Infancy to childhood, Mid-life to Menopause….why did the fun stop? We’re born with a clean slate – an innocent and impressionable young mind and from the moment we enter this world we start gathering information and developing ideas. A bright future awaits us all and life is good.
In our childhood every new experience is exciting and fresh. We exist only to play because this is how we learn. Eating is optional, experimental, and is needed only to sustain us through play. We have boundless energy and a vivid imagination, and life is fun.
In our youth we seek adventure, test our wings (and our parents), and are up for pretty much anything. We experiment with alcohol, junk food and a racy lifestyle because our bodies can take it, for now. ….and we’re still having fun.
Then, before you know it, we come upon our adult years and ‘boom’ responsibility hits us right between the eyes. Kids, mortgages, careers, aging parents; the whole nine yards, but that’s ok cause we’re still of sound mind and able body (and by now we have the means to maintain a fully stocked bar) Junk food now gives us heartburn but we still maintain a steady eating regimen of pizza and cocktail nuts – we just wash them down with beer and wine (cause it’s cheap and abundant). We have friends we can commiserate with, jobs we can immerse ourselves in, and hobbies to distract us. We’re thirty-something, invincible and life is still fun. Who knew it would end there?
We all have that birthday that hit us harder than any other. The turning point where we had to grudgingly acknowledge that we are, finally, middle aged and no longer societies ‘leading’ demographic. No longer will we set the trend – that torch has been passed (not willingly) to those 10 years younger than us (and they now refer to us as Maam and Sir)
What used to be natural highlights in a woman’s hair (I swear to God they were natural….at some point) are now defiant streaks of grey so we revamp our household budget to include monthly visits to have our roots covered. For me that ‘birthday of change’ was 35. I don’t know why, but turning 35 was a turning point in my life. I got rid of most of my clothes, invested in a complete wardrobe of denim, and sported sunglasses that my husband said made me look like Onassis (Aristotle, not Christina) I thought I was really happenin’,,,,turns out I was just really loosin’ it, and this was just the beginning. The forties awaited.
I can’t say it was just me. My husband hit mid life too, and while he didn’t radically change his wardrobe he did try his hand with a brush on dye for his beard, until he endured such a serious skin rash he had to stop. (What was once the distinctive ‘salt and peppering’ in a man’s hair was now either a bald spot or a more solid greyish-white, neither of which is youthful —- see, woman aren’t the only ones that succumb to vanity) He did however indulge with his passion for golf, investing in countless clubs; big ones, little ones, long, short – he had to buy new bags to house them all (we had no less than 11 golf bags in our basement…..and only 1 golfer in the house)
Throughout our forties we both noted a little slowing of our metabolism (ok, we put on a few pounds) and our clothes somehow didn’t look quite as sharp as they once did. Trendy fashion was now being replaced by elastic waistbands and sensible shoes, (who knew denim was so stiff…what was I thinking?) but eventually we accepted our progression to middle age, and just as we did, ‘boom’ – the fifties,,,, and this one packed a punch!
I hit menopause, or rather,,,, it,,,, hit,,,me. I spent the next several years battling the bulge, plucking unwanted hair out of various parts of my face, and swabbing down my sweat-soaked body. (I’m just a big puddle in sneakers) And like any rational middle-aged woman, I lashed out at a world that dared to be so unjust, raged against a God that would sentence any female to this hell (because 36 years of menstruation wasn’t punishment enough?) so I basically bitched (because if women didn’t bitch we’d explode) If I have to go through this, I’m not goin’ quietly, or alone!
And fortunately I didn’t have to…God gave me a husband to abuse. While I struggled with ‘the change’, my husband was going through a ‘change’ of the male kind. He invested in a wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts, bought a nice straw, rimmed hat, and traded in the family sedan for a ‘big ole Buick’, aka, a Geezermobile. (every Geezer has one eventually) We’ve gotten the 11 golf bags down to 7 (it’s a work in progess) and his snack of choice is now any kind of dip (cause nuts now hurt his teeth) washed down with a rye and ginger (his medicine of choice) I suppose I should be grateful. I have friends whose husband’s impulsively bought an expensive sports car when they hit mid life (because when he no longer turns the heads of young women he needs a car to do it). Others take up with a younger woman (but they’d better have money cause there a price for that arm candy) and if they go so far as to leave their families and settle down with their Barbie Doll, eventually she’s going to want to ‘nest’ and that puts them right back in the humdrum life they just left behind…..only now they’re 30 years older…. not so fun anymore.
I’d be lying if I said the Sixties don’t scare me. I am cautious. On the other hand the fifties were such hell, how much worse could it be? I will acknowledge one thing though,,,,,every decade, every change, and every challenge, humbled me. It made me more reflective, more tolerant, more appreciative of everything I learned along the way (although I would’ve preferred the Coles-notes version of menopause) What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger, and smarter, and better. I wonder, if we could be born with the knowledge we die with, would we have changed anything in our path of life? Maybe,,,,,,,,,, but would it have been as much fun,,,,cause isn’t that what life is all about?