I try to be friends with my rapidly approaching menopause, but she’s difficult to get to know.
One day she’s pretty mellow and laid back, and then suddenly she’s grumpy, hot all over, bloated and needing to pee all the time.
Because of her I have stopped drinking caffeinated drinks because they made me super edgy. I was waking up in the middle of the night really tense about, well, nothing. And alcohol has the same effect. I don’t drink often because the next morning I’m anxious and hyper sensitive, which is a really weird sensation I can do without.
Of course my periods are no longer regular, that goes without saying.
And I have these moments of total seriousness, like the weight of the world is resting on my shoulders. I sit and really ponder what feels so heavy, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the sensation is there nonetheless.
Christiane Northrup feels that menopause is an opportunity for a rebirth of sorts, and I certainly agree with that. All those things I used to tolerate when I was younger I no longer can. It’s as if I’ve become a very different woman who defends herself much more quickly, is much more sensitive to the injustices of the world, can’t handle as much stress as before and no longer wants to look after people like I did.
In many ways I feel as if I’ve grown up and become more selfish, but in a totally self-affirming, positive way. That young woman who used to be concerned about everyone else first has grown into a woman who is thinking, “Why the hell am I doing this, I don’t even want to?”
And so I don’t. That’s a real switch and doesn’t come with the guilt I used to feel either. I just don’t feel bad about saying, “I can’t handle that,” or “I don’t want to do that,” or “I’m too tired, I just want to go to bed early with my book and my dog.”
It’s a liberating feeling not having to do things or be someone for other people. Now that my son is grown, I can stop being the full-time caretaker I was too. So my life in some ways is opening up.
Now all I need to do is become better friends with my menopause-to-come. I’m sure we’ll come to some sort of detente, but it may take a few more years yet. I’m going to try and be patient with her. She’s demanding, but incredible wise too, and I respect that combination.