Playing Madonna

Posted on October 12, 2007. Filed under: Menopause: The Big Change | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Growth and change are typically good things, although often not easy. As women, we know hormonal changes only too well. Having spent nigh onto forty years living with our bodies’ monthly fluctuations, we get to top that off by going through the “granny of ‘em all”—peri-menopause. As some have said, it’s like having PMS for five straight years!

And, the dramatic hormonal shifts of early menopause not only affect our bodies, they affect our brains as well. This period can be likened to a second adolescence as women find their thoughts and emotions riding a virtual rollercoaster of ups and downs. Actually, the maturation process at midlife demands soul-searching transformation and lots of it. Whether we like it or not, we all get to play Madonna and “re-invent” ourselves.

This hormonally charged drive to revolutionize our lives affects many of our relationships as roles within families, friendships, and careers can all begin to change dramatically. In truth, many women experience a shift away from caretaking others to taking care of their own drives, aspirations, and dreams. We return to focusing on ourSELVES as mature and fully formed women, apart from nurturing and caring for those around us.

Nonetheless, multiple transitions can also bring forth feelings of upset and upheaval as such major changes will likely create new ways of thinking and acting that can surprise even us. And, sometimes we could use a little help.

For those of you who are experiencing some of these feelings and who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d like to invite you to attend a workshop I’m giving at John F. Kennedy University on Saturday, October 27th. The description reads for women between the ages of 50 and 65. However, the event is open to any women going through this period of re-evaluation and wish to share with a group of supportive, like-minded individuals.

We boomers have always been a special generation of women and we’re putting a whole new face onto the aging process. Sometimes a sense of sisterhood, a little understanding, and a bit of laughter can lift the spirits and get us heading in the direction of our dreams.


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One Response to “Playing Madonna”

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I’d hoped the my 50th year would be a turning point–a time when, as you suggest, I”d shift away from caretaking and begin to focus most of my intention and energy on my own life. But as it turned out, 50 is the year when I have been shifted, by events in other peoples’ lives, INTO caretaking at a level Id never have chosen.

As my son entered college, my father’s health declined so quickly that in a matter of 6 months he went from driving himself to work to sitting in a wheelchair at a nursing home; as all that was going on, my mother was selling their home (my childhood home) and fully expecting me to drop everything to help her pack, yard sale and move.

I’ve tried to be there for both of them–and for my son, who’s been quite homesick–but I am at my wit’s end. Though, I’ve deepened relationship with all of them–and that has been a precious gift–I’m exhausted. This week, I’m pretending to be on retreat at an upstate NY conference center that I cannot afford to actually go to, just so they’ll stop calling and asking me to drive to visit them, take care of paperwork for them, negotiate contracts for them, feed them, listen to their woes. I love them all but I’m burned out.

Mostly, after the fire has died down, and each is in his/her new place in life, Im left feeling empty and alone. I had big plans for this summer–I was going to return to Paris, where I’d spent a year in college, to write for a whole month. Id made arrangements to rent a small apartment in the 5th arrondisement, my old stomping ground. I was going to do yoga each morning and walk a mile at lunch. I was going to finish the books Id been writing. So much has changed. And I am holding onto my dreams.

Im also blogging madly–hoping my experiences will help others who may face the same situation one day. I invite you to join the conversation.

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