Tag Archives | menopause blogs

The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

cupcake blues © lynette sheppard

Katrina Jane Rice shares another pertinent guest post with us – this time, she is addressing blood sugar issues that can show up during and after the Pause. As the hot flashes diminish and mood swings stabilize, our attention rightly turns to aging and remaining healthy. Enjoy.

The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

by Katrina Jane Rice

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle and her ability to reproduce stop.

As a result, different symptoms occur, such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, and sleep problems among others. These are triggered by decreased estrogen and progesterone levels in the body and can lead to health concerns to look out for.

If you are in your forties and about to reach menopause, you can expect the above symptoms as well as possible blood sugar problems.

Just as every woman experiences different symptoms, not everyone suffers from high blood sugar. Some women may have lower levels while some may not experience any change at all.

Women who are dealing with blood sugar problems even before they reach their menopause stage are usually those diagnosed with diabetes by their doctors.

Effects of Menopause On Your Blood Sugar
If you are already managing high blood sugar levels before menopause, there are certain changes in your body that you need to be prepared for. You will find that your blood sugar fluctuates more often and it may become more unpredictable. This can alter your energy and affect how you go about your daily activities.

Since the symptoms of menopause can alter your daily routine (due to sleepless nights, mood swings, weight gain and irritability), you will find it more difficult to manage your pre-existing health issues as easily as you used to. Before the menopause symptoms totally take effect on you, beating your health problems and normalizing your blood sugar as soon as possible will truly make a difference.

Estrogen’s Role On Your Blood Sugar
The hormone estrogen decreases when you hit menopause. When it does, your body will undergo significant physical and physiological changes. Your body which once was a well-oiled machine will go through a series of unpredictable metabolic responses that can pose health problems and even put you at risk of diabetes.

To explain further, estrogen plays many roles in a woman’s body and that includes blood sugar regulation. The hormone estrogen has a protective effect on the pancreas and the pancreatic cells by preventing premature cell death.

The pancreas is the organ producing insulin, which is needed to burn sugar. While estrogen helps keep your pancreas healthy, it can efficiently produce insulin and transfer the sugar from your blood to your cells.

The sudden decline of estrogen contributes to your body’s resistance to insulin. For this reason, the sugar in your blood cannot be distributed to your cells and be utilized for energy production. If left untreated, your blood sugar will constantly stay high and can cause the metabolic disorder diabetes.

How To Stay Healthy
If you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle for years, you have to know that there is no quick and easy solution to this complicated medical situation where diabetes and menopause co-exist.

It is normal to feel worried about the likelihood of getting diabetes. But early intervention with a physical check up will determine the amount of work you need to improve your health.

If you already have blood sugar problems before reaching the menopause stage, continue to live a healthy lifestyle and consult your doctor immediately to plan a course of prevention from diabetes. This way you do not have to worry about the other health concerns menopause can bring up.

Monitor your blood sugar and pay a close attention to your lifestyle. Stay away from stress, sleep better at night, eat balanced meals and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, you will be required to shed off the excess pounds as early as possible. Losing as little as 10 pounds can already make a significant difference in your health. Working out daily can also improve your insulin sensitivity.

Be cautious of your health sooner than later. Though menopause is just a stage in a woman’ life, it can become a threat to her overall health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle while waiting for the menopausal symptoms to subside. If you do, you will surely avoid serious health concerns that many women are facing today.

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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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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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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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Vaginal Dryness – Affects One in Three Women

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

Wow. One in three – that is a lot! (There are a lot of us baby boomers that have come of age.)

Menopause brings many changes and one that really affects our intimacy is vaginal dryness. The folks at Genneve are committed to helping with this with their special lubricants designed to mimic our natural moisture. They sent me some samples (and since, yes, I am one of the one in three), I will be testing it. In the meantime, enjoy this video that brings the topic to light.

You might want to check out the blog on their site too – lots of great info: click here

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How Do We Inform Ourselves About Menopause?

Christmas bouganvill

That is the question that Jamie Cooper is trying to answer in her doctoral research study at University of South Florida. She is asking for participation in her online survey questionnaire.  She’d like women aged 35 -55 to share their experiences with her; your answers will be confidential and anonymous.

