Along with so many weird phenomenon attributed to the Change comes a newfound sensitivity to noise. The simple sound of breathing can be too much, too loud. The football game, the leaf blower, or the stereo are in danger of triggering a psychotic break. Even my favorite music or the mew of a beloved cat can tighten my neck muscles so taut that my shoulders rise up to my ears and my teeth clench tighter than a victim of lockjaw. Most of the menopausal women I know suffer from this malady. Sound is more than an irritant – it’s an invasion.
Perhaps our menopausal hypersensitivity to noise can be likened to that of people who overdevelop one sense when another sense is waning or diminished. We seem to be losing our visual acuity (along with our mind – but that’s another story), but we can hear every freaking sound for miles around. Clock tick, computer hum, bird chatter, cereal crunch, water drip, coffee slurp, page turn, leaf fall, breeze blow, tire whoosh, stomach gurgle, icemaker, fridge motor. It is sensory overload and threatens our sweet dispositions, not to mention our sanity.
I’ve managed this week to wend my way into the back canyons of Zion National Park in Utah, where I can soothe myself with the rhythms and ripples of rosy sandstone. Red rock simply sits there beaming beauty and it does it QUIETLY.
Although we can’t always travel to out of the way places to find quietude, we can find ways to garner solitude and silence in our daily lives: in our garden, taking a walk, or indulging in a warm (not hot) bath. Midlife women crave quiet.
(Adapted from our upcoming book "Venus Comes of Age: The Wit and Wisdom of Menopausal Goddesses".)