Menopause: The Ultimate New Year
Christmas is over and the new year has finally rolled around again – my favorite part of the holiday season, actually. I see Christmas kind of like Mardi Gras, or bachelor and bachelorette parties. The great, big, last hurray before you have to knock-off all those shenanigans and begin anew.
For Mardi Gras-loving Catholics, beginning anew means putting away the beads, locking up the liquor cabinet, pulling your shirt down, and preparing for Lent with prayers and fasting before Easter. For bachelors and bachelorettes, well, you know.
With Christmas and the new year, it’s all about indulging in rich holiday food that is not good for us in any way whatsoever – which makes it taste all the better if you ask me – spending too much money on gifts, partying hard on New Year’s Eve, then making resolutions to start a new exercise plan, and to do things differently next year.
I’ve made a lot of New Year’s resolutions in my life, and frankly, I’ve never kept any of them. But that doesn’t stop me from loving a new beginning, because I do. I see the new year as the ultimate new beginning, where, instead of making a bunch of silly resolutions that I know I won’t keep, I set goals. And being the ambitious, Type-A, achievement oriented woman that I’ve become, there is just something about setting a goal which motivates the heck out me.
Maybe it’s all just semantics when I call it a goal instead of a resolution, I don’t know. I just know that when I set a goal, I hit the ground running to achieve it. Since I’ve reached menopause, this drive to achieve has become almost nuclear – downright explosive.
I think it also has something to do with lower estrogen levels and therefore, unopposed testosterone levels for women in menopause. Forgive me for saying it, but many women become more “man like” in how we go about things once we reach menopause. We become far less interested in pleasing others (usually our families) and much more interested in pleasing ourselves.
Some might call that selfish. But I say, “It’s about time.”
Now don’t get me wrong. Self-sacrifice and caring for our families is a worthy endeavor, and frankly, necessary for a stable and civilized society. But once those chicks leave the nest, which they usually have by the time the average woman reaches menopause, we should be able to spread our wings, too.
For someone like me, that means setting new goals for the new year. For you, maybe it’s taking up a new hobby, developing a new skill or cultivating a new interest. Maybe you want to go back to school and get your undergraduate degree, or your masters or doctorate. Menopause is a great time to do those things.
Once the hormonal turbulence of the perimenopause transition is over and actual menopause is reached, women often discover they have a new energy. It can be refreshing and deeply inspiring, the ultimate new beginning. But, don’t worry. I’m not about to go all Helen Reddy on you and say something cheesy like, “I am woman, hear me roar.” That’s just so 1970s. I’m going to do a Dr. Phil instead, and say, “I want you to get excited about your life.” I mean, you don’t have to go climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or anything. Just take a chance on something new. Do something that makes you happy. If that also makes you want to roar, well, go for it, sister.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.