How To Fight Menopause Belly

Ah, the belly fat, the spare tire, or as I call mine – the storage depot. Menopause brings myriad changes – and one of those that afflicts many goddesses is unwanted adipose tissue (sounds better than fat, but not much) around the middle. Katrina Jane Rice tackles this sensitive subject in her guest post here – enjoy.

How To Fight Menopause Belly
by Katrina Jane Rice

One of the problems many middle age women face is belly fat. This excess body fat situated in the midsection of the body is usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle, but it also naturally occurs with aging. And for some reason, it is difficult to get rid of, even with strict diets and exercises.

Women are especially vulnerable to gaining excess fat around the belly. As they go through the perimenopausal and menopausal stages, their estrogen levels drop exponentially. When this happens, they will lose the natural contours of their body. And for that reason, excess fat is redistributed to their abdomen in particular, plus the buttocks, hips and thighs.

If you have accumulated belly fat around your abdomen and stomach, it is a priority to try to lose it earlier than later. This is not just for vanity and improvement of physical appearance, but also a precaution you can take to prevent diseases later on in life. Recent scientific research has shown that belly fat has a relation with the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and myocardial infarction.

Here are some tips for you to fight menopausal belly fat.

Eat Healthier Fats
Just because you want to reduce your belly fat does not mean you need to cut out fat in your diet for good. Not all fats are bad. Eating healthy fats such as omega-3 from fish can actually help decrease the size of your belly. This is the so-called good fat.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that eating 3 ounces of salmon as part of a low-calorie diet every week for a month resulted to an average of 1 kilo additional weight loss than going on a fish-free diet.

You can also source other healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil and olives if you are not a fan of eating fish.

Include Exercises
Becoming physically active can help you deal better with your menopausal stage. Exercising and including a lot of cardio workout can help lose the fat in your mid-section. It also helps alleviate other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, intense mood swings and irritability as reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Yoga is also known to help women deal with this sensitive stage of their life. According to a published review article in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, yoga helps improve the symptoms of menopause. It is also a good exercise that can target some issues like belly fat and bloating.

Lessen Your Sodium
Cut back on processed foods. A normal American diet contains a lot of sodium. Too much salt can cause bloating and water retention in your belly so try to whip up your own so that you can regulate your sodium intake. The recommended daily amount of sodium among adults per day is 1,500 mg. Sticking to that requirement will limit bloating and lower your blood pressure.

Other Potential Causes of Menopausal Belly Fat
Overeating, imbalanced hormones and an inactive lifestyle are just some of the culprits of menopausal belly fat. However, the display of a fat belly may also be caused by other health problems like constipation, esophageal reflux, pancreatic problems, celiac disease, tumors or ovarian cancer.

If you feel like your belly has increased too fast in size, do not assume that menopause has caused the problem. It could be a sign of other health conditions. Check with your doctor to find out the cause of your enlarged belly and find out the best treatments you can get for it.

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Helen Mirren made me do it: Visioning a Second Act

© Annie Leibovitz

I loved executive and life coach Tania Carriere’s insightful guest post about “becoming” during our Second Act. I think any woman pondering the person she might grow into will feel its resonance.

Tania will be leading a visioning retreat for women October, 2017 in Molokai, Hawai`i. I’ll be participating as well – this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Details and link at the end of the post. Enjoy!

Helen Mirren made me do it

by Tania Carriere

It was a normal enough moment.

I was sitting at a Starbucks, coffee in hand, putting off some work for a few indulgent minutes of Facebook. I was robotically scrolling, only partially engaged with the usual mix of animals, self-help quotes and messages from friends.

That’s when it happened to me.

That’s when this photo happened to me.

I froze, my scrolling index finger mid-air. I was riveted. I could not stop looking. I felt like I had found something of importance. I looked at it and felt…. Awestruck. Not because of her beauty or her fame but because I didn’t realize until I saw this photo, that this is what womanhood can look like.  Real, authentic, vibrant, strong. Bad Ass. Commanding. Awesome. And wrinkled.

And something in me cracked open a little.

