even if the menopause means you forget exactly what it was you’d set about to do!
As many of you will know I’ve recently been recording a podcast focusing on women’s life choices. I’m really enjoying the process of planning and recording these as it’s challenging me, not least to make sure they flow and tell a compelling story that women will want to tune in to, but also because I’ve never done anything like this before. It really is a departure sitting in front of a rather professional looking microphone, with my headphones on and talking to the room around me. It felt quite odd at first. I worried about whether anyone would want to listen, or whether I would make sense, or whether I would be able to string the entire conversation together without losing my way, or whether the menopause brain fog would render me completely dumb! A classic example of how our self-doubts can come to the fore during our mid-lives.
I know now there is nothing for me to worry about. I have a clear vision for what I want to achieve. I’m passionate about the subject and I’ve chosen some amazing women to join me. I know they have great stories and, whilst being nervous like me, will step up and be great. I could so easily have chosen not to do this, but it’s been on my wish list from the very beginning of Phoenix Wellness, so it was a natural step.
Why am I talking about my podcast in the context of my blog which is usually focusing on the menopause?
Quite simply because it has brought home so much to me in terms of how our lives change as women, not just due to the menopause but in response to so much that we experience along the way. I know this is also true for men, but for women some of the choices we have to face are huge and are often driven by our bodies rather than any conscious decisions we may make. For instance, just think about how a woman changes when she becomes a mum?
Not only does her body change beyond recognition but the process of pregnancy, child birth and child rearing change her psychologically and emotionally too. Then at menopause we change again; we have to come to terms with the fact that this phase signifies the end of our fertile “womanhood” for lack of a better way of putting it. For many it means the onset of “old age” but it doesn’t have to be that way. It can and should be the start of another amazing stage of our lives; the beginning of the second half of our lives.
We develop so much knowledge, experience and expertise as we navigate our lives that should give us the courage to face the next phase, but so often it doesn’t. We find ourselves in a body we no longer recognise, with emotions we are no longer able to control or even understand and sometimes, like me, in a job that no longer feels aligned. All of this can be very uncomfortable and scary and there really isn’t the support available we need. I’ve been there and done it. I’ve had HRT to cover the physical impacts but not the psychological and emotion ones. Those were the worst for me.
And so I come back to my podcast – 12 months ago I would never have anticipated the change my life would have taken, but then again, who would with a global pandemic and everything that brought with it. I wasn’t a person I knew anymore. I had completely lost my mojo and reason for being – I had no purpose and felt lost at sea.
I spent time working on me, getting back to being me, and now am following my passion. It is my passion and purpose that has given me back my drive and enthusiasm – the menopause symptoms are just annoyances now that I can manage because my life is full and has purpose. In psychological terms because I have learnt to manage the “hygiene factors” of the symptoms of the menopause, I am now better able to move to a higher level of “self-actualisation” – the process of really looking at what I want and how I want to live my life.
My confidence has returned and I can face new challenges with energy and excitement. I’m loving recording my podcast – just talking to these inspirational women and hearing how they have changed their lives, and for some despite facing huge barriers that would’ve stopped the best of us in our tracks, makes me feel alive. I am learning to be stronger through talking to them and I no longer worry about trying something new.
Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own, to take chances, to try something new – you have everything you need to succeed within you.
The menopause might make it harder for us to see ourselves and our path clearly, but if you continue to believe in yourself, and push your comfort zone, the menopause will not take anything away from you. You will thrive and create the most amazing midlife.
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