I am perimenopausal. There was a time that it was fashionable to call the menopause The Change (capitalised just like that). It was something people of my generation (X) grew up knowing nothing about. It wasn’t spoken of, it wasn’t on the radar, and your mum getting yelly at you was something that was only to be expected. I always say I never noticed my mother going through the menopause because she always seemed pretty angry and bad-tempered anyway to me. I find this hilarious. My mother does not.
Anyhoo, we come to my own experience of it. Having spoken extensively to my older friends and less extensively to my mother, I have decided not to have HRT at any point to accommodate the aspects of this change in life. This is because I want rid of periods just as quickly as is humanly possible. Also, some friends have said they felt a surge of positive energy, as though they were reborn or entering a second childhood. I want that. This is not to say that HRT might not be the very best solution for some people so this isn’t advocacy, just my own personal decision.
Having decided that, however, means that I have had to sort out a few things to help with the various delights of The Change. I work close to a fridge so I can get a blast of cold air when I need it and in the office I have a desk fan that is just for me and my face. I use Marseilles soap on my skin as it is the only non-drying one I’ve found. I do meditation, yoga and a daily walk to avoid feeling too aargh. (I’ve signed up to Gaia.com for some yoga and meditation routines, but you can find free ones on youtube – Yoga with Adrienne is a particular favourite as are binaural beats for anxiety.)
However, the biggest and most dramatic thing that I’ve decided to “sort out” is my life. I was at the bottom of the well, looking up, and not really seeing a way out. I have never thought of myself as a depressive person, but I realised that it was depression that made me lose my sense of self. Over the last few years, I put on a lot of weight and accepted wearing whatever I was given as presents and no longer thinking about my own personal sense of style or self. I became incredibly unhealthy and was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and hypertension stage 2. I also found that post-pandemic I couldn’t leave the house without feeling dread. I did it, of course, but with a heightened degree of anxiety. My whole social life became centred around friends that live within walking distance or friends willing to come to Wimbledon so that it was only a brief tram ride over to see them. I missed seeing a lot of people I love. And it has been a long, long time since I’ve felt really alive – I mean that feeling you get when you get out of the ocean and lick the salt from your lips or smell a bonfire and really, really know that you’re alive and living a precious life well. I was also concerned about how I was going to pay for my old age, given my huge debts and seeming inability to live within my means. So, in essence, only my love life was going ok (in that I am still married to the man I love), but the marriage could do with some work – better communication, more exciting date nights, working toward goals together.
For those of you who don’t know me well, I can let you in on the fact that I am obsessed with self-help. From the moment I could go into bookstores and browse the shelves free from influence, I headed straight to the MBS/Self-Help category and read everything going. I LOVE change. I love transition and movement and glorious newness. So, knowing that I was so frustrated and down about so many areas of my life, I decided to do what I’ve always done when things have gone wrong. Write out a plan to sort it all out. (Well, sob into a pillow, tell the Divine that They suck, sob some more and THEN write down a plan to sort it all out.)
These are the areas I want to get improvement in (in that order):
- Health – put diabetes and hypertension into remission, get off all meds, lose enough weight to have greater mobility and feel good about myself, greater energy too.
- Wonder – get those magical feels back in my life, the awe of the mysterious and wondrous.
- Finances – sort out an early retirement plan, work on extra streams of passive income, sell the flat and buy a house.
- Family – see more of them, ideally by moving closer to them.
- Style – stop wearing hand-me-downs and gifts and re-discover my own sense of style.
- Relationship – connect on a deeper, more spiritual level with ‘im indoors.
I have given myself until my 50th birthday in October next year to sort all of this out. I’ll be posting about this here, so if you’re going through the same sort of stuff, come back for more each week.