Why I’m celebrating menopause this Independence Day

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Some mornings are hard.
No… some mornings are just plain terrible!
There’s no other way to put it.
And since my hormones started to change 10 years ago, it’s gotten a lot worse.

But there are saving graces to the rollercoaster that is menopause.
And discoveries that have made this time of my life
the most powerful and free.
These are what I want every menopausal woman to celebrate this Independence Day.
Here’s my story —

Too many mornings, before I even open my eyes
I’m assaulted by the what-I-didn’t-dos,
The should-have-saids,
Or the oh, SH*T, I-forgots.
Yesterday’s slip-ups are bad enough,
But by now, I have years of could-have-beens.

Add to that the might-bes, the what-ifs
and — starting a new business in my 50’s –
the I-CAN’T-figure-this-outs!, and the I-just-don’t-know-hows!

The worst part is that every one of these thoughts sounds like the Truth,
subtle murmurings of some oracle from Delphi.

It’s easy to get lost in it all,
Pull the sheets up over my head and try to ignore the crazies.
Or get lost in my phone to silence the ranting.

These morning terrors, as I call them, don’t make the list of the usual shifts during menopause.
But anxiety and depression are common to many women as their hormones change.

Without the heavy doses of estrogen to mitigate our minds’ obsessive tendencies, those first thoughts in the morning, or any other time, can easily turn toward fear and regret.

But miraculously,
most mornings my terrors let up if I just put my feet on the floor.
Then I can make sense of the diatribe
and get on with my day.

It’s taken me years of struggle to recognize what the mind does, unchecked.
And how to sort the helpful from just plain fiction.

But that can be tough when I’m sleep deprived and alarmed by frequent memory lapses.
Then it’s easy to fall victim to the fear…
“I just can’t keep it all together like I used to!”

And, Dear Women, there’s some truth to that.

But here’s why I think the insights gained in menopause have the potential to make this time the most powerful of my life, and perhaps yours, too:

  • Because I can’t abuse my body anymore and expect to shake it off, I’ve learned to listen inside and attend to myself in a way I never had before. Now that’s self-care.
  • Since I can’t count on my mind to pull up the name of someone I met at a party two years ago I have to be honest and say so. That’s something I wouldn’t dare have done at 30.
  • With anxiety greeting me many mornings, I’ve developed a series of first-thing-in-the-morning grounding practices in Nature, bringing me back to myself and truth every time.
  • Because I’d never manage to keep my busy life straight without it, I give up trying to do it all myself and have perfected a few systems to keep me straight. I could have used these tricks years ago.
  • Because my imperfections are getting pretty clear to me (and everyone else) I’ve had lots of opportunities to practice being more honest than ever with the world instead of hiding behind my shiny veneer of perfection. The pressure is off — and I can relax and have fun.
  • And, with less estrogen pulling for connection with everybody else, I don’t care as much about what people think of me. I’m content being me! Saying what I think! And getting out there to bring my gifts to the world, even if I mess up along the way. Now that’s a biggie!

​So, it’s your turn… What did I miss? How have you turned a menopause challenge into deep self-care? What wisdom have you gleaned from these changes? PLEASE share, Dear Sisters.

I believe menopause is meant to be a joyous maturing into ourselves. And in a culture that idolizes youth, we need all the reminders we can get – and give to one another. So share your hacks and let’s SING OUR PRAISES! ​

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