What’s your New Year passion? There’s no better time to put it to good use than during perimenopause and menopause. I should know. After all, that’s when I found my new-and-improved encore career as a menopause awareness expert.
When I entered perimenopause, I acted like the Wicked Witch of the West, slept like an insomniac, couldn’t find my way through a case of never-clearing brain fog, and sadly waved goodbye as my estrogen and vagina packed up and moved to the desert—and I’m not talking about Las Vegas!
After three scary years of struggles, I took out my journal and started writing about my experiences. While, at first, the journaling was a way to escape from all the loneliness and pre menopause confusion, it soon became a new beginning gift that I intended to give to my daughter. It would be a guide to perimenopause and menopause—something she could turn to when she was older and found herself experiencing signs of menopause as I did then.
The more I learned of the various menopause symptoms, and how many women were suffering through them in silence, however, the more I wanted to share my newfound menopause knowledge with the sisterhood of all women. So the journal became my book, and then led to the creation of EllenDolgen.com, the home of Menopause Mondays.
As far as our 2014 lives during early menopause and menopause are concerned, we make the rules and set our own goals! Take, for instance, the six postmenopausal women featured in the new Britain TV documentary Fabulous Fashionistas. These women share a love of style and a “screw that” attitude I love—at least, when it comes to maintaining the status quo.
Perhaps my favorite fashionista in the documentary is 76-year-old Jean Woods. Following the death of her husband of 56 years, she started new and applied for a job at Gap to make ends meet—and she found her passion in fashion. She later got a job at a fashion boutique in London and is now considered one of the most fashion-forward women across the pond. “Perhaps when you get older you know what suits you,” she says. “Also, I like to dress as I want to dress. When I put something on, I don’t think ‘will anybody think I look good?’, I just think in my own mind whether I look good. I don’t really think about other people.” Like I said, style, passion, and drive know no age.
In fact, as Marci Alboher—a former lawyer and reporter who is fittingly now the vice president of Encore.org—writes in The Encore Career Handbook, “Research shows that 9 million people are already in encore careers, and another 31 million are keen to move in that direction.” They are “crafting their encores and helping to create a movement for personal renewal and social good,” she writes.
So, again, I ask: What’s your 2014 passion? Now’s the time to set goals and share it with the world. After all, our years have given us the greatest gift from which any new beginning or career can benefit: experience. We know our priorities, our goals, and what mark we want to make on future generations of women. So let’s make that New Year mark!
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!