels. Or laughing in absolute hysterics until you think you are going to pass out from lack of oxygen.
  2. You are going to dry up….and I mean everywhere. Like Rango the first moment he’s standing in the desert. It will be like you have no water left in you. Your skin will crack and might peel and bleed.
  3. You will lose your eye to hand coordination. She said that for months her fingernails were broken and she had gashes in her hands from missing the light switches and bashing her hands against the walls.
  4. Your sexual appetite will plummet and spike like an extreme sports maniac. You’ll finally understand what men experience when they say they can’t stop thinking about sex.
  5. You will gain weight even while you eat less and less. You may lose your appetite for food altogether.
  6. Your circadian rythms will go crazy. Night and day will be all mixed up and you’ll find yourself wide awake at 3 or 4 am with no hope to go back to sleep.
  7. The best one that no one warns us about is you are going to bleed like a stuck pig.

     

This is how you know you are almost at the finish line. It’s not celebrated like the first one but it should be. When you’ve gone a year without a single period you know you’ve made it. Most of the women I know don’t make a big fuss and announcement, they just smile and nod. Truly this is the time when we have come into our womanhood. We’ve endured trials, raised children, faced challenges and consequence, lived with our decisions, loved and lost and now we can look over our shoulders raise our heads in pride and know that today I am a woman.

I’m thinking of throwing myself a party complete with beer and a cake. Why not. I have certainly earned it.

Why then is it the springtime of life? Because we have endured the winter. Our life has changed. Children have left the nest to strike out on their own. We have the next 20-50 years to enjoy the benefits our wisdom hard earned, money saved, experiences gained and now we are prepared more than we are at 12 or 20 to live our lives in the way we’ve always dreamt we could. We answer only to those we choose to answer to. We have an opinion and aren’t cowed to keep it to ourselves. We have paid the piper. Spring time is blooming and we should grab it with both hands and ride until we are spent. Make memories so you have something to do when you reach the wheelchair or nursing home and all you have left are your memories to amuse you, to rewind and review like good movies; to share, educate and entertain. We only have 40 or so more years to benefit from our experiences. I have no intention of wasting the time I’ve been blessed with.

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