I had just started to navigate the changes that come with age. I had gone through 4 different sizes in 2 years as my body decided what kind of metabolism it would like to have that day. There were the reading glasses that I resisted for a year, the lessening of stamina, (staying up past 1 a.m. requires a day off to recover) and the new wardrobe that seemed to have gravitated to tunics and flowing shirts to hide the belly fat and rounded hips that appeared. I tried to hold all these changes with grace and dignity, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having sat down on the little bench in the Nordstom’s changeroom and cried with dismay at a body that I couldn’t seem to anticipate or understand.

I don’t mean to paint an entirely bleak picture. There are great things that come with age too, like no longer seeking “permission” to be the person I really am, giving up the need for people-pleasing, having enough independence of spirit to leave the house without makeup or shaved legs and knowing, exactly, how I like to spend my time. I am eternally grateful for those gifts and the ease that they bring. So it’s not so much that I resisted the changes that came with age, I realized that with the sagging bits came the reward of newfound wisdom. It was more that aging seemed to have landed me in uncharted territory. I didn’t quite know how I was supposed to be in it.

I was perplexed. I had achieved so much and lived a wonderful, expansive life. I had a delightful circle of loved ones. A wonderful career. I did the things I love; dance, travel, read, theatre. I cultivated relationships that charmed me, I ate glorious meals that I delighted in cooking. But there was unrest in me and perhaps, a little sadness? A part of me that struggled with a loss of vibrancy, a giving up of the coltish legged creature that once seemed fearless. I had a longing for the permission that I used to give myself to be glorious.

I used to enjoy the attention I got for my youthful rendition of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy, just enough to fit the checklist that someone, somewhere decided was the definition of who I should be; thin, blonde, nicely shaped, long legged, exuberant, friendly and full of possibility. I excelled in my profession, got invited into the big meetings, was offered top tables in restaurants and skipped the lines. I travelled, bought a house and stood as a vibrant example of thirtysomething femininity. I was used to the attention that my confidence gave me. The world was mine to conquer, to delight, to engage. Yes, that confidence came at a price. I bristled at and occasionally faltered under at the demands of perfection and got lost in the dark world where self-worth equates body image, but I got noticed. I was a part of those who had the right to be vibrant and boldly stride into whatever lay ahead of them. No matter what, I could count on being seen. At the interview, at the audition, at the first date.

And then suddenly, it seemed almost overnight, I was unseen.

Not rejected, just unseen.

I was no longer in the world of 30-something-vibrant-flat-stomached-world-achievers (heck I am about to enter the world of 50 something) and suddenly I did not register in people’s awareness as I walked by. I was no longer the sassy upstart that people used to see when they looked at me.

And that was the problem. I was not sure who I was at this age and I couldn’t seem find the checklist for a powerful, vibrant, sexy woman of 50+.  I was standing there with the old checklist and it was not working. I knew I didn’t want to look like the botoxed version of Barbie, but I also didn’t want the diffuse, shrinking energy of a woman who was no longer in command of her vitality.

Where was it to be found? Where were the examples of women who wore their years, their experience, their glorious ways of being with pride? Women who still exuded vibrant possibility. Women who created a whole new phase of being that lies between Nymph and Crone. Women who left you enchanted, wondering, longing and were over the age of 50?

When I saw this picture of Helen Mirren I became curious. I stopped and looked. I mean, really looked. And then I became envious. Can you believe it??? Envious! The last time I felt envious of anyone older than me I think I was 16 and wishing that I would be a very gown up 21. But look at her – the command of her space, the energy that just leaps out at you, the defiance in her tattoo and her exposed cleavage that just takes the whole notion of being matronly and flips it the bird.

Oh, the stories that she has to tell.
What I wouldn’t have done to pour her a glass of wine (or better yet, a whiskey) and get down to a long talk.

It’s not that I wanted to be her. It was that in seeing her I realized that I didn’t have a vision, a mentor or a knowing of who I wanted to be. I instantly loved this photo, and strangely enough I think I fell in love with myself when I looked at it. The old choices society wanted to offer me just didn’t cut it. The blessing of age is that I could see that they never did. It was high time that I decided how this next decade or two (or four) are going to look and feel. I Re-Imagined myself, finding the new markers for MY new definition of this Self. I erased the page, creating space to be the kind of woman that I would envy.

