The Change

I had a major insight last week. I’m in old lady puberty.

I imagine you don’t believe me. Just hear me out.

Once upon a time I was a child. Then puberty hit with acne, greasy hair and a sleep shift. Parts of my body got wider, others got smaller, but I didn’t get much taller. My little girl’s body was transformed into a functional woman. Maybe not mentally, but when it was over I was physically a grown-up. It took me awhile, but I was comfortable in my own skin.

This round is not so different. I’m ending that period (so to speak) of child-bearing womanhood and entering my advancing years. Again, my body is changing to fit the role. Besides the sagging even in places that never would have occurred to me, I have the classic tummy that every fiftyish woman I know complains about. Who knew fat could migrate? My genes are allowing my hair to gray very slowly and the wrinkles to show up mainly around my eyes. This time around, my skin and hair are dry, but sleep is again an issue.

If I could adjust to the changes of adolescence, I’m betting I can do it again. After all, I’m short. So that means I’ll be a little old lady. I’ll bet at some point you looked at a little old lady and thought she was adorable. Hopefully it was out of affection and not belittlement, but either way, I’m going to say cuteness is a plus.

Think of it as metamorphosis. Childhood is like the egg, making adulthood the caterpillar. Guess who gets to be the butterfly?

More evidence that this transformation is happening is that wherever I go, there is widespread chivalry. Men leap to open doors for me. And not just men my age. Young men too. So it’s not my sex appeal here. Apparently, I look like I need help.

I’m not really helpless. I plan to head into my “golden years” active and vibrant. There’s nothing that says old people can’t be in shape. I already eat well. I just need to up my activity. But then puberty didn’t make me into a completely different person the first time.

I’ve known elderly women who were cheerful do-gooders, organizers of the community. Others were bitter snipes or skittish mice, everybody’s grandma or the life of the party. Each of them was just a stronger version of their more youthful selves. My out-spoken self is becoming more assertive with the years. I doubt my little old lady persona will be quiet.

As I enter this last third of my life, I’m much more self-aware and much less self-conscious than I was during the first transition. It’s good to be at a point in my life where I am secure in love, friendship, and self-assurance. I like knowing what I enjoy and what I’m happy to leave behind. This round of puberty may slow me down, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I have enjoyed every phase of my life, each one bringing new adventures, joy and challenges. This most recent phase was a good one, but bring on the transformation. It’s time for another change.



30 thoughts on “The Change

  1. I enjoy following your line of thought as you speculate on the transition into living in (with?) this newest stage of a woman’s body. I like that you mention becoming mentally stronger even as you may be physically slowing down. Perhaps you can extrapolate on this idea more. I also like that you communicate a sense that you have control over how to view this new stage of life, that your attitude will have some bearing on how it all goes. You might need an actual scene or two to elevate the essay to something more than a string of thoughts on the subject. All in all, a good read! (P.S. I would love to share with you my recent essay on Salon about my version of the same subject matter, but it seems tacky to just link it here. If you google amy bee and menopause check up, it will come up. I’d love to hear what you think, and also, well… know, it’s nice to have someone that may understand 🙂 )

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    1. Amy, thanks for your detailed comments. I had read your menopause piece. I loved it! Reading it again today, I was thinking about my recent mammogram. There is a strange kind of intimacy in those medical interactions. Your piece brought together every woman who ever put her feet in the stirrups. 🙂 I glossed over the more unpleasant features of the transition, but the gory details worked well for your piece. You make a good point about including a scene to make my piece better. Sometimes what I write is all thoughts and no actions. I didn’t have a particular moment to write about this time and I decided to go for it anyway.

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      1. Thank you. I suppose you could always go deeper with your thoughts; maybe be more vulnerable, show us whats at stake. Your thoughts are great, I like what you have, don’t get me wrong! Enough to want more, more, more……🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re very kind. I’ll give you one more thought. Perimenopause is very much like puberty, wreaking havoc on mind and body. It gets better (thank God) and from here, just like every other time, life is what you make it.
        Speaking of more, I was glad to find you blogging at an additional site. I’m not a hard-core hiker, but I enjoy walking trails and I will live vicariously.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I’ve spent the last 7 months bleeding, and now that it’s semi-under control, I sleep all the time. Yes, life is in upheaval! But, so far, less PMS, so….. I am hiking in Scotland next month (hormone imbalance be damned) so, please vicariously follow along! Thanks for talking with me, I appreciate it. 🙂

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