And now for something completely different…

I appreciate that I began this blog as a photography blog, but somehow, life is getting in the way. For more than a week, it’s been a nasty cold, but the thing that really is messing me up these days is something that people don’t really talk about too much, though I am baffled as to why.

It’s menopause. Yup, I said it. It’s out there.

Holy mackeral – this puppy has thrown me for a loop.

I think that people don’t talk about it because it signifies something else people don’t want to talk about – getting older. Not me. I’m like a teenager who can’t wait to be old enough to drive – I want to be old enough to go back to sleeping through the night without waking up in a HOT sweat. Or just to sleep. There are nights that I am awake for HOURS. I’m finally in a place where I have LESS to worry about – the kids are grown, healthy, happy – and I just can’t sleep. Curse you hormones.

I have to dress differently – layers cause I’m hot. Then I’m cold. Then I’m boiling hot. The worst is when I was driving last night and I had to roll down the windows and literally stick my head out like I was an exhuberant puppy – I couldn’t throw off my coat while still staying on the road. The freezing rain was a relief, frankly.

And then, there’s the loss of what I feel is one of life’s simplest pleasure – taking a nice, long, hot bath. Not happening. Well, it happens but only for about 10 minutes (if I’m really, really lucky) and then – poof – the average hot flash sends your body temperature about 9 degrees warmer which is not a barrel of laughs when you are in a tub that is a zillion degrees already.

Oh yes and then there’s the mood swings. (Although in my case, they’d be hard to notice as that’s not something new.)Moving on…

Red wine is now out which is no big loss as I prefer white anyway. Yet the one night Ichoose red, while eating with people from work, I found out the menopausal reaction to red wine:  I was suddenly beet red and hotter than a desert.

Upside, well, I don’t know if it’s actually menopause or something else, but I’m not having any cravings. This is not like me at all. I have had a long love affair with chocolate but most days I’m not hungry for anything in particular.

The only thing I crave is sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

Wherever you go…

“Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

As the craziest week in a long time comes to an end, I realize I have not had my camera out once all week. My “weather” has been cloudy with meetings and now a nasty cold keeping me away from something I really enjoy. So, I am posting a photo from a year ago to remind me what I’ve been missing!

The upside

The earth laughs in flowers – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laughter is one of the tools that helps me in my day to day reality. I have worked in situations with students who are medically fragile or aggressive or otherwise challenging. We often say, you can laugh or you can cry.

I have worked with other staff who are so focussed on themselves they forget why we do what we do, or they have to belittle me to feel better about themselves. 

There are parents who can appear to be the greatest obstacle to their child’s success but who are convinced YOU are the problem. You have to laugh about it.

It’s not about laughing AT someone – it’s about finding that moment that makes you say, it’s okay, here’s the upside. Walking by kindergarten and hearing kids talking about their parents (“My dad LOVES beer”). You laugh. Or when you are frustrated by a student, and someone else steps in to help, you can look over the heads of the children and smile together about those frustrations.

Or after an “event” when everyone gathers and debriefs, you can chuckle at your ability to read each other, the realization of how you had each other’s back  or simply to say, “What the heck was that?” You need trust to do this work and sharing a smile can signify you’re there.  

It’s that shared experience, that laughter, that lightens the load. That is what makes it possible to come to work with a fresh perspective, not feel alone in the journey. Without that it would feel like a “job” not something more, something meaningful.