And if someone asked me about a new sizzle in my responses, the reappearance of my coltish legs from under the tunics, the haircut and the sultry attitude I’d just respond….

Helen Mirren made me do it.
And pour myself a whiskey.

About the Retreat

The Re-Imagined Self is a mini-sabbatical, a moment in time that leaves the everyday behind, where you can drop in, hear the questions that you are already asking, but don’t have the energy, time or courage to answer.

These 7 days in Hawaii, in the company of a small group of like-minded women, will rejuvenate the creative spirit while exploring identity, achievement and what makes yours a life well lived.

As executive and life coach, I have been leading discovery retreats of self exploration for over 15 years. Join me and Lynette Sheppard in this unique opportunity to Re-Imagine the Self you are today. Click the link for details:
https://www.advivumjourneys.ca/retreats/-hawaii

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Hysterectomy for Endometrial Hyperplasia? – Not so Fast!

Femininity © lynette sheppard

I am grateful to Dr. Roger Reichert for sharing this important information with us. My mother had a hysterectomy in her 30’s for endometrial hyperplasia. Like my mother, I had heavy bleeding and endometrial thickening – two gynecologists told me I needed a hysterectomy as well and dismissed my wonderings if this could be a normal variant. My third gynecologist was more enlightened and ultimately (after a year) I had an endometrial biopsy that was normal. Had it been abnormal, I would have asked for a second opinion. I am now post menopausal and I have my uterus still. Be bold and proactive in your health care decision making. Read his guest post below.

This gynecological issue is misdiagnosed over 50 percent of the time by Roger Reichert, MD, PhD

As a consultant in gynecologic pathology, I receive requests for second opinions from patients who have been diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia. My opinion is based upon correlating the relevant clinical history with a review of the patient’s pathology slides and report. In my experience, there is a difference of opinion that leads to a change in treatment in about half of the cases. 75 percent of cases with changed diagnoses are downgraded to a less serious condition or normal variant, and the remaining 25 percent of those cases are upgraded to a more serious condition.

Pathologists are particularly likely to overdiagnose endometrial hyperplasia on the low end of the spectrum, which is referred to as simple hyperplasia without atypia. Many cases with this initial diagnosis are reinterpreted by experts as either proliferative or disordered proliferative endometrium, neither of which needs to be treated nor followed. In a 2008 study, this was the situation in 57 percent of cases (documented in the authors’ Table 1). The problem of frequent overdiagnosis is compounded when gynecologists recommend hysterectomy for patients diagnosed with simple hyperplasia without atypia rather than the more standard options of observation with risk factor reduction or hormonal therapy. These gynecologists see the word “hyperplasia” in the diagnosis line of the pathology report, and their knee-jerk reaction is hysterectomy, despite the absence of atypia. This toxic combination of overdiagnosis by the pathologist and overtreatment by the gynecologist results in many patients undergoing needless hysterectomy, whereas other patients who have been overdiagnosed are subjected to unnecessary hormonal therapy and follow-up biopsies.

 The poor reproducibility of the diagnosis of endometrial hyperplasia has also been shown in a 2006 Gynecologic Oncology Group study of community-diagnosed atypical endometrial hyperplasia. In this study, an expert panel of gynecologic pathologists agreed with the diagnosis of atypical hyperplasia in only about 40 percent of cases, with downgrades to cycling endometrium or non-atypical hyperplasia and upgrades to adenocarcinoma each approaching 30 percent of cases.

The primary reason for the high rate of diagnostic discordance in this particular area of gynecologic pathology is that the diagnosis of endometrial hyperplasia is often difficult and subjective. Just like workers in any other field, pathologists have different areas of expertise and varying degrees of experience and competence. Data has shown that reinterpretation of endometrial samples by seasoned pathologists with subspecialty expertise in gynecologic pathology often results in clinically significant changes in diagnosis. Before accepting the treatment recommendation of their gynecologist, patients diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia should strongly consider the potential benefits of submitting their pathology slides for an expert second opinion.

Roger Reichert is a pathologist and the author of Diagnostic Gynecologic and Obstetric Pathology. He can be reached at Reichert Pathology. (This article was previously published on kevinmd.com)

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Menopause Wellness Summit

For those approaching or already deep into perimenopause and menopause, a wealth of information will be offered at the Menopause Wellness Summit. Several experts will offer information and support for the Change. Hosted by Shirley Plant, the cost is only $49. Don’t miss it. Sign up here:  Menopause Wellness Summit.

