Post-Menopausal Zest! Why You Should Be Embracing It!
By Lorraine Miano, NABBW’s Holistic Menopause Health Associate
“There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a postmenopausal woman.” — Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
So, what exactly is post-menopausal zest? It is the burst of energy that some women feel after menopause… both physical and psychological. It is almost like a wake-up call. A woman may ask herself, “Where do I go from here? What fun lies ahead for me? What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
For many of us, our post-menopause could be at least a third and up to half of our lifetime. That leaves plenty of space to fulfill passions, creative endeavors, traveling, spending time with the people who mean the most to us, or even the possibility of leaving a significant footprint on this swirling ball of magical life called Earth.
It’s all a matter of perspective, really. Some women may read that quote and think, “I don’t think so. Menopause has been absolutely awful for me. These have been the worst years of my life”, and yet others are setting the world on fire by embracing new challenges, beginning new businesses and careers, refusing to sit idly by while the world and time swirl around them. They may be experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of hormone imbalance, but are seeking ways to be healthy and fit, as they move forward on their magical journeys. This can be you!
What I’m going to say might seem controversial to some, but I truly believe that menopause can be whatever you make of it. Let me explain.
In defense of the naysayers, our Western culture does an extremely fantastic job of vilifying and demonizing the menopause experience. Ageism and sexism are prevalent. When the word “menopause” is uttered, many associate it with the word “old.” Our culture perpetuates this perception with all of the “anti-aging” advertising and promotions we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
Somehow, aging has been associated with becoming insignificant, invisible, and deemed unworthy. We are led to believe that “aging” is a bad thing. Add to this the fact that medical misogyny is alive and well, and that there is a stigma attached to menopause which often affects the way women look at themselves during “the change.”
In the sixties, Dr. Robert A. Wilson referred to menopausal women as “crippled castrates” in his book, Feminine Forever. Thoughts and perceptions of menopause, along with the physical changes that are occurring could ultimately determine the quality of the experiences we have during this time.
Knowledge and expertise are lacking with doctors receiving very little education in perimenopause, menopause, or women’s health in general. Women are being neglected in many doctors’ offices, feeling dismissed and unheard. It is no wonder that for many women, their menopause experience is less than “magical.”
If we are continuously told that menopause is “awful”, and we must just “suck it up”, or look at menopause as a “natural plague” (also Dr. Wilson’s words) of course, our experience will be quite different than a woman who looks at menopause as a “new beginning” with endless possibilities. The thing is, the ability to change our perception is available to each of us. We don’t have to accept this Western narrative that surrounds menopause.
So here we go, my “zest-full” women! We are flipping the switch by flipping the bird to those negative perceptions of our post-menopausal selves.
- We will not succumb to the stereotypes and labels that our culture has shrouded us with.
- We are strong pro-agers on a mission!
- We will live passionate, healthy, and fulfilled lives.
Here are just a few ways to get started!
Have you dreamed of playing an instrument or maybe singing? Why not take some lessons now? Do you love painting or drawing, but never found the time for it? Now is the time! What about learning a new language? Do you love to write? Maybe you’ve got a book waiting to explode from your fingertips.
Do you have an exercise that you love or excel at? Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or Tai Chi? Why not become certified and make it a career? What about a holistic practitioner? Acupuncturist, Reiki, reflexologist, aromatherapist, health coach, masseuse? You reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle while helping and encouraging others to do so too!
Learning should be a lifetime goal. If you are stuck in a career that is not serving you well or you just want to make a change, now is the time. There are so many opportunities out there for you. With online education options, it is easier than ever to find your perfect career. Is there a hobby that you love? Turn it into a career! If you are creative, there are so many ways to promote and sell your art and crafts: Esty, Pinterest, Bonanza, or create a Facebook page. If you already have an idea for your own business but feel you lack business skills, take some courses for entrepreneurs.
What do you know? What do you excel at? Share your gifts. You could teach a class or workshop at the local YMCA or community center. What about the local community college? Maybe tutoring?
If you are at a point in your life where you may be financially stable and are feeling fulfilled with your career, or you may even be ready to retire, you can find purpose through serving others. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, “There is a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer”.
Maybe you find yourself at a point in your life where you are ready to retire but want to find things of interest to fill your time. Why not join a club of some sort? There are book clubs, running, walking, and swimming clubs. Maybe Bible study groups or even a support group may be of help to you: Grief share or women’s health. Maybe you love music and either sing or play an instrument or both? Why not start a musical group for fun? The psychological and emotional benefits of belonging to a group are tremendous. Please feel free to join my private menopause support group: Making Menopause Magical.
My wish is for all women to perceive this time of their lives as magical. That they look for the positives in pro-aging and embrace the possibilities that are afforded them as post-menopausal women.
There is a quote I love by Carlos Castañeda: “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
We’ve got the power. The ZEST is ours!
Lorraine Miano is an Integrative Certified Health Coach and author of the book, “The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back!” She is especially passionate about working with women in all phases of menopause, with the clear goal of helping us overcome any weight, metabolism and aging concerns, so we can have more energy, less stress, and feel comfortable in our own skin.