This not being old, sort of being old thing is so much fun. I’m too old to have a baby (socially, mentally), but I’m too young to be free from worrying about pregnancy. My body (and my mind) is in flux. I’m traveling through a wonderfully, glorious time in my life dubbed, perimenopause.
When we reach our early or pre-teens, we’re plagued with a monthly siege of pain and discomfort that ushers us into womanhood. We experience raging hormones and PMS—Pissed at Men Syndrome for some, Premenstrual Syndrome to others. Then, for the next 35-odd years (and roughly 455 periods), we spend that time either trying to, or trying not to get pregnant.
When you’re done making that decision, and life rolls merrily along, your body kind of reverses itself. And Bam! Hormones! Again! Only this time, they’re not the oh-that-boy-is-so-cute-I-can’t-stand-it kind, but something entirely different.
Visits to my doctor now include talks about my cycle. Am I tired, moody, anxious, sleeping well? Am I experiencing night sweats, vaginal dryness, or a low libido? Now let’s hop on that scale. Shall we?
Perimenopause can last between 5 and 10 years as the estrogen in your body makes its slow exit. Going to bed at 9:00 and waking at 4:00 becomes normal. Your monthly “friend” isn’t as friendly as she once was because you never know if she’s coming, how long she’ll stay, or what kind of mood she’ll be in. You’re hot, then cold, then hot again. And… well, I’ll spare you any further details. When I first read the book Our Bodies, Ourselves, I think they glossed over this part.
But the best part, the ultimate kick in the pants, is that your brain becomes foggier than any coastal town. We’re all doing too much, and it’s normal to be forgetful, but this is different. Where did I put my glasses? Did I just say something? Why did I come in here? These are normal, everyday occurrences that frustrate me to no end.
This is the reward we get for YEARS of wearing a sweatshirt around your middle because of an accident, of running off to the nurse’s office during school because you think you’re dying, of buying several sets of clothes throughout your life to fit over a bulging middle (pregnant or not), and of keeping companies who manufacture the products we desperately need each and every month in champagne and caviar. Forget gold. Invest in feminine products!
I’m told that once I reach my mid-fifties, things will be good again. Those nasty little hormones apparently fade into the background, sated and giggling the whole time.