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All You Want and Need to Know about Menopause

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

I recently did a podcast for The G Spot, Genneve’s women’s health blog where I talked about all things Menopause. The gals there asked some terrific questions – definitely worth a listen and subscribing. Here’s the link:  The G Spot

Enjoy! Questions or thoughts? Put them in the comments or email me at lynette@9points.com

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Retire Meant: A Few More Thoughts

Blossoming © lynette sheppard

It was a delight to hear so many optimistic, exciting visions for retirement from goddesses in answer to our query. I decided to look up the word “retirement” in the dictionary. Here’s what I found:

noun
1.  the act of retiring, withdrawing, or leaving; the state of being retired.
2.  the act of retiring or of leaving one’s job, career, or occupation permanently, usually because of age
3.  the portion of a person’s life during which a person is retired
4.  removal of something from service or use
Those are some wornout, even depressing definitions. Luckily, we are creating our own definitions and making it up as we go. Most of us baby boomers started out rebelling against the status quo and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. So here is a my definition of retirement: “a phase of life where one’s own priorities and desires dictate contribution to the whole.” In other words, we decide how we thrive and give back – whether it be gardening, mentoring grandchildren, or volunteering. And give back need not mean externalizing – I met one goddess recently who moved to an island to find and create her own “Walden Pond” to her family’s surprise. She follows her passions of writing and living primarily outdoors. So how does she give back? By simply being fulfilled. It’s a joy to be around those who are following their dreams and modeling living comfortably in their own skins.
I’d love to hear your definitions of retirement – post them here in the comments or email them to me at lynette@9points.com.  Here’s to our next great phase!

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A Paleo Diet May Help With Menopause

Ginger Mint Shrimp © lynette sheppard

Guest blogger Allison Thompson shares her experience with the Paleo diet to relieve symptoms and make the menopause transition easier. Enjoy!

Foods I Enjoy That Help Deal With The Menopause

Hi there, my name’s Allison and I have been going through the menopause for almost 4 years now.  In fact it came as quite a surprise to find out I was in the peri-menopousal stage. I had a friend who thought I was having problems with my thyroid.  So she suggested that I see her doctor.  Before he even prescribed anything I had to had several blood tests carried out. Once he had received confirmation he prescribed some natural treatments.  Along with iodine that I needed to drink in a glass of water, he also prescribed a natural progesterone cream.  This I had to apply each evening before bed.

I decided to do as he suggested for a year.  But then I made a decision that I wanted to see if a change to my diet and lifestyle would help me more.

About this time my husband was looking for ways to lose weight.  Again my friend came to the rescue by giving us some books relating to the Paleo diet.  So I decided to give it a try.

It was difficult at first. I couldn’t find much about Paleo for menopause.  Even so I decided to stick with it even though I wasn’t as strict with my diet as some others are. During the past 4 years I have learned more about what to include in my diet.  But I don’t rely on food alone I also take some supplements.  The ones I take have been suggested to me by reading up about menopause online.  The main ones I include in my diet are Red Clover and Magnesium. But what I want to share with you now are the foods I eat on regular basis. These are the ones I include, as I’ve found they help me deal with the menopause effectively.


Broccoli

I actually love eating broccoli.  I either boil it for a few minutes or steam it.  Occasionally I love to at it in to stir fry’s.   The reason I eat so much broccoli is because it contains calcium, that my body can use. Like me, you are probably aware that during the menopause your estrogen levels have gone down.  But including foods that contain calcium will help to reduce the risk of bone loss.  Of course including dairy in your diet is another great way to get the calcium your body needs.

Flaxseed
I love adding flaxseed into smoothies as well as putting it on top of some fresh fruit with yogurt.   Not only am I getting more fiber in my diet I’m also getting a food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  So it’s helping me to keep my heart and arteries healthy. But one other benefit to be gained from this food is that it contains certain estrogen compounds that our bodies need.

