There are a few well-known and well-publicized symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause (as in dancing around the perimeter but not fully committing to it). A few of these notorious rites of passage are:
Hot flashes (see: power surges)
Night sweats (like a dip in a hot spring without leaving your bed)
Irritability (What do you mean by that?!?)
Mood swings (Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde).
I had no idea there were so many others. You can’t even imagine. I was shocked one day as I was training to be a volunteer at small Maryland library. I went back to the employee area to put my things in a locker and saw this printout posted on a pillar for the amusement (or disgust, depending on which side of “the change” you were looking) of all those in the place with ovaries (or all those in the place who ever knew anyone with ovaries). Here is a tiny portion of that seemingly endless list:
Air hunger, or a sudden need to inhale deeply (See: 1970)
Weight gain and hair loss (opposite of youth)
Memory lapses (sometimes, not such a bad thing.)
Incontinence (don't laugh.)
True, there are a few new things to learn about and negotiate, but something else happens. A kind of metamorphosis; a beautiful transformation into a deeper relationship with life, both our lives and the lives of those around us. Music is suddenly more meaningful, touch is suddenly more important, the beauty of the world around us is so much more evident and moving. For most of us, this change takes place around the same time as other changes in our lives; we suddenly find ourselves with time. Time to stop and smell the lavender. Time to sit and read. Time to take some classes and discover that we can retain more than water.
We may find ourselves with quiet. Suddenly I can be in the bathroom without someone knocking on the door. Actually, that's not true. I still have cats, but they knock more quietly than my children ever did. I can watch a movie and not hit the pause button once. Wait, that's not true either (see: incontinence). I can work in the garden without stopping to go pick up someone after school.
We may also find ourselves with more choices. I can make spinach soufflé for dinner without listening to somebody whining about it being "green stuff." I can choose the movie at the video store. I can set the alarm for when I want to get up, whether it be very early, very late, or not at all.
Many of us are late bloomers. That is not meant to diminish the work we've done up to this point. I am a mother, a wife and a homemaker. All of those are beautiful words to me, but now I have time to be other words. I love to write. I have that awful affliction known as "verbosity." I love words. So now I write ... a lot! What is your passion? Find it. Be patient, then when the time is right, live it!