I was thinking about menopause this morning. It must be one of the biggest changes in any one woman's life. Not only that but it affects everyone around her in a big way. I see menopause as a a real life-changer - time of recovery from and improvement on everything we have been before... with the opportunity to become what really suits... for life.
For the most part life transitions are obvious, because something 'obvious' is happening. Going to school, leaving home, graduating, getting a job, an engagement, marriage, buying a house, having children. Whilst everybody does experience them differently, these transitions are relatively easy to normalise. There are many others going through the same process and we mostly slot into the 'everyone's in the same boat' intelligences that provides some level of comfort, and muddle our way through. Things become increasingly difficult when they happen in isolation. For example, illnesses, accidents, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, divorce, an empty nest. All of these things are awful and do require extra help, tenacity, resources and imagination to get us through.
The difference between menopause and all those other transitions is that menopause is a natural step into an unknown and unknowable life. For me this translates as an opportunity to let go of everything that hasn't worked out well, enhance everything that has, heal the wounds that can, instil kindness around those that can't and emerge raring to live.
So how do you feel about your menopause to be? And, not forgetting you men out there who also go through biological change.
I set up Living First therapies, for many reasons and, no doubt, many a variety of motivation. However, the one that rang out the loudest was around people not 'be themselves'. Of course, everyone displays versions of themselves to the outside world, but no matter what, each version seems to never be the whole picture. It's like a story that's being told to the world without a plot. I also have a real passion for individual uniqueness and being with people who live theirs. To me the environment is key to enabling people to be their best version of themselves. Free of judgment, yet just, free of theory, yet knowledgable, free of confinement, yet well-structured. Primarily, this means I'm here to help through life's difficulties. However, I do so with a full nod to individual potential and life's opportunities. Aspects that, given the cash and time poor life in which we live, tend to get pushed aside.
Menopause as our last development stage has the potential to be a biggie. Why? Because it is natural, inevitable and you are still young enough, and able enough to have a significant say in mapping out what your future will be.
There is no doubt it brings holistic change that leads to all sorts of issues and I see many struggling and coping really well with all that menopause delivers. Some fixate on the symptoms and seek remedies. Others wear it like a badge of honour. Whereas others shrug it off as yet another burden to bear. No matter what, in the lives of people it becomes a thing. A thing we can point at and explain away the myriad of issues it brings. It becomes a thing we can 'find out more about' or experiment with remedies, ignoring the fact that it is a natural stage in life's journey. When viewed through a, 'it's an inherent part of life' lens, the experience, whilst still just as uncomfortable, becomes highly liveable.
What to do? It is a time to get to the nitty-gritty and totally reassess everything that has come before, enliven everything you are about, hone all that stuff that floats your boat and what makes you who you are, the person you love to be, the person who shines, is in life and is living, the person who, when you get the occasional glimpse of yourself, experiences a quiet enjoyment of who and what you are.
Yes, menopause: a time for recovery from and improvement on everything you have been before... with the opportunity to become what really suits... for life.