Perimenopause, welcome to the club

Restless nights, beads of sweat above my upper lip, a belly that has suddenly appeared, and mood dips that I haven’t experience since I was 13.

WebMd confirmed it for me. I am in perimenopause.

So here I am. Several of my friends, some even younger, have hit menopause. How could this have happened to us? Weren’t we just turning 21? Looking for boys? Hanging out all night at Harry’s Hula Hut on the Upper West Side? Right, that was close to 30 years ago.

I can’t lie and say I love the way I feel but I will say that I am not fighting it either. I mean, it’s not like I could win anyway.

So as I reflect (because yes, at 49 you do start to “reflect”) on what this means here’s what comes up:

Sensuality has a new meaning for me. I never thought sensuality meant anything other than the obvious—but wow was I missing out. It’s about enjoying all of the senses and slowing down to appreciate it.

So a beautiful sunrise, fragrant flowers or cool sheets give me far more pleasure than a good roll between the sheets.

Shape has more appeal. From the teenager that was obsessive to the bride who got down to a size 2, I now enjoy all the curves I have. Yes, I am still trying to make peace with the belly that likes to taunt me, but the butt and fuller boobs? I’ll keep them—even if they do bring me to a size 12.

Decisions are made with more care. Make no mistake, I plan to live to 100 and have fun doing it—but I also recognize that time may not be on my side. And what I agree to, say yes to or just allow to happen can bring me to a place that will not make me happy. I get to choose and  that is both freeing and gives me great responsibility.

More attention is paid. Multi-tasking seems to exhaust me like never before. It feels like I am being pulled into two, my mind buzzing. Slowing down and putting my full focus on any task is a delight.

Laughter is my currency. A day filled with belly laughs is a day well spent. Laughter is the best medicine is my truth. Even in the darkest days, I have learned there can be space for laughter and that is a gift.

Joy is my barometer. Does it make me happy? Will it make me smile or lift my heart? That is how I gauge more and more decisions. Of course, when it comes down to folding laundry or washing dishes there’s not an obvious choice. But if it comes down to spending time with someone who drains me or lifts me? I don’t need to think twice.

I suspect the full “change” can only be better. Less of the ups and downs. More stability and even more wisdom and grace. A pretty good club to be in after all.

Marissa Bishop