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“My confidence plummets and those all too familiar feelings of being ignored come back with a vengeance. I’m left feeling old, alone and invalid.”

This morning over 2 long blacks, a double-shot decaf, 2 flat whites, oh and make 1 at half-strength and a soy latte, one of the women in my Monday morning group said the above sentence…..

It got me to wondering how do we confront the various indignities faced by femmes d’un certain age with courage, candour, and a healthy dose of ‘screw you, societal expectations’?

For some women, the arrival of menopause went unnoticed because they were just too damn busy to think about themselves for a nanosecond. But the reality is the big 5-0 almost certainly heralds the realisation that you’re now a woman of a certain age.

Is menopause really just the beginning of the end?

Or can we write a new epitaph on the tombstone of our old life?

Sure, we’re too old to create babies… But we’re absolutely too young to die or retire to a rocking chair for the next 40 years whilst waiting to die.

We’re just getting started I say!

Just like the complicated coffee order above, we know what we want. The problem is that a lot of us don’t know how to be this new version of us. We don’t know if it’s possible to re-invent ourselves and our lives. What will the kids think? <feel free to insert husband, wife, neighbours, friends, postman or whomever>.

So how are we supposed to age during or post menopause?

There doesn’t seem to be a template.

My own mum became a grandmother at 52. She was really proud to be Grandma; she loved it. You could probably have called her grandmotherish-matronly even (although not to her face as that was certain death) but she was happy about it and it was 1979. However, she never said a word about menopause and so I’m left wondering if her apparent grandmotherish insanity at the time was just a crazy woman or in fact menopausal insanity.

Now, if someone called me matronly at 49 years & 10 months when my grandson Jake came along… OH MY GOD!

As for menopause though, my take is that inside I still feel like I’m 29…

…It’s just that at 54 my body is going through these weird changes.

Now I didn’t choose to be 54, it kinda chose for me. The simple truth is that as the days line up, one after the other your chronological age increases. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do about that.

There is one thing that we can do though… We can get a new attitude. Boooo <raspberry> I hear you say, attitude, schmattitude. And how the hell do I do that? I hear you ask.

Well, you make up your mind to, that’s how. Plus you recognise that menopause and being 50 are the hallmarks of your own little Age of Aquarius.

It represents a future of freedom sister, freeeeeedom.

You see, at 54 I’m still capable of falling in lust at the supermarket, navigating the extensive and treacherous waters of the anti-ageing revolution (as if it’s our fault) all-the-while negotiating the ins and outs of acceptable behaviour for a woman stomping/skipping down the road of happy menopausal destiny.

At some point in our middle years (from 40 or so on), we’ve all felt a little out of place and very much invalidated.

Over here at The Menopause Effect, we want to help navigate the seems-like-all-the-f*cking-time rocky waters of life from the perspective of women in their peri, smack-bang-in-the-middle and post menopausal years. We’re breaking down misconceptions one blog post at a time. And we absolutely refuse to be invalid.

We’re also hell-bent on tackling these universal feelings from a point of view we don’t hear from nearly enough; the grown-up and menopausal woman’s point of view. Yes, we’re strong, alive and fifty plus.

Every one of us has experienced love, misunderstanding, anger, and a deep desire for chocolate. And by talking with each other and supporting each other I believe menopause has the ability to bring us together, no matter how different we may appear on the surface.

Stay tuned for more fun-filled topics like: The how and where of conducting an affair with a younger man (or woman)? What happens if I don’t like anyone anymore? Is 50 the new 37? Or is 50 still just…50? Are sensible shoes actually compulsory? What about my eyebrows… should I dye them?

Stick around if you dare.

Onward!

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