Life imitates art and at times parallels a three-act play: Act 1 (childhood) you meet your cast of characters: Act II (young adulthood) encounter problems and adversaries and Act III (now) seek resolution on how the rest of your life will play out. You’re not alone in this theatre of life. It’s estimated there are nearly 40 million women considering what I call their encore career.
So, now that it’s time to live happily ever after, use your hard-earned wisdom to retire age-old issues, cast off unwanted ‘characters’ and begin to rewrite the screenplay that is your life.
Summer and Menopause: Peri-retirement and Reflection
Menopause is a powerful catalyst to look at your own life, especially after taking care of everybody else’s! Your might still be caretaking—we are the sandwich generation—but long summer days, even with hot flashes, offer time to take pause and reflect on what’s next for the central character—you! It starts with carving out time and space in which to ponder.
After years of running the kids to all of their practices, ferrying snacks to games and holding down a full-time job, it is finally time to let go and follow your own path and passion.
Scientists say it is this gift of time that will be a great help while examining your feelings and experiences.
Give Yourself a Break!
Research shows that self-compassion goes a long way toward lessening the physical symptoms of menopause. When you feel better you think better. Find your perfect space, whether it’s some nice shade outside, a meditation room—or even the front seat of your car to think about what’s next.
That can be daunting—after all you’re wiser, but do you still have what it takes? Some studies flat out show that motherhood affects wage earning, and that’s okay, because what’s different at this time of life, is discovering an encore career that you love and one that isn’t just about the money.
A television broadcast friend of mine used to call this, ‘One for the meal and one for the reel,’ meaning she did some news stories for the paycheck and others because she was insanely interested in the subject matter. Funny thing happened along the way—doing something because you love it somehow ensures life’s bits and pieces fall into place—and the money soon follows.
Life Experience Rocks!
This is a good time to consider all you’ve done and how it can be woven into the fabric of your new adventure. Know when it’s time to retreat into your own sanctuary and rethink how you’ll approach life’s adventures. In addition to ‘alone time,’ call upon the sisterhood for advice and phone a friend. It’s proven that friendship is a powerful bond which strengthens your immune system and helps you live longer. Touching base with your buds and sharing plans for your next chapter will clarify things! It really helps to know how others approach their own third act.
Jeri enjoyed a long career as teacher and principal, but she feared retirement because of the associated boredom and lack of a firm schedule.
She stayed in the same career field and let colleagues know she was ‘back on the market.’ Then, the offers came in and she says it was the greatest feeling to still be wanted! Now, as a university mentor, she serves as an encourager for others and says that is what brings her renewed purpose and joy.
“I look forward to this next chapter because finally it will be about ME and what I want. My children are raised, my husband is happy. Time to relax!”
So, rather than just dealing with menopause and its physical symptoms, focus on the future as you replay your own life experience. It’s time to flip menopause on its ear and embrace this time of your life.
You know, time has a way of passing before we’re fully ready. Your third act is here—already. The curtain is about to go up! Are you ready for your close-up?
Suffering in Silence is Out! Reaching Out is In!