Well, ladies, here we are. We’ve finally come to the end and so, I would like to wrap up the series with some final thoughts.
First, I hope, in my own Magnolia way, I’ve been able to provide enough information, insight and direction with this series, and that you’ve been able to glean something useful and valuable. At the very least, I hope I’ve been able to point you to more resources and other sites that can help you as well.
I am not, as my standard disclaimer is, medically trained. Nor am I a clinician. Sometimes I wish I were. Especially if I thought it could help you more. I can only give you the best that I have - my hard won insight and the benefit of my personal experience. So, in that regard, please take what you can from The Magnolia Diaries and leave the rest.
The Conclusion of the Matter
Perimenopause, as we have learned, is no easy row to hoe. Its roller coaster ups and downs, cruel unpredictability and unrelenting torrent of raging hormones leave so many of us feeling we’ve been to hell and back. (And we didn’t even get a t-shirt to show for it.)
We battle our way through the night sweats, the hot flashes and the mood swings, only to be left with the deadness of our womb. Gee, is there any wonder that so many of us get depressed? And just when you think you have this thing whipped into shaped we find ourselves facing one final demand: A major paradigm shift.
By now, your fertility has ceased, the aging process is clearly underway and now you’ve got at least 45 to 50 years under your belt. You are officially middle-aged. But, here’s the real kicker – previous definitions, assumptions and beliefs no longer apply.
Many women, myself included, begin the process of completely reevaluating their entires lives. Questions that you thought you had long answered are now being revisited. Along with a few new ones as well. A self-image that has grown in large part out of our fertility is redefined. Questions like, “ Who am I?” “Am I still beautiful? ” “Will I still be desirable?” are common. We transition from mother to grandmother and sometimes from wife to caretaker.
Needless to say, coming to grips with so much loss and change can be emotionally overwhelming and daunting. And it just seems so unfair at times. I mean, isn’t it enough that we’ve lost our fertility, our hair is turning gray and that we hardly recognize our bodies anymore? But, now we get to have an existential crisis too ? Yes, we do. The life we once knew is over. The years that have brought us to this point have essentially abandoned us at the door and we get to figure it out all over again. It almost seems cruel, doesn’t it?
But take heart ladies, there is an upside! For every ending, there is a new beginning and for ever closed door, another one opens. This new beginning and this open door marks the second half of our lives. I like to call it Volume II. You can too if you want. Besides, with everything you’ve been through to get here you can call it any damn thing you want as far as I’m concerned. You’ve earned it.
You’ve also earned the distinct advantage of beginning this volume with the hard won experience and knowledge acquired in Volume I. So you’re not exactly going into this one blind, you know? And since it’s your story, you get to edit and re-edit. Heck, you can even rewrite the entire narrative it if you want! Why not? It’s yours! It’s your voice, your prose and the wisdom of your years that give it the perfect rhythm and meter.
You get to decide who the characters will be and how they will be written into the story. Or, you can decide to not write them in at all. Think of it as your reward for persevering, enduring and making it through to the other side. (And God help us, for not murdering any immediate family members along the way. Can I hear an amen sistahs? ) Even though middle-age and perimenopause ( with its rabble rousing band of hormonal gypsies ) has likely left us feeling a bit worn, a little tattered, and maybe exposing a bit of our shelf wear, we can still be thankful. We’ve lived long enough to know that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Shiney jackets, glossy images, catchy titles or even a fancy leather binding do not gurantee a good read.
We know it’s the details of the story and how it is told that brings it to life and captures the imagination. So, in some weird way, we can actually thank perimenopause. (Did I actually say that??? ) Because, really, without having experienced it, we wouldn’t be here. And if we weren’t here, we wouldn’t be as seasoned, interesting or tethered to the things in life that gives us the material to craft Volume II . Yes, it’s been tough, and maybe if we had been given a choice, we might have chosen differently. But we weren’t and we didn’t, and so here we are: Mature and middle-aged with a story to tell. And boy, is it a page turner.