Looking at the positive side of one of life's passages
I wake every morning around 4:30 a.m., even on vacation. While visiting my daughter in Oregon recently, we found ourselves eating breakfast at a local coffee shop before 8 a.m.
“I can’t believe we’re up this early when we don’t have to be,” she said as she gulped coffee. “We should have slept in this morning.”
Yes, that would be loverly, but it doesn’t happen to me anymore. I hesitated to make my confession to her about my early morning habits, so I just nodded and suggested it made more sense to get out early before the crowds and heat. She yawned.
So when I’m at home and no one else is around, I grab my laptop and bring it into bed with me. There are advantages to living alone, I guess. Sometimes I work on my fiction; other times I go through e-mails or I might write my column.
This morning I sent my editorial assistant five e-mails before 6 a.m. Since my boss teases me about these 5 a.m. missives, I decided to just admit the truth to her. “Menopause sucks” read the subject line on the last e-mail.
Getting up and working seems a better solution than lying in bed plotting and remembering and imagining, so I go to work. I thought that perhaps this would inspire my assistant, but then I realized she is only 24 years old and has another quarter of a century before her work productivity will increase to my level.
Of course, by lunch I am ready for a nap. And if I eat anything that resembles a carb, I’m asleep by 1 p.m. whether I’m working in my home office or the office in Gainesville. One day my boss walked in and found me with my head down on my closed laptop after a lunch of enchiladas.
“So this is what you do when you work at home?” he asked.
No, actually at home, I lay down when I’m tired, but I did not tell him that. I made sure to send him several e-mails on the dawn express the next morning, referencing the time with each one.
The North American Menopause Society suggests that viewing the symptoms of menopause, such as disruptive sleep patterns, in a positive light lessens the effects of this stage of life. They even go so far as to call menopause, “the adolescence of older age but better than adolescence of youth because menopausal women have confidence and experience.”
And again I am given another positive view of the times when I just blurt out whatever happens to make its way into my voice box. I thought the brain had simply lost that connection, which always prevented me from saying, “You annoy me.” Now when those things come hurling out of my mouth, I know I am simply displaying my newfound adolescent menopausal confidence.
However, this aspect of menopause, if not carefully monitored, could result in no work productivity in the office, depending on the level of annoying people employed by the boss. Then again the boss might make better hiring decisions.
I suggest employers everywhere consider hiring all women heading into the periomenopausal or menopausal stage of life. Now it might seem a negative that the office temperature would have to stay at 60 degrees to keep everyone happy, but I believe this would lead to a happier work environment.
Everyone in that office would agree when it was too hot or when it was just perfect and there would be no thermostat wars between the too-thin 20 year olds and the voluptuous forty and fifty somethings with red, sweat-dripping faces.
I can guarantee who would win the war, and the melting mess on the office floor would not be the adolescent older women. No indeed. The confident, wide-awake, heat-producing women would stand victorious as the air conditioning fan heads into overdrive. §