Great conversations can happen anywhere and anytime! Whilst waiting by the side of the road for a friend to pick me up, enjoying a little bit of winter sunshine a neighbour stopped for a chat. “I am off to a Sing-Along to raise money for Alzheimer’s, do you want to come?” this threw me a little as it was only 11am and she wasn’t the type to be going to a sing-along mid morning. She was always busy dashing around juggling her own business, husbands business and her young adult children’s needs, and here she was taking a slow walk enjoying the sunshine and stopping for a leisurely chat.
The slowing down effects of menopause were so apparent, now her children had left home and experiencing a quiet period in her business she has time to think and assess. I recognised the mixed feelings and emotions of tiredness, sadness and insecurity in her words. This time in our lives can be highly emotional and we can often feel a little confused, all around and within us, things are changing. For myself it has taken for what seems like many years to come through this tunnel of accepting that things have changed and will never be as before. It comes at a time when we are still recovering from hormonal teenagers and young adults, with all the tensions or worries that can bring to our lives as we watch them trying to carve out an adult life for themselves, at this stage they often dominate our lives and then, whoosh they are gone. Just as their hormones are stabilising, ours go into overdrive with menopause, I remember the feelings of happiness for them as they excitedly moved into their new lives, exhaustion and relief after all the mental effort and attention they needed during the transition and also a deep sadness and loneliness. Some of us also have the extra emotional turmoil of having to face losing a parent or watch them going through mental or physical changes that need care around this time of our journey, facing more change to what always was. This brings me back to the conversation “Who will look after me if I develop Alzheimer’s? My husband couldn’t cope, I wouldn’t be able to work, how will we manage?” she said. Where we took things for granted and life went on, now with changes happening we start to worry about all the things we shut out of our minds about what can happen in the future.
I saw my not too distance past self in this conversation, the tunnel I have just left behind, the realisation that I was tired, was feeling a great loss and emptiness, I became aware that I couldnt do what I used to physically, the feeling of being lost and my life had passed, loss of purpose and what am I going to do now? Is my mind going? Etc etc. Luckily we do come through this phase too, into accepting things as they are, we learn to adjust, stop worrying so much and live to enjoy what we can, while we can and make the most of what we have got for as long as we have it. I do miss my old self but I am also happy to meet my new self, in the peace of acceptance we can look forward to new ideas, new adventures and new beginnings.