The Pause that Refreshes
There are some definite advantages to being over 40 (and then some): no more teenage acne (for most of us), no homework (except those of us in grad school) and no more gym class (though some of us actually enjoyed it. . .). Oh, and I almost forgot, we go through menopause.
Yes. I’m calling that an advantage. Because, despite the hot flashes, both physical and emotional, menopause brings with it a refreshing new phase in your life (And, yes, I know the title is a terrible pun).
To begin with, you notice pretty quickly that you don’t have to shave your legs as often (and not only because they’re not being looked at as much). Your body hair – everywhere – grows more slowly and, among other things. you save money on razor blades
Remember when you were a pre-teen and your “friend” made its first visit? (Ah. What a quaint term!) Then, you spent the next 35+ years cursing it. In fact, you BBs probably called it “the curse.” Didn’t we just love our lives as women? Once you’ve lost your worst friend forever, it is an incredibly freeing feeling. No more visits to the “personal products” aisle (except for lubricant, and that’s a whole different blog post), no more embarrassing leaks. No more excuses in the bedroom (I did say this was positive stuff, right? But everything’s got two sides). Mine stopped on a dime rather than a petering out . . . sorry, can’t stop the puns. . . when I went off The Pill. That was a real gift. Now, all I have to do is find someone who can use all the paraphernalia I have left.
Of course, not getting that visitor every month means you don’t have to worry about not getting that visitor every month. In other words, no danger of pregnancy, so safe sex! And a future that you can actually begin to imagine without parenthood.
Which is why, when we reach this age, we don’t have to worry about birth control; remembering to take it, put it in, count the days, whatever you did. Oh, and packing it for vacations. Wasn’t it fun when you forgot?
But, probably one of the biggest advantages to reaching “maturity” – as we’ll refer to it – is really getting to know yourself better. Once the worries of avoiding pregnancy and other early adult problems fade away, you start to focus on yourself more and have the chance to look at who you are and what you want, for a change. I don’t know about you, but it sure is nice to be able to accept my flaws with good nature. The fears and obsessions we faced about our looks start to fade because that’s not what’s important to us anymore. Sure, we want to look good, but most of us don’t have to plan what we’re going to wear to that party or wedding 12 weeks in advance.
And, now that you’ve got a lot of experience under your belt (along with, probably, about 10 more pounds), you become the one people want advice from. You’re the one who’s been there, done that, dealt with it. Oh, and you have the right (in fact it is outright expected of you) to get all emotional, scream, yell and flip out in general. . . then, blame it on hormones. Almost like being pregnant without the stretch marks.
All those emotions and the physical changes are the female side of the midlife crisis. But, unlike men, we share and get through it together. Oh, and we don’t leave our husbands for 20 something cream puffs.
But, we are the first one they free in a hostage situation.