The pros and cons of menopause

Aug 06, 2023
Night sweats and hot flashes? I never had them, but from what my friends have told me, I’m blessed in this department. Source: Getty

 HOW DRY I AM, HOW WET I’LL BE, IF I DON’T FIND THE BATHROOM KEY- Remember that song? Well, it’s taken on new meaning as I’ve gotten older.

Welcome to menopause, which is nature’s way of putting you in the dugout. There’s no more swinging for the fences, rounding the bases, and in many cases, enjoying that elusive home run.

Women I know go through menopause in a number of ways, and it seems we all have our unique stories to tell.  It ain’t fun, but it’s funny, and thankfully, we boomers have lots of company as we traverse this crazy terrain. 

I went through menopause early, thanks to the stress of caring for my mother when I was 47. I’m sure her demise sent my body into a premature retirement. But that’s the way mine began, and in some ways, it’s been a blessing.

My body was different before menopause. I used to think about sex most of the time. My friends compared me to an adolescent male, constantly on the prowl, or at least writing about it. My behaviour sometimes got me into trouble, but for the most part, my proclivities were just an extension of a healthy athletic libido. 

At 70, sex is still on my mind, but it’s more of a back-burner sort of thing. I don’t froth at the bit as I used to, which is a good thing. I really pay attention to people now instead of wondering what they’d be like in bed. 

I find that I now have a deeper appreciation of living things that never interested me before. Insects, frogs, and even an occasional alligator are so fascinating now. Since menopause,  I write more, do more music and photography, and I also enjoy singing and doing improv. 

My creativity has found new outlets.  I like to think that my world has gotten broader, even if I don’t feel like much of a broad myself.

Night sweats and hot flashes? I never had them, but from what my friends have told me, I’m blessed in this department.  However, I’m on the lean side, and in the thick of winter, I probably wouldn’t mind borrowing a hot flash or two from some of my pals. Then, I wouldn’t have to wear three layers of pyjamas.

Leakage? My friends complain about this, and when I see the Depend ads, I wonder if I’m headed down this road.  Thankfully, the Kegel exercises still seem to be working, but just to be on the safe side, I try to avoid long freeway rides unless there are several gas station stops along the way.

My skin has taken an interesting turn. I now wear a Thomas Guide map on my face, the lines intersecting like the freeways in downtown LA. My Irish “freckles” are now chocolate chips. Maybe I should play Connect the Dots with these age spots and see what sort of picture develops.

Memory? What’s that? I can recall every minute detail from grammar school, but ask me what movie I watched last night and you’ll get a sheepish grin from me as I feebly scramble for the answer. All I can recall is whether or not I liked it. 

Mood swings? Welcome to Magic Mountain. Wheee, here I go into some stupid depression about whether the hummingbird has had enough to eat until I rage into an anxiety attack about whether that age spot on my leg is cancer. 

Maybe we weren’t supposed to live past menopause. Maybe all the money that is spent keeping us going wasn’t meant to be. When our plumbing dries up and men can’t repel gravity with their peckers, maybe it’s really time to throw in the towel.

But I’m still here, still swinging, even if it’s not for the fences; I’m still a player in the game.

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