Life Cycles – or How I Became a Teenager Again

002 crop House is decorated for Halloween! Always makes me happy. I’ll even be home for Halloween night this year, for the first time in a couple of years.

I’m over at What the Cat Read today, with a variety of quotes about writers and cats.

The post ahead might be a bit TMI. Fair Warning.

I’ve been hitting a funny place in my life lately. Now that I’m in my late 40s, I’m looking at the whole menopause thing, though I’ve had blessedly few symptoms. More in the radar sites right now is dealing with my blood pressure. It’s just a little high. “Pre-Hypertension,” they call it. Not high enough to medicate, but high enough to be of concern. So far, I’ve been doing about everything I can. My diet is good – low fat, veggies, no fast food. I exercise. With the treadmill desk I’m walking 7-8 miles/day. No caffeine. Trying various herbs.

I recently switched practitioners and she suggested that I should go off the birth control pills, as a next step. It’s funny because I’ve been on the pill for over 30 years. I started on it when I was 16 and had met the guy I wanted to lose my virginity to. And I’ve never looked back. Taking the pill every night has acted as a calendar for my adult life. Likely what I’ll do is get a copper IUD. I still have my biases left over from the IUD horror stories of the 80s, but apparently they’re tons better now. Funny to me that I never tracked those changes.

For the time being, however, we’re using condoms. The other day, I went to the pharmacy and bought a box – for the first time in my whole entire life.

Because, back in my youthful, non-monogamous days, STDs weren’t emphasized so much. AIDS really became a major concern by my junior year in college. But even then, we tended to think in terms of exposure and whether or not we’d been tested. Because I was on the pill and reasonably discriminating in my lovers, we just didn’t use condoms. In fact, I never had sex with a condom until I met David and I was on antibiotics at one point, that could interfere with the efficacy of the pill.

So I never had that rite of passage until just the other day. And yes, I felt totally like a teenager. Plus, with my ovaries and uterus waking up from their long sleep and positively throbbing, I feel like I did when I first started getting my period when I was 12. Also, “they” seem to be right that the pill suppresses desire. While I never felt like I didn’t want sex, now… let’s just say I’m feeling teenagerish that way, also.

Not really what I thought I’d experience in my late 40s, but also cool in many ways, to revisit my youthful feelings. I feel like I’ve come full circle.

And that’s a nice place to be.

Curls and Girls

My hair is developing waves in it. While this may seem like a minor point, it’s significant in that I’ve, for the past forty years, had bone-straight hair. Unless I chemically altered it, which I spent a fair amount of time and money doing.

It’s especially noticeable down here in Tampa, the humidity antipode to Laramie. I’m down here with three other gals who typically make up my work team. Two of them are about five years older than I am and are full of “change of life” advice. One’s theory is the “curlier as you age” theory. Up until now, though, she’s been all about the “gray hair has a different texture and thus is curlier” theory. But, since, I have only a few silver hairs, right at my part, she’s generously revised her theory to include my drift to curliness with regularly textured hair.

And I don’t mind the waves. Kind of different.

What I do mind is the whole “peri-menopausal” thing. A medical type recently informed me that peri-menopausal includes the 10-15 years before and after the actual Pause. Which means, for those terrifed to do the math, one can have perimenopausal symptoms for, yes, that’s right: THIRTY YEARS.

Has anyone else noticed that this comes out to at least a third of a normal life?

I don’t buy it. To me, this is like the “we’ve been dying since the day we’re born” view of life. Just because something is a certainty in the future doesn’t mean it’s already in process. You can move towards a thing without being it. And once you’ve moved through an event, you don’t have to carry it around with you, the tattered remains of it like streamers hanging off your limbs.

Change of life, fine. It happens. Hormones shift, our bodies change. Different physiological priorities.

Now can we move on?