Almonds
As I follow a Paleo lifestyle I like to include almonds along with other nuts into my diet.  I tend to use almond flour in place of conventional flour when making baked goods or pancakes.   The great thing about almonds is that they contain a type of fat that can help to slow down the aging process.   Plus for women going through the menopause, these nuts are rich in magnesium and Vitamin E complex.  Both of these help to reduce the symptoms often associated with the menopause. The only problem is that I don’t eat enough of them.  To help me further, I take a magnesium supplement each evening.   By doing this I find that I sleep much better at night.  Okay, I may still wake up occasionally with the night sweats, but not that often.  In order to help combat this situation, I take the Red Clover supplement I mentioned earlier.

Eggs
My husband thinks I eat too many eggs, but I don’t agree.   Not only do eggs provide me with a good source of protein, they also provide me with a good source of Iron.  I include them in my diet as I am still quite active.  In fact this morning I started a HIIT class close to where I live and will be doing the same twice a week.

Fish
I love all types of fish. I’m especially fond of salmon, cod and sardines. The great thing is I live in Spain and we have some really wonderful beach bars close to where I live. So we often take time out to visit them and enjoy fresh sardines.  These are ones that they cook over hot coals. Eating this fish ensures I am getting sufficient amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids in my diet.  Not only is it helping me to keep my skin in shape but it helps to keep my energy levels up.

Liver
I love liver and enjoy cooking it on a regular basis. I tend to opt more for cow or lambs liver as they don’t have such a strong taste. But I also like to use chicken livers to make my own pate.   Liver is rich in Iron and also Vitamin C complex. I’ve found including this food in my diet helps to reduce menopause symptoms.

One thing I think I should mention relates to eggs and meat. If you can, try and opt for meat where the animal has been fed on grass.  As for eggs, then go organic. If you cannot find grass-fed meat go organic.  Also make sure that you choose the leanest cuts you can. All of these will help you to stay in shape and will provide you with essential fats that your body needs.

BIO:
Allison Thompson, a mother of 1 daughter who has been living in Spain for the past 12 years.  For the past 4 years, she has been following a Paleo lifestyle that has helped her to deal with the effects that going through the menopause can have on women, without the need to use any kind of medication.

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How to Get the Government to Care About Women’s Health

Caduceus I © lynette sheppard

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog over the years know that I am endlessly frustrated about the lack of research on women’s health issues, particularly menopause. Cassie, RN and ehealth informer gives us practical steps in this call-to-action guest post. Let’s go for it!

How to Get the Government to Care About Women’s Health

As a woman, you’ve almost certainly experienced gender bias in some form in your lifetime. One place you probably don’t think about experiencing the adverse effects of gender stereotypes is with your health care provider. Unfortunately, gender bias is a real concern that is harming women’s health in definite ways.

The gender bias problem in health care means women often don’t receive the same level of attention and consideration from their medical providers as men. This can lead to women unnecessarily struggling with chronic pain, with enduring needless procedures and being incorrectly diagnosed with anxiety and other mental health disorders. Gender bias also means issues related to women’s health receive less attention and funding than health problems experienced by men.

Since the idea of gender bias in health care was recognized in the 1970s, advocates for women’s health have been documenting and researching the ways women are discriminated against in health care.

By understanding and recognizing gender bias in health care, you can help protect and improve access to nondiscriminatory health care services for yourself and all women.

Speak Up

As women, we are often taught to be deferential to authority figures, such as medical professionals. If a doctor tells you your symptoms are related to anxiety or psychosomatic in nature, it can be tempting to accept the diagnosis and attempt to live with the discomfort as best you can.

Remember, you know your body better than any medical professional. If you’re sure there is something wrong, then stand your ground. Refuse to be put off by a diagnosis that doesn’t relieve your symptoms. Keep asking for tests and referrals to specialists until someone discovers the source of your problems. Don’t allow yourself to be convinced you don’t know your body.

By pushing back against medical professionals who attempt to minimize your symptoms, you will be more likely to get the care you need.

Contact Your Representatives

Though you might not realize it, the government has a lot of influence over medical research. Through the Food and Drug Administration and various grant programs, the government directly influences research across a wide spectrum of the medical industry.

