Women Over 50—Spring or Winter?

Posted on May 6, 2008. Filed under: Menopause: The Big Change | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In order to keep ideas fresh and flowing, I’m going to be inviting guest bloggers to share their perspectives on growing older. There are new boomer sites bursting forth into cyber space on a daily basis and this is a post from one of my very favorites. The Magnolia Diaries, Volume II is chock full of ideas, quotes, musings, and wonderfully crafted writing. I’m always blown away whenever I visit. I know you’ll find the same when you drop in. Here’s a recent post concerning midlife and menopause:

So, here we are into May and I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting for spring. In the deep south where I originally hail from, I’m certain they are enjoying very mild and spring like temperatures. However, here in the north we’re still trying to figure out if it’s winter we want, or spring. Personally, I love winter and wouldn’t mind snow 9 months out of the year (must be the menopause speaking with those hot flashes and all), but I also wouldn’t mind a few weeks of nice spring, early summer temperatures. Yet, we are still not quite there yet.

So, as I look at the forecasts nearly daily to see if we will have warm temperatures or cool, I can’t help but think of the years that I first began my adventure into perimenopause.

Much like this time of year, with it’s constant changing, it was turbulent. There were ups and downs and times when I blew through my life with the emotional force of a cat-5 hurricane. It was not only unpleasant for me, but extremely difficult for my family as well. Though the physical changes were challenging and sent me running to the nearest doctor and herbalist for relief, I must say the bigger and more difficult changes were those that I went through psychologically.

No one prepares you for those types of changes and I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I said that it was very much like teenage years. Very volatile and very much a time of trying to figure out who you are…again. Except, this time you’re redefining what you had worked so hard to define those first 40 years of your life.

Yes, it’s that big and for many, that difficult. I’m embarrassed to say this, because now that I’m beyond it, it seems so silly. But the truth is, as a young woman I defined myself by my sexuality and my ability to produce children. I mean, let’s face it, when you are a young girl approaching adolescence, all you can think about is when you will get your period and the first time you’re going to have sex. Ok, maybe you didn’t, but I did. (and I don’t think I’m too terribly alone in this.)

The onset of menses signals womanhood in the minds of young girls and every young girl wants to be a woman.  She wants to be beautiful and desired. This doesn’t change as one gets older.  We are still that little girl in heart who wants (and maybe even needs) to be beautiful and desired. So, perhaps this is why many of us struggle so when we reach the menopause years. If we have spent a lifetime defining ourselves through our fertility and sexuality, then it only stands reason that when it changes, so does your self-image.

I’m not altogether sure this is a bad thing…you know, defining yourself through your fertility and sexuality. Maybe it’s quite natural. And so it’s also quite natural to begin a new definition when this part of you changes. It doesn’t make it any less traumatic however, for many of us anyway. And I certainly grieved in the truest sense of the word.

It took many years and lots of herbal supplements to get through those times, but I can say now with a certainty that I am feeling much better about life and who I am. Though I’m still not too fond of those darn hairs that keep cropping up above my lip, I would say that the lessening of estrogen and the emergence of testosterone in my body is proving to be a good thing. And oh yeah, good news ladies, sexuality hasn’t left. 

Yeah, there’s some rocking and rolling there for awhile as those hormones are trying to find a new place to live and the changing most definitely affects your libido.  But, it’s not permanent. In fact, the biggest secret out there is that women in their fifties and older are still highly sexual creatures.  (Can you hear that loud whoop?  That would be my husband)

If you are already menopausal, this is not news to you. But to those of you behind me that have yet to enter this tumultuous time, or perhaps you already have…take heart. There is something better on the other side. Grandchildren! 


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4 Responses to “Women Over 50—Spring or Winter?”

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I love the advice you offer here. I have not yet hit menopause, but I am 46 so it’s coming very soon. Your perspective here really takes some of the anxious edge off for me. I’ve never cared about getting older, but I just don’t want to be a crank. Clearly, I don’t have to be. :-)

Thanks for the contribution you’re making to supporting and empowering women. I will be sure to mention your site on my new blog for female entrepreneurs 35-55 years old. Your style is so joyous and refreshing–so wonderful! I am sure my readers will be able to relate fully. Keep up the great writing–I will return to read more!

Vicki Flaugher

Wow, I was not prepared for the changes that happened to me when I hit menopause! I became emotional, highly irritable (some would say insanely irritable)and my short term memory became a thing of the past!

It surprised me and drove me nuts because a) I hadn’t been subject to mood swings prior to 40 and b) I was just grumpy and constantly looking for things I’d misplaced which made me grumpier!!!

But, since I won’t get any grandkids, my upside is the freedom from women’s products, freedom from caring what other people think and the freedom to finally let my real self come dancing out to enjoy the world!

PopArtDiva aka The BRAT in the HAT™

I’m loving the age I am (50). I’m finding that I have a confidence in me that never existed in my younger age. I feel free to make decisions, to know that I have experience and wisdom on my side and that suddenly people do want to listen to me and appreciate what I have to offer them. And I want to write, and write, and write and share of all that.

The grandkids haven’t come yet but with 5 daughters and 2 of them married, I expect those days are not far away.

I love Magnolia’s blog. I think she is taking a break right now to retool, but she is so sweet and kind to posters — a real blogger role model! She has also posted a few of my blogs as a guest poster and I can’t wait to see what she has in store next!

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