Women past childbearing age are the ones leading the changes toward a better world all over the globe says Jean Houston. She claims that 85% of the founders of change movements – planting trees, securing universal education, agitating for human rights – are women who don't need to fulfill others' expectations anymore. Some have birthed and raised children and some have not. All of them are birthing movements that are bettering the world for our children and grandchildren.
When I learned about them, I wondered how they had the energy and optimism it takes to do what they did. Some of them, of course, didn’t realize that they were “changing the world.” They were just doing what they felt needed to be done. Others were just naturally optimistic and energetic regardless of their situations and predicaments.
Well, I may be eternally optimistic, but I am not typically energetic. Most of my life, I have wished I had the level of energy I saw my mother call upon daily. I could look around any given day and see others who seemed to be inexhaustible. And of course, there were those inspirational stories of people who overcame all sorts of misfortune, ill health and repeated failures to eventually accomplish their desired results. I envied their ability to focus and stay on task for what seemed to be extraordinarily challenging circumstances. Of course, that was supposed to inspire me to buck up, persevere, stay the course, push on!
Unfortunately, no one ever tells us where we're supposed to get the energy for it. It was unspoken and unwritten that if you were healthy – or at least no doctor had diagnosed you as otherwise – and you couldn’t buck up, you had a moral failing. You were just plain lazy. This is all too common a sentiment directed toward people who later find they have one of the diseases doctors have been slow to recognize, such as Lupus, chronic fatigue, thyroid conditions, celiac disease, or any of a host of others. And though I don’t discount any of those as energy sappers, I don’t believe they're always the answer either.
Our bodies are not designed with On/Off switches. Some of us are simply more energetic than others. That was hard enough for me when I was young. And then I started the process of menopause. Not only did I often lack the energy to get up and go about my day, sometimes the mere idea of getting out of bed was tiring. Some days, I as cranky as hell and some days I had blinding headaches that made me want to puke. I had not had migraines since my teens and 20s, and I thought I had finished with that little slice of hell. Well, there’s nothing like extreme frequent pain to focus your efforts – when that pain has subsided for a moment.
One thing I’ve always been good at is learning, and I had motivation for delving into a new topic. So I started learning about migraines, which led to learning about hormones, which led to menopause and peri-menopause, and so on. What I learned amazed me. I began to deeply appreciate the process I was going through – and, it runs out, had been going through for years. The aches and pains, the ups and downs (emotional and physical), and the ins and outs of sex (and possible problems with it).
At the same time, I noticed that my sexological bodywork clients included more and more women who were dealing with similar issues. Learning about menopause and the changes it creates in the bodies and minds of women, starting in their 30s, helped to me appreciate its advantages and its disadvantages. My presentation will be biased – I will offer no fair and balanced assessment of the disadvantages. Really now, is that actually necessary?