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Beyond menopause a different power awaits

Beyond menopause a different power awaits


It’s World Menopause Day.

Once upon a time this transition was a time of welcoming in wisdom and the elderhood of woman. We had rituals and ceremonies that showed us the beauty of age and the lustre of life’s lived experience. But in the space between then and now, there came different gods to worship. Media created an altar for youth and all its flawless beauty. And it is youth that we have been told to hold on to. To be forever 30.

But what I’ve learned as I journeyed through youth and folly and fleeting moments leading onward and through my own eldering transition, is that menopause has brought me peace. I’m happy to let go of those younger days. I love that the flow of hormones has become a slow dwindling ebb. This is a different kind of power. This is a richer, warmer, deeper kind of energy.

I’ve been waiting all my life for this.

I recall someone much, much older than me saying when I was only young, that I had the eyes of an older, wiser woman. I do believe that I am growing into those eyes now. And I am glad of it.

For many of us gathering here in the middle of the stream of life, youth was not all it is made out to be. The simple pleasure of childhood was taken away by thoughtless acts of those who steal innocence, or by a loss, or a displacement. It doesn’t take much for youth to become fragile. A crack appears in our universe and creates complexity around the very beauty of being young and having the world at your feet.

I look back on me at 20, at 30, at 40 even. I thought I knew so much then, but really, I was like so many others making it up as I went along. I ran from shadows, tried to cover up the cracks in self-confidence and I did not see beauty when I looked in the mirror. It is only now that I see what I did not know I had.

 It is only now that I see what I did not know I had - Georgina Langdale

The acts that created the cracks in my universe revealed how impossible it can be to shelter a child from life’s storms. And this knowing cut me adrift from the desire to have children of my own. I sensed I would have wanted to protect them too much and that I would lose even more trust in the world. Even so, there was a momentary fecund panic as the deep unknown waters of menopause neared, until I discovered something wonderous. I discovered that simply knowing that the time for fertility has passed - is one of the greatest gifts life has offered me. Menopause gently laid the ‘what if’s’ and ‘what could be’s’ that walk with childlessness and trauma to rest. At last, menopause gave me safe harbour.

And yes of course, it comes with its tics and foibles. Waists thicken, fog descends, we get hot for different reasons than we used to, we sweat and creak and dry and droop... and yet I have grown to think of this as a rite of passage. An initiation. A veil we must pass through to reach the richness of what waits beyond. We can anoint ourselves with balms and creams and stick patches on our bellies and yes, these things help. But a willingness to embrace life beyond youth helps even more.

I am grateful for my body in a way I’ve never been before. I know it no longer has the golden, svelte allure of youth, but the truth is I love it now in a way I never could when I was young and thinking that the body was all anyone ever saw.

I love that menopause eases the burdens of youth from our shoulders.

I love the post of postmenopausal. I love that my hair is getting just a bit greyer each day. I love that the space in my thoughts once taken up with so much urgency, has now become a place to deeply explore knowledge, creativity and compassion. There is peace in that. Rather than seeking approval for what things look like on the outside, I nurture the internal garden of spirit and soul and maybe because of that a different beauty shines through.

Sure, menopause can also be a garrulous and stroppy visitor. It shows up in the crunch and gnarl of life and won’t take no for an answer. We middling women in the sandwich of things given and things taken away, we just have to open the door and welcome it in. It and the change we navigate alongside it. Through the courses of my menopause transition, I moved halfway round the world. A career ended and a soul path began. I found love. I cared for and then grieved for parents. I started a business. I connected to the healing power of many plants pushing up through the soil and I laid my sorrows to rest in that sweet earth. And all of this makes me smile because change is what being in the middle of the stream of life is all about.

And now, and even without the reading glasses we buy at the chemist, the view on the other side of menopause is clearer.

I look at women who have been here before me and I see them in a whole new way. I think about their lives, and their dreams and I marvel at how we have all made it through. I look at women coming after me and I want to say, don’t worry, this too will pass. You are simply passing through the veil as you enter the age of a different kind of power. You are entering the lustrous beauty of eldering. Take it in your arms and love yourself like you have never loved before.

Happy Menopause Day xx

Georgina Langdale

 The audio version of this blog is available on my Soul Garden podcast






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