If you told me 10 years ago (and even 5 years ago) that I would consider being this age and biological state a gift, then I doubt I would have believed you.
When we think of aging and menopause, we often envisage a downward spiral of vitality towards inevitable disease and never ending hot flashes. Menopause has always been shrouded in much negativity, embarrassment and just plain old bad publicity (which I’m hoping to help change). And, admittedly, I did struggle through my menopause transition. I was ill equipped to deal with the ramifications of flatlined hormones and the resulting symptoms – both physical and mental. I’m first to admit that I reached some major lows of my life during this time.
However, despite my challenges, I feel that ageing and menopause has allowed me to transform and reinvent myself. As my reproductive ‘nurturing’ hormones diminished and my children became more independent (I’m an ‘older’ mum where menopause and puberty coincided), I was able to once again think more about what I wanted and what made me happy, after putting everyone else’s needs first for so many years.
Now, almost 2 years after my last period, I have emerged into a new and wonderful phase of life.
My menopause symptoms have settled by basically altering my lifestyle – making small adjustments to my nutrition and exercise but mainly by prioritising sleep and stress management (I’m not saying it was easy and I acknowledge that this method does not work for everyone – we all have different genetics, backgrounds, life stresses etc).
However, I feel that the most important change has been that of my attitude.
My dad died of a sudden heart attack when he was 47 and as I approached that age, I began to fully understand how short and precious life can be. Instead of wrapping myself in cotton wool, this was the catalyst for me taking more risks and starting to live life more fully. With menopause, I was once again reminded that I had entered the final reproductive part of my life – we are in a post menopause biological state until we die.
Both these realisations have helped me to come to terms with my own mortality while also allowing me to find the courage to live in a way that I never would have imagined possible earlier in my life. Every day is now truly a gift.
Aging and menopause has transformed me into the most authentic and real version of myself. I feel healthier and happier than ever before. I have also found my voice and my passions – they are no longer hidden behind a woman who lacked the self-confidence to explore and share them with the world.
I am vulnerable, I am resilient, I am messy, I am loving, I am unique.
At 52, I am finally, ME.