Because I generally subscribe to the belief that the body has its own innate wisdom, when I am dealing with its quirks, often I’ll begin by asking whether it has something that it wants to communicate.

I’ve been wondering recently, now that I have reached that age, what message the female body is trying to get across by way of midlife issues. Given the fact that most women experience them to some degree, treating them as medical disorders does not make sense. But, why would a natural transition cause us to feel uncomfortable?

Maybe it wasn’t always this way. The modern world is such a busy place, vastly different from the world our ancestors knew. So, I’m inclined to believe that our bodies want to tell us something like this:

INSTANT MESSAGE
To: Overscheduled Mind
From: Busier-than-usual Body
Subject: Hot flashes and such

Sorry to interrupt your carefully planned workday, Mind, with these annoying reminders that you live in a body. Well, actually, I’m not sorry. For way too long now, you’ve been treating me as if I exist only as a beast of burden to carry you from one task to another, without taking time to rest. And you know what? I just can’t do that anymore.

Yes, you’re busy, as always; but you need to understand that I am busier than usual too. It takes a lot of energy to rebalance those hormones and recalibrate my systems. I need much more relaxation and gentle nurturing so that I can recharge.

I’ve been trying to get your attention in other, less intrusive ways, but you haven’t listened. When I got so exhausted that waking up was a struggle, you plonked me down in the desk chair every morning anyway, sucking down enough coffee so that you could ignore how I felt. When I started to get achy from holding up the weight of the world, you just popped some ibuprofen and kept on going. You were so focused on meeting the culture’s demands that you never took the time to consider how poorly suited they are to the needs of midlife women—and everyone else, for that matter.

But I love you anyway, Mind, even though sometimes, you haven’t got the sense God gave a goose. That’s why I am still trying to give you this very simple message—slow down before you fall down. Instead of complaining about your change-of-life issues, understand them in the way they’re intended, and go take me for a peaceful walk in the woods.

Woods with autumn foliage.

(Photo credit: Jim Lukach)

Or listen to music for awhile. Read a good uplifting novel. Write a short story. Do crafts. Watch funny cat videos. Cook a new recipe to share with family and friends. Just look up at the sky and daydream for a few minutes, like when you were a child. You do remember being a child, don’t you?

I promise, taking a little break from the to-do list won’t make the world come crashing down on you.

2 Comments

  1. Meg, I love this! It’s so beautiful and inspiring! Writing a letter to your mind, wow, this is powerful. I perfectly understand and agree with you. We tread our body badly, pushing it to the limits. We really need to stop and listen to it, respect is the word for it. Respect our needs and limits, yes, the limits start to show up, more each day. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful letter, hugs to you!

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