Currently, much medical research skews toward primarily understanding how diseases and medications affect men. As women, though, effects of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease present very differently in women than they do in men. Inequality in research means treatment for serious diseases is focused on what works for men, leaving women to utilize treatments that may be less than effective for our gender.

To help effect change, you can reach out to your congressional representatives and let them know you support legislation requiring government-funded medical research to include gender considerations, such as the Research for All Act. As more women let legislators know we are aware of the problem of gender bias in medicine, and we support fair and equitable research practices, representatives will be more likely to take up the cause. Representatives can draft legislation requiring researchers to give equal consideration to the ways women are affected by medical issues to receive state and federal funding.

Support Women’s Health Organizations

Organizations such as the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative, the Stanford Center for Health Research on Women and Sex Differences in Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Office on Research on Women’s Health are all working to improve the gender bias in the medical community. Some of the organizations are working with medical schools and nursing programs. Others are working with legislators to change the laws governing approved methods of medical research. NIH has changed the requirements for grant funding to ensure researchers are testing effects on both male and female subjects to ensure the results of any research apply to both genders.

You can support the organizations working to end gender bias in medicine by joining in discussions and events, volunteering your time or contributing money toward their efforts. These organizations are contributing many resources to promoting equality in health care, and they need our support to continue their important work.

Don’t Give Up

If you are fighting a battle against gender bias in your personal health, it might feel as if it’s one you can’t win. Hearing your doctors tell you the symptoms you’re experiencing are “all in your head” can be frustrating and demeaning. The important thing is not to give up. Insist the doctors listen to you and review all of your records. Keep insisting until you find someone to listen.

Organizing all your medical records in one place so your providers can see your complete history, including the results of any tests, the details about your condition and the dates of treatment will provide undeniable proof of your symptoms.

You can get an app such as My Medical or ChartSpan to record everything related to your medical history. If you are concerned about privacy issues when accessing your medical history on a mobile device, consider using a Virtual Private Network to encrypt your network connection and protect your medical records.

In our modern world, there is no reason women’s health care should be subject to the antiquated gender bias that currently exists in our system. We all need to speak up and demand to be heard and treated for our actual symptoms instead of being told we are imagining our illnesses. As human beings, we all deserve quality medical treatment, regardless of our genders.

Author bio: As a woman and a nurse, Cassie loves writing about women’s health and wellness issues. Helping women live healthier, pain-free lives is her dream come true.

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More Visions of Retire Meant

Flower Spiral © lynette sheppard

We received so many great responses from you all – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I wanted to make sure that these visions didn’t get lost in the comments, so am posting them in this blog entry. Be sure to read to the end, where R shares some concerns about retirement. We all learn from sharing our wisdom with one another, so thank you again!

PK wrote:  

I’m 64 now. I’ve been working since I was 10, at one gig or another. Can’t say I was dedicated to most of those gigs – they were a way to make a living, to support my other interests. Some of them were more intrinsically interesting than others, and one aligned with my higher purpose and felt really satisfactory. For the last 6 years I’ve worked from home primarily as a virtual office manager for a company based on the mainland. I’ve investigated the Social Security retirement plans and am staging a 2-year withdrawal from this company. However, my husband may get a full-time college professor job this year – and then I would retire almost immediately. What would I do with myself? I can think of about 1000 things – but first volunteer with children, be the full-time artist I’ve wanted to be all my life, garden, bake, be a domestic goddess, raise chickens. I look forward to it.

JM shares her own vision: 

Aloha Ladies, I am 61 and still have a 17 year old son at home. He is a jr in high school. Im still so very active being a mom and a grandmother to 11. I teach hula 3 times a week plus work. Being a photographer I can pick and choose my work times. I get a little sad thinking that one day coming up my son will be moving on. I see his excitement and dont want to dampen his enthusiasm for moving out of moms house! So this has been good for me to read as most of you have already passed this point years ago. I am not sure exactly what I will do, but Im sure traveling will be in the picture! Hula keeps me thriving so Im thinking of moving into taking classes to become a Kumu Hula. The older I get the more important relationships are, all relationships including my ancestors. I personally feel there is a whole new world waiting for me.
Yes I have sleepless nights, yes I still get too hot and then too cold. I just giggle and dont let myself get caught in any drama over it. I feel very alive and healthy.

