This September I turned 50. I have been waiting for this landmark day for a loooong time, and I was so exited. But I AM a bit weird, I must admit - celebrating uneven days or occasions; I celebrated my 39th birthday as "welcome to only having one year left before I finally turn 40" - and that was an amazing day. So this birthday.... half my life... becoming older and wiser - maybe even an adult?? - it really was something magical for me!
Not all things have been like I imagined them; I also looked forward to Adult Puberty (yeah, that didn't end well with Mrs. Menopause really kicking my a... with sweats, mood swings and pains in joints...) and I'm still trying to see some positives in that. So I know that the risk of having great expectations is that you have great let-downs as well.
So what is it I think will change so immensely since I'm looking forward to it, I've asked myself?
Well...... the idea of becoming older has always fascinated me. I know I can't count on becoming wiser overnight, but I like the idea of being the old wise woman looking back at her life with contentment and happiness. And that takes time! And experience, too!
I don't like the "in between", the change - when I feel my body becoming more fragile, or my mind loses it's sharpness. When the fat stores itself differently and I suddenly find myself losing my breath trying to hold my stomach in... no, that's so frustrating and I get embarrassed in a way I also was when going through adolescence.
Or when I suddenly feel the sweat coming on and I'm doing a yoga class, shopping or sipping a nice g&t with friends and all I just wanna do is take off all my clothes.... na, I don't like that at all!
But I like the calmness I allow myself. The time I take to do stuff. My thoughts about what I can do and want to do - and what I end up doing.
I find I've been very hard on myself, that I could do anything - and then had to do it "because I can!" That has brought me into situations where I've done things I don' like, just because there wasn't a reason to "not do it".
Work nights? Yeah, I can do that! Heavy lifting? No problem! Helping someone? Yeah, I've got time....... all in all I've done a lot of things because there was no reason for me to say no!
One of the best presents I had for my birthday was a friend saying: "Now there's nothing you "have to do" anymore!! Now you "do as you like!"!!"
It has become clear that I forgot to ask myself one question; I simply felt obliged to do everything - because I could! BUT - Work nights? I get cranky when I don't sleep properly! So NO! That wouldn't be healthy for anyone around me at all! Heavy lifting, you ask? I don't want to have a daily life where I just feel as if I'm working and then having to lie down when I get home. I don't want to ruin my body! Helping someone? I don't know her that well, and she only comes when she can't find anybody else, and what has she done for me..... so, no thank you!
In German menopause is called "Wecscheljahren" - the years you change. I find it very descriptive. The time you "come back" to you. Re-align your expectations and acceptance for YOU. Indeed the years where you become wiser! More courageous maybe even?
I've decided to start therapy again. To work with some old traumas (again!) I feel ready and strong to see it in another light, from a new perspective.
Another German word is "Zufrieden" (zu Frieden gekommen) - at peace, or actually to have come to peace with where you are RIGHT NOW!
I think that's where I'm headed now!