This post is brought to you today by the letter “M,” a seemingly random alphabet selection, but actually quite relevant, as it represents my current body condition. Yes, I’m melting, just a few seconds at a time. At the youthful age of 52, I’m experiencing hot flashes. And let me tell you, for the first time in a long time, I want air conditioning! Not constantly, of course. I’m coming to know the sensation of a slow heat infusing my skin…really an interesting feeling, especially as I’ve been chilly most of my life. I’m the one with a light sweater when most of the rest of the world is ready for short sleeves. My last office was nick-named “the womb” because I kept it oh-so-toasty with a little space heater. Well, I do live in Alaska. And even in the southeast rainforest part of the state, there is a lot of chilly weather here. You don’t have to live in the Arctic to be cold in Alaska.
But that may be changing…who knows if my own personal summer will outlast the calendar pages? (Borrowed that phrase from a friend…the best description I’ve heard for this experience!) Well, it’s about time. I’ve been waiting for this…and now it’s finally happening. And I have to acknowledge: I’m just a wee bit sad…a little nostalgic. Not for a monthly event, but for what it represented. And even though I haven’t been able to kid myself for a while that I’m young, somehow, this transition seals more than just a chapter. Like the passage from full and busy motherhood to empty nest, something has changed, gone, and I won’t get it back. I can’t recover the time of life, the physical part of myself that is changing, literally moment to moment.
So I read about this phase of life…should I be taking hormones? Or look for natural supplements to mitigate symptoms and support good health? I have a nightly rhythm with my sheets…on, then off, then on again. Oddly, one of the biggest impacts I’ve noticed, aside from the actual sensation of the flash of heat, is the disruption to my sleep cycle. Hard to sleep soundly when I can’t decide: cover; no cover; cover; no cover. NO COVER!
Most houses in Ketchikan do not have air-conditioning. Just not necessary. And normally I would agree. Except that it’s June, and we’re having a real taste of summer here. Doesn’t happen every year. Some summers whiz by on a Tuesday, and if you’re stuck in a meeting, or out of town that day, you could miss the whole thing. (This has actually happened to me…pretty much went four seasons in a turtle-neck a couple of years since we moved here.) Well, this summer we’re doing a little better. And I’m thinking of where I can drive myself each afternoon when it really warms up. My car has air-conditioning. Safeway has air-conditioning. Wal-Mart is air-conditioned. I’m sure you see a pattern here. I’m looking for a little relief from the heat. Can’t believe those words just typed themselves onto my screen.
So far, Rob is still intact. I haven’t dissolved in a heap of emotion. I haven’t turned into a raging maniac. You hear stories about this transition. I don’t want to spin out of control, to feel I’ve unleashed the Kraken. Mostly I just want to be myself, the me I’m familiar with, good and bad, warts and all. I don’t want hormones, or lack of them, to define me. Can I be bigger than menopause? Ah, another use for the letter “M!” Well, you might as well have two for the price of one! And the alliteration is good. Melting menopause. Menopause melting. Works either way.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go stand in front of my fridge. It’s the best I can do for air-conditioning at this time of night when my retail options are closed.