The Age of Freedom: Rethinking Menopause as “the Free Period”
For younger women, menopause is a mystery, and even those at the outset of this time of life might be struggling to understand the implications of it. For those of us on the other side, we have really good news for you.
The word “menopause” has historically been heavy, laden, whispered....and spoken of in euphemisms, like “the change”. The word communicates the physical aspects of entering a new biological phase, while at the same time carrying with it a kind of erasure, a disappearing. A culture that values women for their sexual attractiveness and ability to procreate might choose not to see you anymore. And that could mean less power.
And in some ways, and for some people, it’s true: After a certain age and stage, you may be less likely to be ogled, cause jaws to drop, or be pursued by strangers. When the waist approaches the dimensions of the hips and the breasts go in the direction of the navel, one might ease into “ma’am” territory—at least for certain demographics of potential sexual partners. But many of the women I know are still hot, alive, sexual, and sensual, through menopause and often well into their 70s and 80s.
The reality is that this time of life isn’t about diminution and invisibility: it’s about coming into more of your power and life. When the body finally says “no more babies,” when it says “thank you for your service, but 3,000 days of bleeding is clearly enough,”it frees up a tremendous amount of energy for other things.
Barring emergencies and disasters, a lot of things come to fruition in this time:
- Kids, if you’ve had them, are getting older
- Money is getting easier
- Those years of self-awareness, inquiry, and communication practices are bearing fruit; you’re laughing more, and letting things roll off of you
- Values mature into the things that last forever (how you make others feel, how you serve, what you create, true friendships)
- The bumps and grinds of life in a body might make you appreciate everything more
- In your career, you’re likely rep-locked, and can take more risks
- You understand how much of your reality is shaped by your thoughts
Maybe, now that you’re no longer having to care for young or manage a complex household, you’re re-asking the question: “What’s my best life now?” For me, the age of freedom meant downsizing to a walkable neighborhood, starting a new company, writing more, hanging out only with people I love, calling bullshit when I see it, treating my body like a treasure, training and dancing and getting on the yoga mat, and opening my relationships into a wider range of play.
Yes, the loss of estrogen and hormones can cause all kinds of unpleasantness. That is, of course, one of the reasons I created the Rosebud Woman formulas. Scientificially speaking, about 60% of women have "genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)". The Journal of Menopausal Medicine defines GSM as combining "various menopausal symptoms and signs including genital symptoms (dryness, burning, and irritation), sexual symptoms (lack of lubrication, discomfort or pain, and impaired function, and urinary symptoms (urgency, dysuria, and recurrent urinary tract infections)." There are other changes in skin and desire and metabolism, too.
We don't have to add to this without unneeded and just plain wrong cultural biases about a woman's worth after the window of reproduction is over. Rosebud Woman will help handle the moisture thing. However, if laugh lines and a preference for sneakers and cozy clothes causes some people to banish us from their visual field, so be it: Life pops in other ways that we might never have imagined.
Welcome to the Free Period!