Jamie hopes to help improve the lives of women at midlife now and in the future. Now that’s some research we can get behind. Women sharing wisdom – that’s what we are all about. Here’s the link:

http:tinyurl.com/menopausestudy

If you have questions for Jamie, you can email her at jc2@usf.edu.

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Elderhood: Embracing New Values

 

Opening © lynette sheppard

Opening © lynette sheppard

After menopause, aging can jump to the top of the concerns list. Aging comes with a multitude of changes. Some of them are disconcerting in the extreme: droopy skin, aches, jowls, invisibility, hot flashes and the like.  These changes require adjustment and acceptance. They are here to stay.

However, some of the changes are nothing short of marvelous. If I were offered the return of my physical youth in exchange for the wisdom accumulated atop my wrinkles, I’d turn it down. Oh, I’d think about it for a minute or two, to be sure. But it seems to me that the gifts far outweigh the losses; at least so far.

One of the biggest gifts has been a change in the values that are most pivotal in my life. I sat down to make a list of how my values have morphed over the decades.

Value harmony and understanding more than being right
Being right is not all it’s cracked up to be. Being right means someone else is wrong and these days, it just doesn’t seem worth it. I’d rather find common ground or try to understand another viewpoint than be right.

Value silence as much as discourse
Actually, I value it more. When quiet, I can feel others and connect on a more elemental level. I have found that presence and togetherness do not require spoken word. Silence is no longer uncomfortable to me, but a soul satisfying cloak that I can wrap around me.

Value kindness more than mental acumen or braininess
I used to be wowed by those who were smart, quick, clever and strove to be like them. These later years have me admiring and emulating kindness and compassion more than accumulated knowledge. I am deeply drawn to those with emotional intelligence.

Value presence more than accomplishment
Our culture perpetuates doing to the exclusion of being. Small wonder that so many of us feel guilty when we aren’t accomplishing (yes, I fall prey to this all the time, but I’m working on it.) I am in awe when I meet those who make no apology for being, who relax in their non-doing moments.

Value plain more than fancy
I love plain food, comfortable clothes, just hanging out with friends and family rather than big excursions or amusements. The fancy or complicated things feel like they sap my energy rather than filling me up. Less really does feel like more these days.

Value learning more than teaching
This is weird. We elders have a fair amount to impart and may take this responsibility quite seriously. Yet, as I age, I am struck also by how little I really do know and can revel in the pure joy of learning without putting pressure on myself to “do something with it” or succeed. As far as I’m concerned, we get an A just for trying.

Value self deprecating humor over sarcasm
I’d rather laugh at myself or the human condition in all its sweetness than indulge in snarky humor. Besides, when I look at myself, there is just so much comic material that I need never stop chuckling.

Value internal peace over external validation
While I still check Facebook for the number of “likes” that Menopause Goddess Blog receives, it matters to me less and less. When I feel that I have given my best with an open heart, I feel centered and peaceful, less craving feedback from others.

Value communion rather than nomenclature
I really don’t care as much about the names of birds, plants, butterflies as I once did. What really thrills me is just hanging out with flora and fauna, feeling a part of the oneness of existence. OK, it’s a little challenging with cockroaches and centipedes, but they too have a certain quirky beauty.

Value taking time over time management
In the autumn of my life, I find that I just don’t get as much done. I’m not as productive or efficient. Many items on my to-do list are carried over for days, even weeks. This bothers me less and less as I surrender to the bliss of just taking time for myself. Daydreaming, writing, reading, walking are all as important as getting my chores done. Weirdly enough, the chores seem easier when I’ve taken time to just re-create myself.

What changes might yet be in store? I don’t know but I’m looking forward with curiosity, excitement, and some trepidation. So far, I like what I’ve discovered on this life’s journey.

Perhaps you also have values that have changed – share them here in the comments.  We learn so much from one another, so please don’t be shy.

(I originally wrote a version of this post for the Celebrate What’s Right Blog. I’ve found that during this time when so much can be wrong, celebrating what is right can ease the more daunting passages.)

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