The only thing more talked about on women’s blogs than children is The Change. Somewhere around your fifties, you stop having your period and start having things that they call Symptoms. These are physical and psychological changes that seem to have the power to wreck lives and signal the start of a downward spiral into the grave.
Peri Menopause, Menopause and Post Menopause all sound like painful lingering conditions that must be endured. All one can hope for is a speedy transition through one of women’s roughest patches.
Although The Change is not usually easy for anyone, and the Symptoms can be quite debilitating, there is far too much emphasis on the bad and not enough on the good. Instead of dreading turning fifty, you should look forward to it. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks (like having to look up the opposite of ‘benefits’ in the thesaurus because you can’t think of the word).
1. No periods
After years of menstrual cramps and avoiding white clothes, you no longer have a period. This means you aren’t surprised by a visit from Aunt Flo on your annual holiday or forced to give up sex one week out of every month (unless you like period sex, which incidentally I do, but that’s a whole ‘nother post).
And without a period, you don’t have to buy all the stuff that goes with it – tampons, sanitary towels, new underwear, new sheets … As these items are ridiculously overpriced, you’ll have more money to spend on champagne.
2. You can eat what you like
The time for dieting is over. Even if you were committed to losing those last five kilos, by your 50s they’re probably not going to budge. It’s time to embrace that little bit of extra padding and relax around food. If you can have lemon meringue pie any time you want now, I’m guessing you’ll hardly eat it at all. Perhaps now is the time to experiment with mindful eating — the results might surprise you.
3. You can stop dying your hair
By the time you reach your fifties, you should have a decent amount of silver hair in amongst your natural colour. If you stop dying your hair, you will be surprised by how these streaks of grey actually look like highlights. And grey is so hot now that even the youngsters are copying the trend. Think of how much time and money you’ll save not having to get your roots done every two weeks.
4. You can wear what you like
Now is the time to be a bit edgy, or whacky, or alternative. You don’t have to fit into society’s expectations. You’re an older woman now, if people can’t deal with how you look, fuck ’em.
5. You can’t get pregnant
You can stop taking birth control pills and go au-natural. You might be surprised by the improvement in your skin, your hair, your mood and your libido. No more artificial hormones pumped into you like some battery hen. You’re free and clear!*
(*after you haven’t had a period for a year, mind you. I don’t want to be blamed for you getting pregnant at 51. It happens you know.)
6. You can leave your husband
Now that the kids are gone, you don’t have to put up with your husband’s snoring, farting, or worse — telling you you’re worthless, or ignoring you. You can take a lover or you can be single and adopt homeless cats. You can buy leather, a vibrator and kiss girls. You can have it all.
7. You can smile knowing the next 30 or 40 or 50 years are going to be the best yet
You don’t need to be miserable about getting older, and moan about your creaking joints and lack of sleep, when there are so many positives. Finally, that woman who has been caged up inside you can be let out. You don’t have to be on your best behaviour so someone will marry you, or give you the right job, or approve of you at the school drop off, you can be as wild and inappropriate as you like. The relief that comes from being authentically you is worth enduring all of the Symptoms.
So do me a favour — next time you see an article about the misery of middle-age, leave a comment about how much you are enjoying this new found freedom.
Let’s change the conversation around midlife, menopause and aging. Let’s celebrate the chance to be our true selves in all our glory.
What are you enjoying most about getting older?