Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To The Nitty Gritty

I started my menstrual cycle at about 10 years old. I remember being very ashamed to tell my older friends that I started before them and so it was My Secret that I shared with My Mom. I don't really think it is an actual scientific fact that starting early means you get to end early but I wasn't too surprised to find myself in peri-menopause in my early 40's. I had done my time. Peri-menopause is all that it's cracked up to be and it serves no purpose to discuss that here. I will say that my last menstrual period was in January of 2010, a fact that sets in motion how I got where I am today.

My menopause coincided with my empty nest syndrome; two distinctly transitional periods in a woman's life if she is a mother. Menopause in and of itself is pretty pivotal so everything else is just piling on. I have always worked part-time but my family came first. My kids were never latch key kids. I was never late to pick them up from wherever they were. I always stayed awake at night until they came home. I cooked meals and packed lunches and grew food in the garden. Then suddenly, it was all gone. No one needed me anymore, or so it felt. I have since read how absolutely normal I was to feel that way. I also began to feel a sense of restlessness inside me. A sense of "is this all there is to my life?" and "what am I going to do with my time now?" and "when do I get to try and figure out what I want to do?" and so on and so on...

I wasn't fulfilled in my marriage. Somewhere along the way my husband and I grew apart and I either didn't notice or didn't care. We seemed to everyone who observed us to be a happily married couple and yet, who would want to observe the reality of a lonely woman, sitting at a bar next to man obsessed with his Blackberry, doing his own thing that had nothing to do with me?

I had no choice but to make my own friends and find fulfillment on my own. In my mind, I was an invisible entity. I was treated as an insignificant peon who was good for nothing but eye candy to boost someone else's self significance. Once I realized that, I was free to make my own choices and follow my own instincts as to who I could trust to be a part of my life.

Next: Couple's Counseling.