Friday, November 14, 2008

Menopause, The Musical. Say what?

By Lonnie Cruse

A friend of mine is suggesting that several of us attend a performance of Menopause, The Musical which is scheduled nearby in Paducah at the lovely new Carson center. After we all pulled our jaws up off the floor, we laughed. Hysterically.

Turn night sweats into a song? Hot flushes that turn our faces bright red in front of the entire world? Dancing around the stage with one of those cheap cardboard fans that quickly become a permanent part of our free hands? Sleepless nights followed by days of functioning at below sub-level? New wrinkles every day? Grey hair that is MUCH harder to cover with color than before? And don't even get me started on the empty nest. Sigh.

And yet, I can see women making a musical out of some of the most difficult years of our lives. Dancing and singing about it because it's better than crying. And because we who have passed through this trial by fire, this valley of tears, and survived know that there IS life after sixty. (Unless, of course, you are still going through, yick, menopause.)

Life after menopause usually means fewer people living in your home to (a) cook for (b) wash clothing for (c) pick up after (d) walk the floor over late at night (d) all the other hard work. Yeah, it's more lonesome. I'm dealing.

Life after menopause means retirement from work, more time to travel or do the things we've always wanted to do. Take classes. Learn new skills. Reconnect with friends. Time to actually grow the flowers instead of just smelling them. Time to live.

So, yes, I can see Menopause as a musical. Women singing, dancing, laughing. Because it's what we do. It's how we survive.

So where are you? Spring of life, newly married, maybe some small children requiring full time care? Summer of life, kids growing quickly, busy, busy, busy, life rushing by? Fall, kids leaving home, you and hubby looking at each other across the breakfast table, wondering what's next? Or winter, looking back, remembering fondly, but enjoying the now? Whatever stage you are in, I hope you are taking time to enjoy it. REALLY live it. And, hey, maybe you should write a musical about it. Or a mystery?


Sheila Connolly said...

Betty Friedan once wrote that after menopause you gain mental clarity. I'm not sure if I've achieved that--but I didn't really hit my stride in writing until after. (And since my daughter is back living with us after college, it's not the peace and quiet, believe me!).

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I too thought immediately of Betty Friedan's book The Fountain of Age. Her revelation that there's life after 60 came as no surprise--in my family, the women tend to get advanced degrees in their 60s, and my now 96-year-old aunt is still playing tennis and dancing with her boyfriend. My mother and I once spotted Friedan having lunch in a Sag Harbor restaurant, and when I told her about Friedan's premise, Mom asked, "How old is she?" When I said 70, she was dismissive: "Oh, 70!" Still kicking up your heels at such as young age is a given, not even noteworthy. Oh, and my "PhD" IS my first published mystery.

D.Alexander said...

Symptoms of depression during menopause include sleeping disorders, hot flushes, loss of energy, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, excessive feeling of guilt or worthlessness, decreased interest or pleasure in activities, change in appetite, and two or more weeks of depressed mood that may lead to extreme restlessness or even suicidal tendencies.