I am in menopause.
I am at my beginning. Again, I have come of age.
We all do it. We all do it differently – hormone replacement therapy; hot flashes; loss of sex drive; increased sex drive; the tragedy of new facial hair; fear of bone loss; antidepressants – and none of us know what will come next. Very few of us share our secrets. I have spent the last few years discussing these issues with girlfriends. We have shocked and surprised each other as well as found comfort in some of our common stories.
After years of being single and keeping my eyes on nothing but my career, it was clearly time to take control of myself and my body. I had just gone through a record emotional dry spell. I felt very alone, but imagined that I was not in a place so different than other women. Women in the workplace spend years losing themselves in order to gain advancement that, even if it does come, won’t be as satisfying as they thought. It is that time in your late thirties, often through your forties, that men take second place to career and either don’t notice you or assume that you must be a lesbian because you haven’t noticed them. It is the time that women gain reputations in the workplace for being a bitch.
Don’t get me wrong, we can be bitches during this time. However, it is really that we are misunderstood. In spite of the fact that our bodies and minds are going through a change no man can ever comprehend, we remain relatively level-headed and make incredibly sound decisions. We simply will not do it with the same compassionate and loving smile we had in our twenties. We can no longer tolerate the expectation that we will relinquish credit for a job well done.
Every woman should know that the dry spell is over when you release yourself and allow yourself to say the M word. With or without the big job; with or without a loving partner in your life; with or without personal wealth, it happens – menopause.