In a former life, I rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, drank gallons of cold beer, ate greasy chicken wings, and made love at noon in a mountain meadow. Now I drive an SUV, sip laxative tea, and snack on protein bars. Passion is pleasurable, as long as the lights are low and the experience requires no more than three positions. I’m in my transitional phase from badass to bad back.
Going through the change means more than searching for quarters in the couch. Middle-age has the power to turn us from free-spirited, sex kittens into snoozing old cats who occasionally perk up for a romp between the moisture-wicking sheets. With erratic eruptions of body heat so intense that it melts the polish off of our hairy toes, we’re truly hot women, but in a different way.
Dealing with night sweats, insomnia, forgetfulness, and irritable bowel system are nature’s way of saying, “Park the motorcycle, Honey. Find a comfortable chair, preferably in a cold meat locker. If your lover is a Real Man, he’ll wear a winter coat and join you. And if he brings a plate of Hostess Ding Dongs, that man is a keeper.”
Eventually the hot flashes diminish in intensity until you feel confident enough to attend dinner parties again. But then an entirely new assortment of maladies attacks your aging mind and body. You’ll graze the buffet table like a famished hog, bend over to pick up a dropped cheese ball, and fart so loud that the jazz band stops playing. Then you’ll burst into tears and lock yourself in the bathroom where you’ll spend an hour plucking black hairs from your chin.
There’s no need to remain in the bathroom because midlife also brings constipation so profound that it should be studied by civil engineers. “Look at this one, Mac. She could stop a log jam in the Mississippi River during a spring flood.”
Memory loss is another irritating condition of getting older. When I started to forget things, such as the names of my children, I developed some techniques to improve my memory skills. Here is the best idea I can remember: Keep your brain active by practicing word and math games. My favorite exercise is to realize that a 50 percent off sale on shoes means I can get two pairs for the price of one. Or, twenty for the price of ten! See how math and memory can be fun!
We’re getting older because we didn’t die young. Grab your bifocals, if necessary, and look on the bright side. If you survive midlife, you can do anything. Your kids are grown so you don’t need to clean up projectile vomiting or deal with head lice. And you don’t need to bake forty dozen cupcakes for the school carnival and then buy them back again. And take the money you once spent on tampons and buy Ding Dongs and wine instead. Best of all, you can sleep naked with the bedroom door open. The Harley-Davidson may be gone, but the free and feisty woman lives to seize another day.