I’ve had my menopausal moments. I’ve snapped at younger women, knowing one day they’d understand. I’ve excused myself from restaurant dinners by candlelight to fan myself in the ladies room until the burning flush of a hot flash passed. I’ve walked the hallways of my home alone in the middle of the night because of insomnia that felt endless; just me and the moon, cycle after cycle after cycle.
But like the moon, eventually the symptoms waned.
Menstruation ended for good.
I was able to say, “Good night moon,” fall asleep and stay that way all night.
My internal thermostat normalized and crazy mood swings dissipated.
And now the brightest of the bright spots is that in so many ways, I’m able to be a girl again; a girl without the trappings of fertility.
Oh I know, I know. I should exude wisdom and inspire younger generations now that I’m this age.
But younger generations aren’t always paying much attention. They’re busy.
To many men, I’m invisible when I’m out in public. That has its advantages too.
My children have grown and are taking care of themselves.
So I have the freedom, post-menopausal, to play.
I remember coloring and cutting paper and playing with glue.
I can do all that again. Not for someone else. Just for me. I paint outside on an easel. I quilt. I stitch. I sketch.
There are no children in my kitchen who need to be fed or lunches that need to be made. No one else’s schedule needs to be kept. If I want to eat a big buttery bowl of popcorn, have three scoops of ice cream in a fancy crystal bowl, and sip on a fizzy Diet Coke for dinner, I have a green light!
I can stay up late and watch a movie in bed (any movie I want).
I’m cycling again. I may not ride as far as I want, but I pedal as far as I can. My bike has a basket on the fender and a bell on the handlebars. Yep. A bell.
If I want to play house, I play with my grandkids. I don’t have to supervise homework, shuttle them to sports or music lessons. I bake with them, lie under the stars with them, giggle, play patty-cake, and read out loud with them.
I cry. I dream. I wear what I want, even if it doesn’t match. Who cares? If I like it, that’s enough for me.
I learn something new every day because I’ve slowed down enough to discover the world again.
I’ve moved and changed and grown through all the years from my first period to the last as a woman. I’ve done the reproductive thing.
But now, after menopause, I’ve got a second chance to be a girl again and I’m relishing it.
Because girls, they say, just want to have fun.
See you on the playground!