Do you subscribe to my monthly newsletters? You can sign up on the landing page of the site or use the handy form in the right-hand sidebar of this journal. Your information is never shared, and I send one and only one newsletter per month. Here is a look at what I sent in January:
Happy 2019! I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start. I love the fact that January is a month named for the dual-faced god Janus. There’s the interplay between light and shadow, death and rebirth. It’s the month when we resolve to do things but are also recuperating from having done all the things in December. We have such good intentions! And we have fewer resources, it seems. So many of us—and this is a northern hemisphere thing I’m talking about—have less energy, less will-power, less determination. It’s so easy to slide into a post-holiday funk and just give in to the impulse to put on flannel jammies and flop in front of Netflix. (And if you’re going to do that, I recommend TRAVELERS or DERRY GIRLS.)
Some people start the new year with rituals, choosing a word to set an intention for the next twelve months. If I were going to settle on a single word, it would have to be “transition”. So much has changed, is changing, will change for us in the space of a single week in January. My husband has resigned his job in order for us to form our own company; our daughter is moving two and a half hours away, and I will be officially post-menopausal. All within three days.
These are all good changes, positive changes, changes that have—apart from menopause—come from choice. And it’s a privilege we don’t take lightly that we are able to decide to choose a different tack. We have no idea how any of it is going to shake out. We’re casting the runes and waiting to see what turns up. We’re gambling, not because we’re inherently risk-takers but because the confines of where we are no longer suit us. (There are appropriate metaphors I could use about butterflies and the chrysalis. Feel free to insert the Anaïs Nin quote about bursting out of bud here.) We’re creating a small earthquake of our own, but sometimes you have to make the tectonic plates of your life shift in order to create something new.
I said I didn’t choose menopause and that’s technically true. What I have chosen is my response to it. It’s odd that you can’t say you are in menopause except in hindsight. It refers to the year you went without periods for the first time, and you can only identify that when it’s finished. After that, you are post-menopausal. So it’s all a big guessing game, a chance to play “expect the unexpected” with your hormones, your body and mind. My strategy in living with the changes has been simple. I agree with all of it. Hot flashes? Fine. That’s my body sorting itself out. Moodiness? I recognize when I wake up prickly as a hedgehog and take that as a sign to be careful and kind with myself and others. I don’t fight tears and I don’t fight anger. I acknowledge and accept.
I have stopped dyeing my hair and discovered that my grey isn’t coming in grey at all—it’s silver. So now I just say I’m growing my own crown. I drink a lot of water and swallow my evening primrose oil and go to bed as early as I need. I lift weights and I do yoga, making my peace with imperfection and happy that it’s called a “practice” for a reason. Some days I fall out of camel pose; other days, I hold corkscrew, my heart lifted to the sky. I am a woman in transition and I have decided to thrive in the “unknowing” of it all. 2019 will bring questions and possibly answers, some endings and better beginnings. If you’re perched on a precipice, we’ll perch together. And then we’ll step out into the openness beyond. We’ll weave our own magic carpets and feather our own wings, and we’ll be just fine out there on the horizon.