Yesterday, I migrated my digital photos from one organizer to another, when Adobe upgraded their Lightroom program to a subscription model. Instead of paying one price for a system that would last for four or five years, Adobe wanted me to pay $120 a year to use their system. Nah. So, I moved everything to iPhotos, which is free with my Mac computer.
As I pushed folders around, the images of the last ten years flew across my screen. There were Easter pictures with the boys, who were still boys, on the front porch of our old home. Selfies of myself in outfits before I went out to teach at the college. Steve shoveling out the driveway after a heavy snowstorm. It was sweet and painful to see my life fly past me. Like those flashbacks before death.
It was funny to see pictures of Steve before he went on his massive diet two years ago and the boys before puberty hit and rearranged their facial features. And there was the slow decay of my own body. It hurt, a lot, to see how much I’ve changed.
Menopause, and all its little steps before and after, take a huge toll on women. Perimenopause, those few years as fertility sputters out, was rough on me. It’s this terrible time in a woman’s life, as her body frantically looks for estrogen in all the wrong places and, in the process, freaks out the whole system.
I went from being one of those people who sleeps like the dead to one who would sleep in two hour chunks. I developed that habit of reading bad novels at 4am on iPad next to my bed.
I gained weight. For the first time in life, I suddenly had to think about calories. My beloved glass of wine in the evening became something to fear. No more chicken wings and beer on a Friday night.
While my body has now come to terms with the changes and is letting me sleep again, I am still struggling to remain strong and healthy. Meal times require more thought — rice for Ian tonight and quinoa for me. I don’t dare miss my 9:30 spin class this morning. I’ve swapped my glass of wine for a Corona Light. I am typing this blog post right now using my new standing desk, because the chiropractor said that sitting at a desk for too long was wrecking my spine.
I know that there’s no turning the clock back. I’m never going to fit into those size 3/4 pants again. The lines on my neck are permanent. I’m reading articles about the correlation between Alzheimer’s Disease and menopause with fear and trepidation.
But I’m also a lot smarter than the stranger in those pictures on my computer. I am a lot less stressed out about managing family and work. I’m more comfortable with myself. I’m making more manageable goals for myself for work and life. I’ve (mostly) accepted both the good and the bad things that have happened in my life, rather than being pissed off at the world.
I decided to get a job in retail for a few months, while I figure out my next steps. I need to make some changes, readjust the types of things that I write, set some new goals. I want to try something new, while I figure things out. So, yesterday I filled out an application for the big box book chain. Today, I’ll apply to more places.