K is looking forward to retirement too:  

As I approach retirement from about 3-1/2 years out — I think about it more and more often.

Right now, I feel like I am in kind of a transition or rehearsal phase. When I take a planned day off from work, I try to mimic what I would do if I didn’t have to report to the grindstone ever again. What would I do if I had my time as my own?

Most times, I try to spend some time in nature, taking a short hike on a trail I haven’t walked before and really open my eyes and drink in the textures, smells, and sights I will have the time to savor in the future.

I think a lot about the type of retired grandma I want to be. I want to be an active and a fun one to be around. One of my daughters is not too domesticated, so I’d like to expose her daughter to some of my favorite pasttimes (embroidery, sewing, gardening) that she otherwise doesn’t get to experience. (I’ve already begun that, but want to continue if it’s something she wants. I learned so much of this kind of thing from my grandmother).

Since the out-of-doors is important and nurturing for me, I would like to share that with my grandkids and continue to with my husband as long as possible. I see camping and many local hikes in the future. There’s a wonderful group of older women who maintain trails and camp together; I’ve been dreaming of joining them.

I branch out my thoughts to the dark times, winter and days when the driving rain keeps me indoors. I like to think I will busy myself finishing long-abandoned projects, starting new ones, taking classes on old and new hobbies. There are many groups who meet in our library system for conversations on local issues, arts, hobbies, travel, foreign language practice, and of course, books! I look forward to accessing those.

So, I guess what retirement means to me is that it is a trigger for the next exciting life series! I’ve done the rest—here comes the best! It’s a time of becoming enriched and enriching the lives of those you love. Of not letting life simply pass by, but enjoying and savoring every moment.

Still, not every woman is looking forward to retirement. R, a menopause Goddess sister from Portugal shares her concerns. I suspect she is not the only one of us caught in some conflict about these changes. Here’s her heartfelt musings:

I’ve found Menopause Goddesses blog by chance, sometimes I read it with the most attention, and sometimes not I have to say.
Retirement subject is not very close for me yet, I’m a Portuguese 55 years woman living near Lisbon our capital and this year the allowed retirement age as come to 66 years and 3 months, or 60 years age and 40 of discount career for pension found, this last option with 6%/year tax and a sustainability tax of 13,8%, resuming, too much limitative for us to think about it, unless you think to live your retirement begging. Situation in Portugal is not friendly for those that think retire sooner than official age.

Although the approaching of that stage of live for my husband, that is 5 years older than me, scares me a lot, besides work he always count with me next to him for everything and I’m afraid to feel myself under a dominance I’m not used to.
I know that in US young people leave their parents’ home when they went to university but in Portugal we have not that tradition, only the students that have less score classifications go to universities outside their residence area.

My 2 daughters with 33 (the older is a journalist and actually is working as public relations) and 26 years (she’s a nurse) have study near and they’re still living with us.
The difficulty to rent or buy a flat in our country is huge for young, and the salaries sometimes are not enough to face their responsibilities sooner, they are now both thinking to rent a flat and share expenses, this situation is causing me the feeling of empty nest, the past 35 years I’ve been first a mother, a wife and less a woman so I’m feeling lost and I don’t know my role any more, I’m beginning to feel also the weight of menopause literally (both: body weight and feelings).

Sorry if I extended myself too much but we still feel this subject as banned in our society, the women don’t like to show their disability to face this stage of mind and always try to show themselves very open mind, with millions of activities, dressing as teenagers sometimes acting if their daughters were rivals.
Thanks for sharing with us.

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Retire Meant – Menopause Goddesses Share Their Visions

Sunrise or Sunset? © lynette sheppard

Several of you responded; others are still thinking about and crafting their replies. Here are some of the visions shared by our readers. Enjoy! I surely did!

MB shared:  “I am not retired yet. ( I am soon to be 56 years old. ) BUT, I’m in college now, dual enrolled for two professions, pursuing a dream to work on my own terms and from home using all the experience I’ve gained working for the healthcare industry for the last 30 years in customer service.  I am 2 semesters away from my first college degree!  And 3 months away from a new credential!

So retirement to me looks like a home office, my dog next to me, my husband running our video game store at the local mall, and being on call for my second job as a Clinical Medical Assistant to get my “people” fix when I need it!

