Thursday, July 2, 2009

The PAUSE in Menopause

Menopause should more accurately be called menohalt, as reader Jackie M points out. I wonder sometimes about the scientists or health professionals that named it - were they overly optimistic? Confused? Clueless? Where actually is the PAUSE in menopause?

I think I may have figured it out. The Pause might be a pause for reflection. We can’t remember anything, can’t function as we used to, are clueless and confused ourselves. We reevaluate everything. We pause to ask ourselves who we are. We look back to who we’ve been up until the Big M. We look ahead to the woman we might become.

We pause to ask what WE want, rather than what does our family, our work, our world want from us. We cease going on automatic and examine our life from the sides, the bottom, the soft juicy core.

The Big M ushers in a host of other m’s, not the least of which is mortality. A pretty big M in its own right, mortality reminds us that this ride is not forever, so we had better choose our manner of conveyance and pay attention to the journey.

We pause to ponder what we might be when we grow up. We pause to consider what we might wish to leave behind when we shuffle off this mortal slinky. Mostly, we pause to appreciate, to savor flowers and love and blue sky and books and girlfriends.

I recently discovered Vibrant Nation, a website for women over fifty, when they posted an article about my book “The Big M”. I liked the site and its conversations. so I joined. When I filled out the personal info page with bio and the usual stats, I came to a box that asked me to send a postcard to my younger self.

I was delighted and intrigued. What would I say to her/me if I could? Besides love your body because it changes, don’t sweat the small stuff, clean less and play more, work and success are okay, but love and gratitude make for a meaningful life. Stuff like that.

In the end, I simply wrote this:

Dear Me,

It's all worth it - it only gets better. I'll be (am) glad when you are here.

All my best,


What would YOU write to your younger self? Let me know and maybe we’ll be able to pass on our notes to our daughters and the young goddesses in training. Pause, reflect, and send that virtual postcard to the sweet, young you from the wiser, vibrant woman you’ve become. Let’s really put the PAUSE in menopause.