I’ve been told by more than one professional of one sort or another that I would “probably calm down after menopause”.  Glossing over how that observation always seemed to trivialize my experience, diminish me as a free will adult, and offer little present-day hope, it was also something I’ve held onto for a long time… it will be all be better…eventually… like magic… without effort.  Just a simple biological, chemical change in my reproductive functionality and I will be well and whole and somehow saner and more balanced.  Let’s be real – that sounds too good to be true, and even if it is true, wouldn’t it be a ludicrous failure to manage my affairs in an adult way to simply sit around throwing random tantrums and waiting for menopause? My hormones and I have put my loved ones through hell, more than once.  I’ve even dared to say, out loud, that I am ‘not high maintenance’ and even ‘not especially moody’. Wow.

I am… high maintenance, and then some. In spite of myself.  I’m moody, too – especially moody, and rather often.  I have indulged in tantrums that go so far beyond what could be considered acceptable from an adult I’m lucky I still get invited to parties by proper grown ups.  I can do better than this – can’t I?  I’ve read my share of ‘self help’ books, and mostly they haven’t done much in the way of help, because… ready for it? They’re just books. In spite of the lack of action on their part, and mine, a few outstanding books have stood out… and I go back to them again and again, to learn more than the words on the pages. Brain injury, PTSD, the slow march toward menopause… I still choose my actions, don’t I? Well, I guess I don’t always – but it sounds like a good starting point. (Do I get a ‘starting point’ at 49? Extraordinary!)

So, thoughtful, mindful, well-chosen action, considerate of my loved ones and associates and fellow-man – and doing my best to ‘take care of me’, too… it seems a good approach. It’s easy on paper – that’s what makes the ‘self help’ industry thrive. The ideas are so simple, so effective – and like fad diets, they probably all work.  If I do them.  That reminds me, a healthy diet, a good fitness plan, managed and adequate rest, harmonious healthy relationships all add up to thriving, don’t they? Does it even take money? Is a book even necessary? (Not always; this weekend I enjoyed the opportunity to share how helpful regular baths in Epsom salts have been for stabilizing my mood and helping me sleep. A man in line with me at the store could not resist asking what I needed all the Epsom salts for, and it was clearly on the order of a lifeline to hear something as simple and inexpensive as Epsom salts have given me so much relief; it was clear from our exchange that both he and his wife are suffering through her change.)

I did my best this weekend to choose my words and actions well, to nurture my loved ones and not take their experiences personally, to take care of my own basic needs, and where I could to assist my loved ones in meeting theirs, too. It was a pretty great weekend.  I suspect it makes for a dull blog post, but I feel pretty good today.

Happy Monday! Being nicer today feels easy…