It’s a rainy Spring day here in New England. One that’s actually kind of cold. I keep thinking about what I should write to you, to give you hope, to help you deal with this hormone and mid-life stuff. There is just one thing I want to say, though, and it is this: I know something about you, for sure; you are strong.
Mid-life chicks are strong as fuck.
We have weathered 30 years, give or take, of periods.
We have dealt with family-of-origin shit.
We know how to buy groceries and feed people. (Keeping people alive is a big deal, seriously.)
We have pushed through difficult stuff at work, home, and in our communities.
We have probably re-created ourselves a time or twelve.
We know who to keep close and who to hold away; and learning that was painful.
We have reached for at least some of our dreams.
We know when and where to cry, and when and where not to.
We are dealing with our stuff, our kids‘ stuff, and our parent’s stuff.
We’ve probably been to therapy and become better people.
We’ve solved 100,000 problems. (Like, literally. Not lying.)
We have loved hard.
We have dealt with grief and pain and loss.
We have welcomed joy and fun and laughter.
We have each bargained with god at some point, I would bet.
We have been through health nightmares.
We have ended relationships, learned, and gone on to love again.
We walk side-by-side with anxiety and depression every day.
We are looking peri-menopause in the eye and not blinking.
We have learned to reach out and ask for help.
We have made it through bouts of food poisoning. And whiny people who need our help.
We have held two opposing things in our mind and heart and moved ahead anyway.
We do our best, every. damn. day.
For my Sex Surge sisters, I know you have had an extra load put on your table.
You’re navigating new relationship wishes.
You’re having an affair to save your marriage. (This is okay to be in, here.)
You’re communicating and being honest and trying not to hurt egos.
You’re opening up your life in ways you never expected (and sometimes that’s scary af).
You’re not entirely sure who you are inside this hormonal shift, but you’re working with it.
You’re trying to love this new libido and get the most out of it.
You’re researching and learning…and trying to figure out the difference between love and lust.
You’re spending that sexy energy in the best way you know how.
You’re making choices for the long-term and not the current cutie at the copier. (Although, I would definitely want to lick him, too, if I were you.)
And all of you are working hard, every day.
I see you.
I see your strength.
I want you to take a few minutes and think about all you have been through up to this point.
And I want you to think about where and how you’ve gotten strong. Which moments were defining for you?
Then I want you to feel the strength and courage and perseverance you have inside of you.
You did those things.
You are strong.
As you do this, please avoid the temptation to compare your difficulties and the things that made you strong with other people and what they have had to deal with in their life. Perhaps you have not had cancer or someone die an early death, but that doesn’t matter. We are all made differently with the capacity to experience different levels of emotional difficulty. And just because someone has ‘had it harder than I did’ doesn’t mean you haven’t gone through some shit, okay? We are all strong because we have weathered what Life has given us and held on through whatever we found most difficult. You are strong, doesn’t matter what that looks like compared to other people.
Please also know that strength does not mean ‘putting up with more shit just because people dish it out.’ Sometimes strength is saying what the Dalai Lama calls ‘a compassionate NO.’ (Yeah, the Dalai Lama, so drop that name next time you need to point out some bullshit at work.) Strength is saying, “I’ve had quite enough of you/this/that.”
Strength is one of the most beautiful attributes of a mid-life woman. It has probably brought a few wrinkles to our foreheads, but it’s also given us wisdom and clarity and that is worth its weight in gold. Your strength is golden.
So, that is what I wanted to tell you today. You are strong. And don’t you forget it.