This year (2019) I will be fifty. Half a century. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a big birthday. I choose to see it as a halfway point, I plan to live into my hundreds!
Personally I don’t think it’s by accident that such a big birthday happens when you are still menopausal. The average age of the menopause is 51 in the UK. As your hormones are not an on/off switch there are still a good few years to go past your fiftieth before you hormones settle down.
It would be easy to write a bucket list of things to do before I’m fifty and tick my way through it. But if the menopause has taught me anything, it’s has been to do with how I feel. That’s the important bit. How I feel about myself, getting older and what I plan to do when I grow up! I also plan to be working well into my nineties, how will that look?
I am the only one responsible for how I feel. It is easy to blame others or the menopause but ultimately it’s on me.
If I am running on empty all the time I react differently to when I am firing on all cylinders. How do I get the later to be the norm?
Well that’s the c word, change.
The menopause can force change because you have to make yourself a priority and look after yourself better to help reduce symptoms. Sometimes we have a ‘diet’ attitude in that we will go back to eating normally at some point! Perhaps that’s your thinking too. That these changes you have to make are temporary. Perhaps some of them are, but it’s our grit that makes the difference at this time.
There is no doubt how we look after ourselves physically needs to change. I’m not sure why we take that so personally, but growing older is a privilege and not something that we should take for granted.
I completed my Hatha Yoga Teacher Training when I realised that it would be part of my regular workout routine in my nineties. There are a good few yoga teachers still working in their nineties too! I’m definitely not a yogi, but I enjoy the different way of moving which is also good for the menopause, coincidence?
One of last years big changes was with my alarm clock. I have always been a morning bird and found it a bit difficult to reconcile the need for more sleep (helps to balance hormones) with the need to get up early and work done. I have always done that!
If I wasn’t personal training a client at 7am, I was exercising myself or at my desk. Nowadays I have a much slower start most days. There is no doubt that I physically feel better for the later start and my menopause symptoms are reduced, but my head does have some chatter around it. As I run my own business I set my own working hours no-one else cares! But still the chatter.
‘Today I give myself permission to……..’
Works a treat
Journaling was something I started a few years ago and it has intermittent recently, mainly I realise because of the change to my mornings. As I have been starting work later, I haven’t had/made the time.
I use the Morning pages technique which is 3 pages of handwritten thoughts. It takes around 30 minutes but I have favoured morning stretches over morning pages and haven’t found another home for it yet in my day. I’m an introvert and can easily over-think things, journaling is a great way to get my thoughts out of my head.
As the menopause brings a number of changes and also makes us appreciate or not that we are getting older, you need to find a way of processing that. Whether that is by journaling, chatting to friends or even counselling if it has brought up stuff from the past that is hard get past.
We can often spend the menopause looking backwards to our past, but it is forward that we need to place our attention.
What kind of old women do you want to be? There are a lot of grumpy old women and I wouldn’t want to end up like that
Some questions to ponder;
Where is the joy in your life? I don’t mean other people, I mean your joy, what excites you and makes you smile just thinking about it? How can you do more of that?
Is there any sorrow? Do you need to hang onto it or can you release it and let it go.
What adventures do you want to have, places to visit or in your own backyard?
What do you want to learn? A language, an instrument, a craft, a new career?
What does retirement look like to you? I plan to always work but at some point not need to, just for the joy of it and choosing my hours.
What do you need to do to be healthy for life. At fifty, we should have a rough ideas of our likes and dislikes, but also old enough to know there are some things we need to do that we don’t like!
To the next 50 years!
Samantha Valand is the founder of Wise Women Wellbeing Academy.
A comprehensive hub of resources on hormone balancing, healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years and beyond.