What is a woman of a certain age anyway? Apparently it’s a woman who is not young, but not old either. So middle aged then.
I am still not sure of the actual age you have to reach to be classed as middle aged, because how do you know when you are in the middle of your life? I could have reached mid-life when I was 25, or I might not have even reached it yet? However, I understand that it is generally accepted that you reach this magical time somewhere in your mid 40’s onwards.
Anyhow, even though I don’t know exactly when this phenomenon occurs, I admit that I am beginning to have an idea about what it feels like.
Here is what I have learned so far:
1 You can become irrelevant (if you are not careful)
Sure, once you reach a certain time in your life, it does feel great not to have to worry about who you are and what people think, you’ve kind of been there and done all that. Or at least you should have done by now.
You know who you are.
The trouble is, now you ‘get it’; no one else either seems to or wants to. All of a sudden you can find yourself bobbing about in a sea of irrelevancy.
Someone else is having their ‘time’. You’ve had yours, thank you very much.
2 You can start thinking like a grown up
You recall that time when you were a kid and had that discussion? No, not the one about contraception or blow jobs, but the one about being buried or cremated, and what song they would play at your funeral?
Well… all of a sudden the decision whether or not to have your ashes put in a firework, or sprinkled on pop tarts and catapulted through your next door neighbours window suddenly becomes more relevant.
Not relevant to other people of course, but relevant to you. Because this is the time when many of us women start to think about the physical changes upon us as we advance at a frightening pace into the next decade or so of irritable moods, disturbed sleep patterns and other weird shit going on with our bodies.
3 You can become less physically resilient
Anyone who is in their mid-40s plus who claims that they have never felt physically better than they do now is either lying, an evangelical new age yogi guru (wow I feel so much more refreshed after all that downward dogging) or just plain high on drugs.
Or possibly all three!
Of course you have felt physically better than you do now…like when you were 10 and could fall out of a tree and bounce, or when you were at school and could do a Fosbury Flop, no problem.
I am not saying you can’t feel great any more, sure you can; you just have to put the work in first…and a lot of it.
I am also not claiming that your forties are the beginning of the end. But they are the start of shall we say, a new beginning.
In other words, it’s time to get real!
4 You can become a specimen
Having recently been poked and prodded about following a recent array of well-woman screenings, it hasn’t really enamoured me much to the idea of more sensitive intrusions in the future. Even the most considerate of medical healthcare professionals can make one feel somewhat ‘invaded’ for want of a better expression.
For this type of thing I would be much more relaxed in a warm, cosy back lit room smelling of lavender or blue tansy with some calming background music, perhaps some sort of woodland ceremony beforehand, a prayer recital and petals sprinkled over my tummy, while someone plays the flute to my inner goddess. But I guess that isn’t gonna happen anytime soon.
Instead, my mammogram experience involved the machine equivalent of what I could only describe as Metal Mickey’s heavy handed older brother manufactured by Clunkitt and Co manhandling me. I know prevention is better than cure and all that, but there must be a more comfortable and less intrusive way of scaring the living daylights out of us?
5 You get hotter, quicker.
As for looking after yourself and all those glossy advertisements of people looking great in sportswear; well, they just ain’t telling the truth. Not even near. Going for a run or cycle ride isn’t fun, or cute – it’s just hard work…and makes you hot and sweaty but not in a good way.
Lying down has to be better for you, it feels better anyway. But you soon find you can’t even do that in peace any more. Because when you do find time for a lie down of an evening, all the angst of the day seems to catch up with you out of nowhere.
And if that doesn’t happen, then there are the night sweats to contend with.
There are of course natural ways to deal with all of this and the more research you do now, the better for later on. You know…later….when you come out the other side of all this, when you are simply classified as old.
6 You cannot hide from your hormones
Of course, there are many ways for us women to cope with the whole middle age ‘thang’, we can fully embrace it or wrap ourselves in our shawls of invisibility. We can live our lives precariously through our children, or just forget we exist at all.
Alternatively we could revert back to the good old days that, although we couldn’t leave behind fast enough, appear in retrospect to be so dear to us now. Or perhaps we should try to merge with the youth culture of today, and hope no one notices.
Perhaps it is better to just embrace it.
But whatever we decide to do one thing is for sure, our hormones are coming along for the ride, so it’s best to be prepared.
My hormones appear to be taking me on a little holiday, and not a simple bucket and spade brigade job or a stroll along a tropical white sandy beach either …nah…my hormones are taking me on an extreme adrenalin junkie adventure holiday of a lifetime.
In my opinion, there is only one way to meet this ‘exciting’ period in my life, and it’s the same with any challenge.
And that’s head on!
‘Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!’
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