If you didn’t know it was possible to suffer hot flashes in the middle of the night, then wake the next morning to cramps and Midol, you must not be middle-aged with a uterus. I am in the midst of the great injustice, reverse puberty.
Yes, I am standing at the precipice of menopause.
Maybe I’m the only one woefully unprepared for this. If so, well, great, kudos to you. But regardless, for being the fairly well-informed, college-educated human that I think I am, I’m feeling woefully unprepared.
Yes, I’ve heard of hot flashes and perimenopause. I’ve heard of dryness, everywhere, yes, even there. I’m familiar with mood swings and energy depletion. I suppose it’s more of a shock that I’m here so soon. My skin has barely cleared up from my monthly cycles and already my nails are splitting and my normally oily skin begins to fracture if not slathered religiously in moisturizer and various lipids daily.
As far as timing goes, I am in the right age group for this, but I find the mid-forties to be way too early to feel like my body has decided to give up on me. I just got comfortable here in my adulthood, and already Mother Nature is saying to move it along. It’s downright insulting.
I can deal with the cosmetic changes: the shimmering streaks of grays, the creases around every moving part of my face, the loss of volume in my cheeks. It’s the betrayal of my joints that hurts the most, literally and figuratively. The ability to just go and do has been taken from me without warning.
And the worst part, knowing that it’s only going to continue downhill, most likely tweaking something on the way down.
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I love to run and play volleyball. Now, if I do those things, or, heaven forbid, try to do both on the same day, my knees revolt and let me know I’ll be spending a couple of weeks on the couch for that transgression. There is a reason for all those seniors in the community pool working out. I get it now. I am going to be one of you, please save me a pool noodle.
This isn’t to complain. Growing old is a privilege. Actually being old, however, is crap.
So to all the other mid-life warriors, I see you, however not as well as I used to, and definitely not close up. We have made it to the halfway point. If we are fortunate, we’ll have another forty-some years to adjust and commiserate together.
Until then, keep the bedside fan close, and the Midol closer.