From about 45 years old until 50, I was taken captive by an invasion of body snatchers. It was strange, I couldn’t figure out where I was, where did I go? Would I ever return? Was this really my life or was I living in some alternate reality? Man, this was scary as hell, because I could not get my bearings. I couldn’t check this out with anyone, because I had no idea what was happening and I was really afraid to tell someone that my mind and body had been taken over, and I had no idea by who or what. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, I see that my youthful impression of myself and my reflection were not in agreement. I saw strands of gray peeking through what used to be all brown. I saw lines between my eyebrows, from years of figuring out things, and worrying about what I couldn’t figure out. My cosmetic bag essentials went from lip gloss to tweezers and an eyebrow pencil. If either were missing that was a 911 category emergency. The tweezers used to be to pluck bushy brows, now they are for snipping a chin hair, that is sometimes gray too . I never knew about eyebrow pencils, except to make a “beauty mark” in my 20’s, now the brows that used to be there have moved to the chin and have left the space above my wondering; why did they only leave intermittent wisps of what used to be? I sometimes wonder did the hair committee get together and make a decision to cause uproar by switching places. There’s more that I could share on that matter, but you already know. Some other weird things that were taking place, totally beyond my control:
• Other people’s breathing got on my nerves to the point that it was all I could do, not to yell at the top of my lungs “STOP BREATHING!”
• My brain felt like it was covered with large interwoven pieces of Saran Wrap coated in Vaseline.
• A good night’s sleep meant sleeping for two hours uninterrupted.
• What people thought was no longer a concern (aka I didn’t give a ....).
• There was some kind of wisdom and insight that was bubbling in such a way that I began to understand what used to elude me.
As a woman in midlife today, I am part of a growing population that is an unprecedented 48.5 million strong in the United States alone. This group is no longer invisible and silent, but a force to be reckoned with—educated, vocal, sophisticated in our knowledge of medical science, and determined to take control of our own physical, mental and spiritual health. So check this out, millions and millions of women are undergoing peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause at the same damn time. Our system software is getting an update, a reprogramming where we are no longer questioning our collective power and influence. We are mighty in numbers, social, and economic influence. We are a force that is absolutely dangerous to those that want to ascribe to business as usual. We no longer fear the power that is within us and we don’t mind glowing, because our light is brilliant. Our brilliant light guides, highlights, overwhelms darkness, and heals with laser precision. We are baby boomer women (those born between 1946 and 1964) and our silence is just as penetratingly powerful as our raised voices. We have outgrown other people’s labels and descriptions for us, if they are not our truth. We are now the most affluent and influential group in the world.
This time in life is a rebirthing, the me that was focused on the caretaking of others, has become increasinglyfocused on self-care. This is the time of emergence, doing those things that I kept putting on my “to do later list. “ One of the great parts about being 57 is knowing that later won’t be as long as it used to be. I am becoming more and more excited about less versus more. Stuff--becomes more distracting than interesting. When I travel I don’t need a few outfits for each day, and shoes and jewelry to match each. My suitcase is a roller that if I choose; I can carry on board for a 3-4 day trip.
Midlife, the 50’s and 60’s are being revamped! We are older, yet vibrant in ways we have never experienced, with unshakeable confidence. Our sexy, oozes from the inside out, if others notice that’s fine, but we already know we are sexy, no matter what others express or not. My vibrancy is enhanced when I surround myself with people that challenge me to grow, expand, and learn. Sexiness is doing some of the things that we’ve passed on for years because we thought we couldn’t.
The new sexy is delegating and letting some things go that used to be so important. The new young is not taking most things personal. The new sexy is aging toward mellow wisdom, flavored with gratitude and love, topped off with a deep knowing that all is well, often based on what is unseen. Menopause- revised edition.
10 Great Things About Maturing:
10. Your children are becoming young adults and able to feed and care for themselves (hopefully!), so you can start making the meals that appeal to you, not your kids.
9. Your body no longer is on the roller coaster ride of a menstrual cycle, giving back those days each month you spent suffering from cramps and bloating.
8. You can take all the money that used to be spent on tampons, pads, pain relievers, and birth control; and put it towards a vacation.
7. Your brain shifts from caregiver to others, to taking really good care of yourself.
6. You can rediscover your youthful dreams, hopes, and desires or create new ones.
5. You can say no. Not maybe, we'll see, or let me get back to you--just no.
4. You can say yes--to what you'd really like to do, not what others would like you to do.
3. You know your body, you’re less fearful and more in touch with what you love and don’t love sexually and you can have whatever you like and nothing less.
2. You can keep learning. The brain responds with positive neural changes when used; so read, write, think, and learn.
1. You can fly. Think of your life in terms of a butterfly; it's your turn to emerge from the chrysalis, spread your wings, and fly!
There's more than just hopeful thinking behind this list as current research supports the positive changes women can experience in their post-menopausal years. There are many books on this topic, but my one of my favorites is:
For more on this stage of living The Female Brain," by Louann Brizendine, M.D.