Mid-life Croaks: The secret must be out…

Going by the bizarre spam that keeps landing in my email inbox, the secret seems to be out that I am a certified post-menopausal middle-aged woman who will inevitably turn a year older later this year. It’s not as if it’s a rarity. We all age, lose some of our “natural powers”, OK, OK, our capacity to a lot of things that came naturally to our bodies in our youth but are now a major effort.

Someday, however, I would like to know how the bejeezers the spam algorithm gods determined that I should be the target of hearing aids, incontinence, hormonal therapy, arthritis and dating for over 50s ads. It’s almost hilarious if it weren’t offensive. I said almost because all these things that we try so hard to sweep under the carpet in sheer denial of our aging process begin to rear their heads right about the time we turn 50, menopause or no menopause, male or female, and in complete disregard of the midlife transition (call it crisis if you prefer)

Ah middle age, it’s like a post graduate course of being a teenager – full of insecurities about self, the future, the body, direction, appearances and what others will think of you. Seriously, being middle-aged is no different from being a pimply teen, except we have to contend with grey hair, receding hairlines and wrinkles. The teens worry about fashion and constantly moan about having noting to wear. Admit it, all those over 50 have the exact same problem except for the fact that you have a closet full of clothes that you no longer fit into or are in denial that you are too old to wear now. As parents we tend to look at the teenagers with disdain when they spend so much time in front of the mirror fixing their hair, and for the girls, experimenting with make-up. Ha! middle-aged women are just as bad, except that we are trying to cover up certain realities. Both age groups are desperate the find the right look for themselves that will reflect their true personality and be incredibly flattering at the same time.

There are a lot of things I denied myself for almost 50 years, but there is an equally long list of things that I was in denial of as well and refused to speak up about. Well, there is something about middle age that opens up the floodgates and I for one am done keeping mum about it. If you don’t open up and talk about it with others, how you going to find out that you are not the only one going through whatever it is you are going through and there is a plethora of support groups to explore.

A perfect example of this is life after divorce. There are so many ways this can go, and go wrong, but there are also options out there that help you heal in the right way and enable you to become a strong independent person who is not dependent emotionally, physically, mentally, or financially on a partner. Divorce affects people differently, and I find that your coping mechanisms vary depending on your age. Middle-aged divorced people who have gone through empty nest will certainly view life differently as compared to a young mother with small children. I thought I was being the exceptionally weird one refusing to jump right back into the dating scene the moment the divorce became final, but much to my delight I found that there are so many others who are perfectly content to indulge in self-discovery and empowerment. It’s never too late to embark on a new life journey and re-invent yourself. Your body will cope, the spirit will rejoice, and your mind will be rejuvenated.

Back to the blessed spam however – if it’s not someone trying to launder their money, claiming to be in dire need of financial assistance for their sick child, miraculous slimming potions, or some other hoax, these days I tend to skim over the age-related junk before I delete it, simply because some of the topics that crop up are something I never considered before. One such email that landed in my inbox this evening was about bladder leakage, or accidental urination due to laughing, sneezing, or coughing. After reading up on it, I learned quite a bit about stress incontinence, which begins about the time menopause rolls around.

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