Mid Life, Menopause and Temporary Madness
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
The time for major upheaval in a woman’s life. Hard to admit but I’m there. The evidence is all around me. No sense denying the truth. My life has been entirely turned upside down.
My body has changed. My mind. Not sure which is worse, since me and the word youth have officially parted ways. Probably the body. But then again, I recall one winter morning, temps were almost at zero and I went out and started my car to warm it up. I came back in the house to make a quick phone call and by the time I finished, I’d forgotten. I spent the next several minutes looking for my keys before I realized they were outside in my RUNNING car. Now that I think about it, perhaps the mind is worse.
There are morning aches and pains, creaking joints. Lost things. Lots of lost things. The other day I asked my husband if he’d seen my glasses. He squinted at me and waited before shocking me with the truth…”They’re on your face.” I laughed. He didn’t. As a man he has no idea the depth of the female menopausal experience. He worries I’m losing my mind. If I hadn’t heard my mom, aunts and grandmother before me cursing throughout their time in the ‘The Mids,’ I’d probably think so too. I’d hear them fussing in the kitchen or complaining to one another on the phone. The memories of them, at a time when my skin was still as smooth and supple as butter are my reassurance that I’ll be okay.
And speaking of skin, mine is dry. Along with everything else; hair and other things too sensitive to mention here. Each morning I enter the bathroom it’s like I just pulled into a motel parking lot and there’s a neon sign blinking high above my head with the word D-R-Y. I pull into the parking space and begin brushing my teeth. After I wash my face I make sure I slather on moisture. Raspberry oil has been my go to for my dry cheeks. Hemp, a savior for my ashy legs. Extra water helps quite a bit.
But nothing yet for my thinning hair. When I find the remedy I’ll post. I’ve been trying to cure it from the inside with a healthy diet and supplements. I’m holding it steady, thank God. Selenium and Chromium are keeping the black from being swallowed by the grey since I refuse to dye. I have too little extra energy for a lot of fuss these days.
And if the mind and body transitioning aren’t enough, The Mids are a time filled with questions. Big Questions? Do I need to see a doctor? What if my mother falls in the middle of the night? Have I prepared enough for my future? What happens if he doesn’t come home…due to an accident…or much worse, a younger woman with the smooth buttery skin I used to have? And then there are the minor questions, where did that mole come from? Am I growing a beard? Is it hot in here? Where are my keys? And the most profound question, when you realize you’re in the midst of it…What the f*ck?
The Mids are a time of trades. I’ve traded the body and subsequent body image issues for self-love and acceptance. The quest for material things has been traded for minimalism and a desire to live simply and be more at peace. I plan to trade my luxury sport for a car that’s more practical—electric and easy to park. I’ve let go of late nights out with friends where we struggled to hear ourselves over thumping music or screamed at each other in restaurants, and replaced them with quiet evenings with a book or one of my favorite TV shows. I grab a cup of tea and a comfy throw and sink into my sofa with my husband or sometimes with just my thoughts. Sleep has become almost as important as food. I don’t miss late nights at all.
I can’t remember the last time I wore a pair of heels. If you’re out somewhere and you see me wobbling in a pair, please extend grace. I’m out of practice. And certainly have only donned them because the event requires it. You know…social norms. My next event, I may just “Michelle Obama it.” The baddest dress or pantsuit money can buy at the top and a pair of comfortable flats at the bottom. Like a mullet. Instead of business in the front, party in the back it will be business at the top, self-care at the bottom. I chuckle at the shoes I used to wear when I was younger. 6 inch heels at a concert 🙄. Walking from the parking lot into stadiums and up flights of stairs to seats. We needed alcohol to numb the pain, Lol. Those days are over for me. Let me offer you some sage advice, no matter your age…invest heavily in comfortable shoes. It will change your life.
Can’t leave out the biggest part of this time in a woman’s life…the menopausal bleeding. Mine was bad. I was just about to go on a PR campaign for one of my novels. I had to cancel speaking engagements. I stopped hanging out with my friends. It was a nightmare. There were days I was afraid to leave the house. That’s all behind me now and my heart goes out to women who experience it. If you didn’t get this particular symptom, consider yourself lucky. If you did…you know. Pat yourself on the back. You made it through. Consider yourself a survivor.
My husband has stood by me like a champ. I understand that he’s been affected too, especially now, with my last menopausal irritation…hot flashes. The nomenclature doesn’t speak to the gravity of it. They can be debilitating for women. I can recall being at a public event, again when I was younger and my skin was still as smooth and supple as butter. I was speaking to a woman in The Mids. We were enjoying our conversation. I don’t recall the subject but a few minutes into it she started to get beads of sweat on her forehead. Then, her face turned red. Concerned, I asked if she needed a drink of water. She declined. Moments later her hair was wet. It was as if she was melting before my very eyes. In my naiveté I asked, “Are you alright.” She reluctantly replied, “I’m in menopause.” Didn’t dawn on me at that point that I’d one day be standing in her shoes…surrounded by puddles of my own sweat. To call them hot flashes, a cute little word, diminishes their impact. But don’t we do that with most things that pertain to women? “Oh, she’ll be alright, It’s just a part of life.” But I’m here to tell you, they should be treated as a serious medical condition. Thank God they only last for a few minutes or we’d be calling 911 swearing someone had sneaked up behind us and set us on fire. For this reason, if you encounter a Mid Life woman and she’s evil, give her space. She’s probably just hot or sleepy. I know I am. And pray for my husband. He looks worn. I sleep with the air on, a ceiling and a portable fan. I swear some nights I hear his teeth chatter. When he complains I tell him sternly, “layer up.” The fans are a non-negotiable in my house. Praying our marriage stays in-tact and he doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel.
In spite of all the trauma and drama that comes in this period of life, The Mids is a time filled with so many blessings. There is a peace that settles in that we don’t have access to in our younger days. There’s a confidence that comes. You know and love who you are. Gone are the days of scarcity and competing with others for jobs…for men. I see young women with their but cheeks out. At this age you realize that if it takes exposed but cheeks to get him, he's not worth having. And the subsequent peace that comes along with that knowledge, money can't buy.
In The Mids you finally figure out that what’s for you is for you. There’s no need to scratch and claw. You realize you have the power to control some things and some things you don’t, so you do what you can and surrender the rest. You’ve been through enough things to know it all eventually works out in the end. Even the losses you will survive. Not sure about you, but my younger years were plagued by a sense of restlessness. All of that is gone now.
In The Mids you find courage. You have the will and the power to cut what doesn’t work and do more of what does. Your life starts to look the way you want because you’re less tolerant of things that aren’t aligned with who you are. It was when I reached Mid Life that I tasted happiness for the first time. I realized it’s a state of mind and accessible to me at all times. I no longer needed to chase it.
In a word…it’s a glorious time! Embrace the Change! You’ve lost some things but you’ve gained so much more! Find value in your existence. Practice radical self-care. Have gratitude for what the journey has been. Live your purpose!
If you do that the best is yet to come.
P.S. If you’re struggling with making this transition, not sure of your purpose, or not hopeful about your future no matter your age, click the coaching tab and find out more about how we can work together so you feel good about your life again.
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Tonya Lampley is an author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. Her short story titled Birthday Surprise received honorable mention in the Writer's Digest Short Story Contest. Her first non-fiction book Bad Men will soon be released. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.
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