This gallery contains 12 photos.
Due to a crippling combination of mental, physical and menopausal I had been excluding myself from life, hiding behind a wall of good intentions, losing myself in beautiful books, drifting day to day, leading an increasingly housebound existence for months that slowly dripped and slipped into years. There was an absence of me in my own life, self esteem and confidence were barely even distant memories. “The Change” was in charge and that needed to change!! I needed to BE the change!! (I do so love a word play)
The first step was acknowledgement mixed together lightly with self awareness and seasoned with humour… after all there are a crazy number of posts and affirmations on Pinterest about “Be the Change”
Fast forward a bit, half-hearted skip and a jump over an ineffectual tangle of “I will start on Monday” and various other forms of procrastination and avoidance and I spotted an advert for Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers, SLJ, as I sat waiting in traffic at a red light and a flicker of excitement stirred my soul… “Could I? Would I?” closely followed by a “Dare I?”
It’s not often one can say, “Thank goodness for Facebook” is it? Yet when I spotted a post about #SLJ in my newsfeed and followed up with a click I began a journey that has found me saying exactly that!!
Wow!… a journey of discovery that encompassed fun, warmth, understanding and support- but even more importantly one that facilitated a rediscovery of self: the self that got lost somewhere between the arrogance of youth, amid the confusion of early adulthood; the demands of motherhood, submerging and compensating in single parenthood; the foggy sweats of menopause that saw an unprecedented gain in weight and loss of joie de vivre. The self who could take a risk, laugh because life is good, sing because the sky is blue, enjoy the moment and feel life fizzing though my veins… Depression started to dissolve just a little as hope returned to entice my soul out of hibernation.
I took a risk and signed up. Damn straight…. I actually did, done do it!
I signed up for the free taster session for the Beginners Course with SLJ. Heavens to Betsy! I voluntarily signed up to walk/jog/run/stumble in public whilst wearing leggings n a t-shirt!! Well, thank my lucky stars I did- as it has seen the start of an epic life-changing event! That Saturday was the day the girl who was ALWAYS told she couldn’t at school by her PE teacher changed into the woman who DID and CAN! The warm welcome by the inspirational Sam, her Coaches and the lovely ladies attending the session embraced me immediately. I forgot self consciousness and became a part of something special, something empowering…yes I was way out at the back, but at no point was I not part of the group, the fun, the laughter. The sheer power of achieving a walk/jog/run of 3k (2 miles) was euphoric, it was an awesome moment! I realised I was the only stumbling block to change and with that my perspective moved from disbelief and doubt to hope and determination.
The rest of the weekend was a high of achievement- the endorphins were simply delicious and more of the same went straight to the top of my “To Do” list!
This was the moment where I carpe diemed and became the change I wanted to be.It turned out that the biggest stumbling block had been my own attitude!
Please note the photos are not my own and I have linked my source.
(These are sourced via Google Images and are not my photographs)
I was out early this morning and as so often happens at this lovely time of year I was taken by the beautiful colours of the leaves on the ground and there it was… a little eureka moment! These leaves have worked hard all year feeding and nourishing the tree to grow, and now fall to the ground, no longer with the purpose that they once had, but suddenly full of beauty in their changed appearance with a new raison d’être to fulfil over a more gentle passage of time.
I feel there is food for thought here and a perspective on menopause I have missed.
This should be added to the To Do list as something to ground and centre me is so very necessary to help regain my sense of perspective and proportion
This is one of my favourite photos, though sadly I am unable to provide any details as to the photographer, location etc. as the source is currently unknown to me. I love the joie de vivre, the style and incredible enjoyment of the two women in each other and the simple pleasure of taking tea together. I want this! This should definitely be on my To Do List!
Alongside the awful absence of my energy, motivation and memory is the dearth of desire to socialise and yet I know logically, emotionally, intuitively that I would so enjoy laughing and drinking tea with a friend, my offspring, my mother-in-law whilst wearing red lipstick, lovely lingerie and a dress that insists on making me feel feminine. So why am I so flaky when it comes to putting this into practise? Why am I so avoidant? So reclusive? Why is it so hard to put myself on the To Do List?
Why have I allowed myself to become a stranger to myself, let alone my nearest and dearest? A hard question which demands a short, sharp shock of self awareness in order to attempt an answer, but also in fairness to self I also must allocate some responsibility to those jokers The Seven Dwarves Of Menopause
Suzanne Somers in her book, The Sexy Years
Itchy is heckling you because your entire body is losing moisture, not only in your skin, but also in your eyes and even your vagina.
Bitchy makes your mood shift all over the spectrum, often causing you to overreact to minor irritants and seem a little crazy.
Leaky latches himself onto gravity and your aging process, making it very easy leak pee at inopportune moments, like when you laugh, cough or sneeze. This can also lead to urinary tract infections.
Sweaty brings hot flashes and night sweats. You might wake up in the morning feeling like you’ve just left the gym after a high-intensity cardio workout.
Sleepy makes his presence known when you’re unable to sleep through the night, sometimes because you’re feeling overheated.
Weepy causes you to cry hysterically for no good reason, simply because your hormones are out of whack and your emotions are all over the place.
Forgetful comes in the form of a foggy brain
Sleepy loves to go AWOL at night and sit on my shoulder by day, Sweaty and Forgetful are entwined with my very core with Bitchy as a mean little sidekick and the saying misery loves company? Well that would be Weepy and Itchy sitting on side making sure this experience is a menopausal mission. My vocabulary has shrunk and my brain is rather like the foggy image below:
So given the all encompassing forgetfulness is there really any point in having a To Do List when in all probability I shall indeed forget to look at it? This does happen regularly when I shop, optimistically prepared with my comprehensive list….only to utterly omit to refer even once to it, overspend on delightful things that significantly do not include the bread or milk or looroll needed at home!! So if a simple shopping list fails to achieve its purpose can I really believe I can make a change with a To Do and a Not To Do? The answer I feel lies in keeping it light, making it achievable…. what is technically known as making “SMART” goals –
- Be the change, make the change
- Walk, walk some more
- Smile, laugh, sing- nothing wrong with a little fake it til you make it
Not To Do
- Allow “The Change” to dictate who I am
- Go to bed during the day
- Read my kindle all night!