I can remember my Mum and her friends talking about the ‘the change’. Not in an open way that really explained what it is was, far more vague than that. “Well it’s probably the change” kind of phrases. I did know it was the menopause but all I knew was that your periods stopped and things were ‘different’.
Of course as I got older I learned more but mostly that did nothing to make me feel better about its potential arrival in my life, in fact quite the opposite. I will happily admit I was scared of it and for many years I did my best to try to ignore the fact that it would be my reality and just put it out my head. Of course that was a futile exercise and two years ago I realised the perimenopause was making itself known to me. This December I will have been on HRT for two years and every time I change my patch I thank science for their invention. It really has done a great job at squashing the really crappy symptoms and I have no intention of coming off it any time soon.
But back to the change. I always assumed it was called the change because of all the changes you went through during it but having done some research I have discovered it is because it was known as ‘The change of life’ when you went from your child bearing years to non-child bearing years. Because of course women are defined by their ability to breed. Knowing that does not endear me to the term, the origins of it are clearly rooted in a patriarchy where the role of women was about their worth as breeders.
And yet I am changing. There can be no denying it.
At first I didn’t feel like that but as time goes on the sense of change is really strong. At times it is daunting. Funny really because the idea of change, I think, was what scared me so much about the menopause. Who would I be if I wasn’t who I am now? I didn’t not want to be who I was. But now I am in the midst of it I feel differently about that. Yes at times it is unsettling, because I don’t really know who I am now but it is also oddly exciting. Like I am the verge of an unfurling.
When we go through puberty I think we experience something similar. There is a massive shift in us as our bodies change. It can be unsettling, scary even but also exciting and wild. However the time from then to menopause is, for most of people, a significant period and so to suddenly find myself in the midst of what feels like big change at 51 is complicated.
I find myself drawn to nature more. I have always loved being outdoors but now when I step out for my daily walk with the dog I feel a huge sense of peace and happiness in those moments. Even on wet and cold days I am drawn to the fields, the woods, the countryside around me in a way that feels almost primal. Like it is a fundamental need rather than just something I like doing.
I have applied for an allotment. (the waiting list is LONG so I don’t expect it to happen but who knows) I want to grow things. I find myself wanting to cook and bake more. I love reading and doing puzzles. I enjoy the peace of it and the sense of accomplishment. Maybe I have fast forwarded and actually become my 75 year old self but I don’t think so. I think I just found a peaceful place for me. Those things bring peace and joy. They make me happy. That word again. My word of the year and I have stayed dedicated to it. The result is I have said no to so much stuff and I fucking love that for me. I have been contemplating next years word, is it change? Oddly I think not. Maybe Peace? Also probably not. I will work it out. That is really where I am with all of this. I will work it out and it will all be OK.
I feel deeply in touch with my physical self. I am weirdly loving my body despite it being softer, older, slightly more achy. I often feel wild and a bit feral. I also at times feel the need to be quiet and insular. Like I need to disappear into me, to be alone with myself and really sit with who I am and what I am. It is hard to explain. I think this is all hard to explain. I worry I sound disjointed and confused and yet I don’t really feel those things. I feel very centred and calm about it all. I find myself embracing this change, wanting it.
Things that used to be super important to me, that I was dedicated to; I feel myself shifting away from that. I don’t care about much of it like I used to. I care about other things. I want to spend my time and energy on other things. The result is that I think some something are going to change with regards to some of my projects. I still intend to blog but I apart from my Sinful Sunday which remains a passion for me, I am going to ease back and see what calls to me. I really want to delve into fiction more but right now that is also eluding me. I think I spend too much time trying to write blog posts and not just allowing myself to enjoy some of the stories in my head. In some ways I worry I have lost my mojo for writing but I can also feel it swirling in my mind. I know it will come back especially if I give myself space to just find my way. I plan to definitely do February Photofest next year.
Photography continues to call me. Maybe more so than ever. Capturing my changing body makes me feel alive and in touch with my physical self. I also have a really strong urge to take other peoples pictures, particularly outdoors in nature. Every time I do that for someone I feel such a sense of achievement and gratitude for having had that experience with someone.
I have spent a lot of times thinking about what I want to do with my life. I absolutely hate the hustle. I truly have no motivation for it and I sense that I need to make a fairly big change. In the past that would have scared me but now I feel a sense of possibility in it. I don’t know exactly what it is, or what it looks like yet. As is so often the issue one of the things that is really calling to me is complicated by money. I so want to do it, it feels right. It is something I have contemplated a few times over the years but never taken the plunge but this time feels like the right time. However, how do I do it, and still earn enough money to live? I am not looking for you to answer that. It is a question for me to find the answer to. In the past I would have dismissed it as a dream out of my reach, and also something I was not smart enough to do but now I think; I can do this! Damn capitalism.
I don’t know what it all means but whereas in the past feeling this unmoored would have freaked me out now I feel a sense of calmness with it. I will figure it out. I am in the midst of change, fundamental, powerful, change. It’s a wild ride but it’s also OK. Actually maybe it is even better than OK.