I am glad I’m at this place in my life- hot flashes, weight gain, no- filter -mouth and all.  It’s trying at times, but it’s my life and I’m making the best of it!”

BT responded with these thoughts:  “I enjoy your blog posts very much and just had to chime in about my thoughts regarding retirement.

Recently I had to really give this thought as I realized I had many emotions around it. I’ll be 54 in July. Recently, my 57 year old neighbor retired from a job she worked at her entire career and off to a warmer climate she and her husband went for a few months. While yes, I’d like a little more time in the sun, perhaps doing less at times, I couldn’t help but think what it must feel like to have devoted your whole life, often working more than forty hours a week, to now not working.

It brought up those transitional periods in our lives when we can feel lost, as I’ve felt a few times in my life. I wonder how it is affecting her as she was very devoted to her work. I’ve also been with women going through transition from a job they were very dedicated to until what is deemed “retirement age” and now not sure who they are anymore – as if they lost their identity and sense of purpose.

As I sat with the many feelings, I realized how it’s important to me to keep making an impact with my tribe that I continue to build. And how making a difference is so important to me and leaving a legacy, not necessarily as what I do, but in hopes that I help people (especially women) feel good about their lives and find meaning in them. I don’t see as that ever ends, but something that is so important to me and my own vitality because it feels good to my soul to make a difference where I can.

So thanks for the question and asking for  feedback. I’ll be curious to read what others have to say!”

CH offered these gems: Retirement (“the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work”) . . . well, to me
who had a wake up call in my late 40’s that there was more to life than my narrow
perspective of my job, I think perhaps there is a more enlighten way to view this
transition. Leaving behind the work schedule allows us to connect with life in a whole
new way . . . discovering the opportunity to connect with passion.

I am amazed at the narrowness many view retirement . . . travel. I am reminded of my
soul sister in the NW (Anne Fangman who published her memoir: Mustard Every Monday:
From Secluded Convent to International Travel) responds to those wondering at her
retirement party if she was going to travel? “Been there, done that! I’m going to
stay home and enjoy life.”)

Opportunities abound once we don’t clock in and clock out. Watching friends nearby has
been a wonder to watch as they grapple with the time on their hands and how they
discover ways of connecting with themselves, others and “nature.”

I am looking forward to your posts on retirement!!!

CR shared her experience:  “Time is both your friend and your enemy … you do not have to get everything done today because yes, there will be tomorrow,
you do have time if you choose to have coffee with friends which was not possible very often when you are working..
but you also have funerals on a much more frequent basis …
I find I make it a priority to go to the Y several times a week
both for fitness but because sometimes those are the only people I see all day or all week.
I have started cleaning out my house I have lived here a very long time.. so when something happens My son will not have to do much…
I now have time to learn things i have always been interested in
and not be bothered with stuff I just don’t care about… there are things you do for others because you care about them , but I am much more selective about them.  Time is the most valuable commodity in the world .. and when you retire you realize it is more valuable than you ever realized . I make time to be with people that make me laugh; that has not always been an option .. now it is.
I look at retirement as a gift … and I am lucky to be here.”

BeFabRevolution is retiring on her own terms: “Hi Ladies, I am soon going to leave my nearly 25 year career as a corporate consultant. I have loved it. It has been interesting and often challenging, but I’m just over it. I’ll be 58 later this year and have had an overwhelming need to reinvent myself.

I am “retiring” from a strict schedule, but am too sharp and energetic to not have a new, more interesting challenge.

I have been laying the groundwork for nearly the past 2 years to launch a new business, catering to women age 50+. I launch the business next week. Woohoo!

Lynette, I need you as an expert speaker for 2017!!! I am so excited! I guess my “retirement” comes in being my own boss and being of service in a very different way.”

And a very treasured response comes from my own mother:  “As an 82 year old, find that life is what you make it. For me life is great as i have a great daughter and son-in law. Love is so important !”
Betty    AKa mom

Vibrancy comes to mind when I read these visions. Any other thoughts, insights, ideas? Put them in the comments or send them to me at lynette@9points.com  I look forward to more wisdom, questioning, input. Thank you so much to those who shared so generously! Virtual hugs to you all!

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