By Charlotte Latvala
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.