Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

A "Certain Age"

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Several years ago I was at an airport waiting on a bag that, as it happens, never arrived on the flight. A woman walked by. Her age seemed to be 60 or somewhere thereabouts. Her grey hair bounced with every step as she confidently strode through the terminal carrying only a backpack as luggage. She was clearly happy with her lot in life, or at least she was at that particular second when my brain registered the snapshot.

That was where I wanted to be in another fifteen or twenty years - metaphorically speaking, at least.

I may get there, but first I have to get through the dreaded "certain age."

When I was a child, adults tiptoed around the subject of menopause. A woman was just at "that age," as if those magic words both explained and excused any odd bit of behavior. Of course, I learned about menopause and hormonal changes, but that was Very Far Off and nothing compared to the Dread of What Happened At Puberty, which was not only Very Near, but positively looming. (Cue the threatening stinger!)

While women my age were discovering the joys of natural childbirth and nursing, our mothers coped with menopause with hormone therapy. Now that we've learned the dangers of that treatment, we have little choice but to face the change naturally. Certainly if countless generations before managed, so could we.

Drugs are starting to look good. My  husband, bless him, says that he'd rather put up with me in this state rather than have me risk the complications associated with drugs. He's been great.

My current situation seems to have coincided with what we women of the South so delecately call "surgery of a feminine nature." The doc says between the stress of the surgery and being at "that age" probably brought on the symptoms with the force of a steam roller.

It's not just hot flashes. It's sleepless nights, cramps, mood swings, zits. It's just like being a teenager again, except without the thick glasses. That, and I have a lot more friends - which I hope the mood swings don't drive away.

Of course, men our age don't get away so easy. They get to join us as lifetime members of the Humiliating Annual Exam Club. Just relax, boys. Take a deep breath, and think of England. It won't hurt ... much.

All this is to say that if you don't see me online for a day or two, if some of my posts seem a bit on the blue side, don't worry. I'm just at that "certain age." It shall pass. I keep the snapshot of that woman tucked away in the lumber-attic of my brain to remind me that there are very good things ahead.


Filed under: Life            


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