As I approach 45, I’ve been thinking A LOT about aging. More than I have before in the past. The reason it’s been on my mind lately is because I can feel my body beginning to change as I march toward perimenopause and then of course menopause. I believe I am starting to have some symptoms and it’s made me think about aging in a way that I haven’t done so previously. One main thing I’m noticing is irregular periods every now and again (fun times- insert eye roll here). This last one really prompted my thinking on the topic and led me to delve into more research on the topic of menopause and I have started to dig deeper and examine my own thoughts about aging and how I really feel about it as it pertains to the changes in my body.
Overall, I have never been afraid of aging and have always embraced it (still do and I am also fine with Aunt Flo packing up her things and leaving for good). I’ve never shied away from telling folks my age and I do sincerely feel that getting older and having more time in this life is a true blessing. However, other thoughts and emotions started to come up around this topic. One is resentment that the conversation around this isn’t as loud as I feel it should be and I feel the patriarchal system we live under is one of the reasons behind this. I recently listened to Michelle Obama’s podcast episode “What Your Mother Never Told You About Health” and she and her guest who is a doctor discuss this.
The sentiment seems to be that for women, the older we get, the less valuable we become. We don’t seem to be given the same amount of grace or acceptance as men typically do as they age. Women are expected to keep it tight and right and be age defying in order to still be deemed worthy and desirable. It is a badge of honor to be 70, but look 40. However, not many people seem to be talking about what is going on internally as you age as a woman and all that comes with it. It’s just about showing up and looking great when underneath the laid hair, beat face and fly outfit you might be having hot flashes, trouble sleeping at night, an irregular cycle, vaginal dryness or low libido and having mood swings just to name a few of the bells and whistles that can come along with perimenopause and menopause. Of course every woman is different and for some the experience is hell and for some it’s a nice stroll through the park on a beautiful summer day. However, the experience of aging as a woman is multi-layered and we should feel confident about exploring and discussing this fact openly without fear or shame and as a means to not feel alone in the process. Based on the conversations I’ve been having lately, there are so many women feeling uncertain and nervous about this part of aging.
As women, we know the changes that await us whether it is the start of our period or the end of our period in this case, but knowing and experiencing can be two very different things. I still remember the shock and terror I felt when my first period actually came and the initial embarrassment I felt about it! I didn’t even tell my mom out loud that it had come, I wrote her a letter. I also remember being SO concerned about how boys would think of me now that I had a period. There were so many initial emotions and grief in addition to what was physically happening in my body.
To that end, I’m feeling extremely compelled to focus my attention and efforts as a personal trainer and behavior change specialist on the topic of women and aging. My business has always been about helping women to feel good in their skin and our worth as women goes well beyond how we look and if we are worthy of the male gaze. We need to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and feel worthy no matter what changes our bodies might be going through. We must give ourselves grace, appreciate the signals our bodies give us and go with the flow instead of fight against it. If you are looking good, but feeling miserable then there is some work to do and I want to help you do that through body awareness, strength training and mindset work. There are also so many expectations around what is appropriate vs what is not as we age and I want to continue to tear down those walls as well! We as women should feel free and confident showing up and taking up space in whatever way feels good to us as we get older.
So, if any of this resonated with you, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop a comment below, email me or join my mailing list so that you can stay in the loop about the ideas and programming I’m planning on creating to help women embrace aging and do so openly and confidently. I plan to tap on other women and experts in the space to help guide this conversation along with me. I’m excited about what awaits and hope you will join me!