The biggest pause

The biggest pause

Note: I’m writing this because I just need to get this off my chest before I explode. If I don’t do this now, I never will.

We’ve been going on big adventures recently. The kids are out of school, so we are trying to squeeze as much out of summer as we can.

I’m also coming to terms with the fact that I’m getting ready for the big pause — menopause. In about 10 years or so, I’ll stop having a period.

My hormones have always been messed up. Now, the lack of alcohol and peri-menopause — a mucky, gray part of a woman’s life where a body gets ready for menopause — have thrown me for a loop.

I find my lack of motivation disturbing. (I’d say that with my best Darth Vader impression.) My give-a-dang is busted. Hot flashes and insomnia are also how I spend my days and nights, which kind of makes that whole motivation thing moot. I struggle to remember things, even what I’m doing at any given time. Don’t get me started on the mystery weight gain.

Certain things that bothered me but not too badly, make me cry and feel like committing suicide. Or laugh, I laugh at a lot of things for no reason.

Like how when I put up a list of chores every day and it doesn’t get done. Then my husband mentioned the chore once to the kids and it gets done. When I mention it, he says it’s because he has a different approach. If I did what he did, I would be called a nag and a bad mom. But the parenting/gender rules for women don’t apply to men.

And for some reason today, I found myself laughing a lot at that — how my family doesn’t respect women the same way they respect men. I really think the defense mechanism of laughing at this kept me from crying.

This peri-menopause stuff is no joke. The instant weight gain that is hard to get and keep off just annoys me. I got a notification recently that I’ve been a member of a weight-loss app for eight years. EIGHT YEARS! In that time, I’ve gone from 190 to 174 and now I’m into the 200s. I’ve gained a pound this past month, but I’ve hoped back onto my exercise regimen, so I look and feel healthier. I really thought I’d tackle this weight this time, but now I have a hormone imbalance that makes it damn near impossible.

Because everything it out of whack, I’ve been working at engaging myself in my activities. If I focus instead of multi-task, I get my stuff done. If I do today what I’d rather put off until tomorrow, it will get done. If I put it off, I’ll keep putting it off indefinitely.

There is a seminar that I’ve been wanted to take for at least three years. I keep putting it off because of finances, demands from my family, etc. This year, I applied and told my husband that I intended to go. I don’t know if it will help with the issues I’m having, but I’m willing to learn. My husband wanted it to be a family trip. I just need a damn break. I don’t have a boat or three-hour exercise regimen as an excuse to get some much needed adult-time.

As a parent and woman in the workplace, I often find myself working on something when someone feels the need to rescue the situation. There was nothing wrong to begin with, but things that I have been asking for help with — for days, months or years — suddenly become a priority. I’m grateful someone noticed, but really?! You could have helped a little soon instead of sweeping into the situation like a knight on a white horse.

Then everything is OK for a while. But the help stops as quickly as it came, and I’m stuck again holding the bag. I freaking demand that everyone’s hand on that bag, making sure that things continue to maintained.

In my past, there have been many times where help was never offered, and I just got so tired and depressed that for a while I just gave up. My demands for help were ignored as being “too naggy” or as being in need of “a drink” because I was too uptight. Then something would happen and change the narrative. *sigh*

Now, I’m stopping because of this hormone imbalance that seems to make the bad seem worse. The good is the most funniest thing ever. I know there are drugs out there for peri-menopause symptoms, but if I can do something else — diet change, drinking certain teas, reading a certain books — I’d rather start there first.

I’ve never been normal. Normal for me is an odd mix of being hyper vigilant and living for adventure. But at the root of it all, I have to change the narrative if I want to do the things I want to do.

The first change requires modifying how I perceive this peri-menopause thing. It’s part of life that quite frankly is scary as heck right now. I need to learn how to roll with it and get some semblance of a life back. Being present comes in spurts, usually when I’m happy. I can’t be happy all the time. I can lessen the crying that seems to be unwarranted.

Someone, who has run about six marathons, asked me if I thought training for a marathon was vain. I’ve only trained for one marathon. I know at several points in my life, I was a training widow, who worked alone while my spouse worked hard to achieve his dream.

At another point, I was the person training while my husband took care of the kids. It was hard to do because I often heard complaints about how my training was interfering with lunch schedules and other plans my family had.

But that training kept me sane. It kept me organized so I could do my other things and be a runner. It made me feel like I could be a better mom, spouse, etc.

During the past few months, I missed those side benefits to training. I think having something like that training makes some of the peri-menopause symptoms more manageable. If I can lace-up my shoes and get out the door, I’ve won a major battle. The rest is easy, peasy.

Except hot flashes. Those suck, really, really suck.

If you’ve read this far, thank you and I hope you enjoyed my ramble. I’m off to save a kid who wants cereal for breakfast.

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