How to be 50: How to Survive Menopause

By Charlotte Latvala

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Menopause. There it is, the elephant in the How to be 50 room, as well as the bane of half the Earth’s population.  


It’s important. And it isn’t.

We almost hesitate to bring it up, because “menopausal woman” is a walking stereotype – a complaining, face-fanning, moody mess – and we here at How to be 50 believe that we are more than mere prisoners to our hormones. (Plus, talking about menopause is the least interesting thing in the world, barring presidential debates.) To make the dialogue more lively, why not…

  • Employ quaint old terms. Announce dramatically that you’re going through The Change, or that The Curse is lifted– just to see how people react. (For further effect, you can drop your handkerchief and flutter your fan.)
  • Host a going-away party. It’s like saying good riddance to a horrid houseguest who overstayed his welcome by 40 years.
Pretty tampons make great party favors!

Pretty tampons make great party favors!

  • Come up with creative uses for leftover feminine hygiene products. Spell out Surrender Dorothy in tampons on your front lawn; build a little maxi-pad marshmallow man; mix up bright blue liquid to see which brand is more absorbent (you’ve wanted to do this since seventh grade, right?)
  • Startle friends and relatives by referring to yourself in botanical terms. For centuries, women have been described as “flowering” when they begin menstruation; “deflowered” when they first have sex; and “blooming” at the peak of their beauty. So why not own it? Call yourself “wilted.” Or maybe “gone to seed?” “Past harvest?” The terrible metaphors are endless.
Your garden isn't growing.

Your garden isn’t growing.

  • Likewise, go around humming every moon-referencing song in existence. Harvest Moon. Moon Shadow. Moondance…which is what you’ll do when this whole ordeal is over, by the way.
  • Don’t just endure mood swings – make performance art out of them. Make clear your level of ill-humor by wielding an axe, chain saw, or a 20-pound bag of ice.
No one messes with The Girl with the Axe.

No one messes with The Girl with the Axe.

  • Use your hot flashes for good. If you think of them as a superpower, then you are a super-hero – say, Incinerator Girl. You are able to do something most human beings can only dream of – spontaneously combust.
  • Be thankful you live in the 21st century. At least nowadays, you have a fighting chance of making it to menopause. And there is life, and happiness, and freedom beyond. As long as you don’t land in jail because of that whole axe-wielding thing.


Filed under humor, mid-life, middle-aged, women, women's issues

19 responses to “How to be 50: How to Survive Menopause

  1. Holy Hot Flash Batman!! *BAM* I’ve embraced this time of my life….I refer to my hot flashes as my own inner summer…..(I appreciate them more in winter)…. I take advantage of my insomnia and sleepless nights and do yoga or journal…still working on the mood swings…..though I’m liking the axe idea!!!

  2. You kill me with laughter. With friends like you, when I get to 50, menopause would be a happy ride 😊

  3. Love “Incinerator Girl”! I have visions of the baby in The Incredibles who turns himself into a fireball.

  4. Kim

    I love this post! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Charlotte Latvala

      Thanks Kim! Just followed you back — looking forward to hearing more about going solo — fascinating stuff! Have you read May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude? She spent a year living alone and writing about it.

      • Kim

        Hi Charlotte! Thank you for returning the follow. Yes, I just discovered Journal of a Solitude a few years ago, actually. Beautiful. This year, I nerded out and got into living alone research — Eric Klinenberg’s Going Solo is fascinating, if you haven’t yet read it. (If you ever want to contribute to my own humble living alone project, or if you know of anyone who would, please let me know….I am terrible at figuring out how to include links in a comment, but if you go to the “Who but You?” tab/page on my blog, it explains things.) I’m looking forward to reading your writing — I’m really enjoying your humor and insights so far! Very talented.

      • Charlotte Latvala

        Haven’t read Going Solo — will check it out! Good luck with everything and I’ll see you around WordPress!

    • Charlotte Latvala

      Hi Sharon — thanks so much! Your story sounds amazing — looking forward to checking out your blog at leisure soon.

  5. Incinerator Girl, axe in hand, exits her wilted garden to wreak havoc in the world, in her “summer of discontent”. Men in her vicinity scatter, well aware of the dangers of “She That Overheats”.

  6. I love menopause! I’m through the hot flashes and life on the other side is great! I’m thinking of it as pledging a sorority– make it past “hell week,” and you’ve got a sweet ride from there on out! (I got lucky–I’m just 48!)

  7. Hahahahahaha – “mix up bright blue liquid to see which brand is more absorbent”. How very true 😉

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