May 26, 2012

Strange Days Indeed....

Going through menopause is very strange.  I don't even know who I will be from one day to the next.  My temper is liable to come awake in an instant, and things fly out of my mouth that surprise and appall me daily. For instance, the other day I saw a man old enough to be my father walk in from the shop where I work without safety glasses and before I could even think, my mouth opened and I said "What are you doing out there without safety glasses, boy?"  Yes.  I said that. I was immediately embarrassed and the person inside my head said "I can NOT believe you just said that.  Have you lost your mind?"    He looked at me like he was in trouble, and so appalled was I that I then felt compelled to explain how dangerous it was.  As if he didn't know that.  As if he wanted to hear stories of people with splinters of metal in their eyes.  He took it pretty well, and I consoled myself with the fact that his own mother would have said the same thing.  It all happened before I could even think, and thinking is not my strong suite these days, if you know what I mean.

After years of raising kids and keeping to one schedule or another, I find myself uncertain what to do if I have a choice now. Often I just do nothing.   

For so many years I didn't have a choice.  I got used to cooking, cleaning, reading books for the twenty-seventh thousand time.   I got used to going to sleep at the same time every night and sleeping soundly.  In fact, so much did I enjoy simply having time that I did not have to be doing some chore that even if I couldn't sleep occasionally it was all right, because my bed had become my refuge.  I am such a reader that should I become bed-ridden it would not bother me too much as long as I had books.  Let the world stop turning, as long as I had books to read I would be fine.

Lately I have found myself unable to sleep.  This has thrown me for a loop and turned me into the female incarnation of a grizzly bear, much to my chagrin.  I called an older friend of mine and told her what I was going through, then asked the most important question, "Will I change back or is this permanent?"

"It doesn't last that long.  You will be yourself again", she replied. I was so relieved.  She also told me to get some Melatonin, which you can buy over the counter and will help promote sleep.  I lost no time, believe me, and plan to take my first one tonight.

I have been dealing with the listless, apathetic feeling for so long that I was getting used to it, as long as I could still sleep.  Take away my sleep, though, and we have no deal  Who is we?  Beats me.  Me and God, me and society, me and life, take your pick.

So I really was not expecting an energy surge, but I got one.  Last night I got off work and took the boys out for supper.  Once we got home, instead of laying on the couch as is my usual routine these days, I gave both dogs a bath and cleaned the carpets upstairs.  This was like some kind of miracle alone, but just wait!  

Today when I got up I took Shadow to the vet by 8 am.  She was really impressed that she got to go anywhere without Jack.  This was the first time they have ever been parted.  It did not bother her one bit.  She pranced around like the lady I know she is and behaved herself very well.  She has an ear infection that cost me $60 but it was worth every penny just to see her strutting around like she was the queen of the world. 

I spent the rest of the morning, I kid you not, going to two different grocery stores, cleaning out the garage, and taking all the bedding I can't fit into my own machine to the laundry mat.  The boys, who have already learned not to let things fly out of their mouths, just gave me odd, slanted looks that clearly said "What has gotten into you?  Why are you doing all this stuff?  Don't you want to lay down for a little while?"

I was impressed and baffled at the same time, wondering what in the world had gotten into me, when all of a sudden the voice inside my head said "Hold on!  I remember this!!  I used to be this way!  When I was young!"

As always, the voice inside my head was correct.  I used to be whirlwind of a cleaning and organizing machine, I tell you.  In fact, I was that way until probably the age of 40.  Then, there was nothing I could now do.  It did not matter what broke, fell apart or got lost, I could fix it!  As I got older I told myself that slowing down was just growing up.  After all, when you think you can do anything you find you are often wrong.  I told myself I had just learned not to jump into things without looking, but this turns out not to be true.  Well, it's true, of course, we all learn as we go, but I was ignoring the one obvious answer:  HORMONES.  

If you are a woman, hormones, or the lack of them, rule your life.  I know how helpless that makes you feel, but take it from one who knows.  Just accept it and try to move on.  How I could miss such an easy answer is beyond me, but there it is.  I can remember thinking when the kids were small that when they grew up I would...........fill in the blank.  I had plans, you see.  Plans for the me I was then.  Along the way I forgot what those plans were and then I just didn't care anymore.  I put my foolish dreams away, or so I thought.  I can't say what those foolish dreams were now, but I'm sure if I looked in my old journals I could find out.  Not that I really care anymore, but just for kicks and grins.

So now I get up every day not knowing what will happen or what I will do or not do.  It's a surprise!  I was never very good with surprises but I think I am getting better.  Instead of thinking I know what will happen I just fly by the seat of my pants, which is pretty much what got me through my younger life.  Some days I am again the whirlwind of yesteryear, and some days I am a lump of frustrated apathy.  I just try to take it all in stride.  What else can I do?  What else, indeed.  The poor boys don't know what I will or won't do from day to day either.  That's OK.  They are teenagers and as far as I am concerned it only works in my favor.    They certainly have started listening to what I say again, if only out of their instincts for self-preservation.  I'll take it.  All in all I think we are all handling it pretty well.

And as for things flying out of my mouth?  Donut holes.  Pop one of those babies in and we are good to go.