I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a little 20-something tell me this. And it’s always a happy little quip imparted unto me with a real sense of “knowing.” I mean, that’s how THEY feel right? All strong, robust, full of life, energy and hope?
Well, and foolishness too. But, that’s another story.
That may very well be how they feel. But, it’s not how I feel. And lordy, don’t get me started on how much I resent a 20-year old explaining life to me, which they’ve barely begun to live, much less understand. Especially when I was at least 40, when most of these little Buddha life philosophers were born.
And then there’s the “age is just a number” crowd. My fav. I’ve noticed though that it’s often a woman who is still trying to look as good in a mini skirt in her 60s and 70s, as she did in her 20s, 30s, or maybe even 40s.
Hello? Ivana Trump???
As if that number doesn’t represent anything. You know, like the years you’ve spent living life, gaining wisdom and experience, and having the forces of gravity pull your boobs and ass closer and closer to the earth, and your skin sagging from your torso?
I say this with a deep sense of forlorn. I used to have a great set of legs. Legs which I proudly showed off well into my 40s. Now at 60, I have varicose veins, crepey skin around my knees, and oh horrors! Age spots. Yep. Those brown freckles cropping up everywhere which reveal the ugly truth: I’m not a young woman anymore with sex appeal galore and gorgeous legs to boot.
Old Age is No Place for Sissies – Bette Davis
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m still fit and trim for my age. I still look good in my clothes and I can rock a pair of capris and cute, strappy sandals all day long. I’m also all about living life to its fullest, staying healthy, and refusing to go gently into that good night.
And who’s not inspired by men and women who are well into their 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s, who refuse to quit living and continue to push themselves to achieve and grow? Now there’s someone who can talk to me about living and aging!
But to deny the effects of aging on the body and the mind by spouting platitudes and cliches which are trite, shallow, ill-thought out, and meaningless? That I cannot abide. Because age is not just a number. It’s a number that represents a lot of things.
How Does Menopause Affect the Aging Process?
In my last post “How Long Does Perimenopause Last and Will I Ever Feel “Normal” Again” I talked about reaching menopause and finding the “new normal” in life. Part of that new normal is the reality of aging.
And look, none of us wants to talk about that or even think it will happen to us. But it does. Just like death and taxes. There are just some things in this life you can’t escape. Aging is one of them. For those of us who have had the blessing (yes, I said blessing) of reaching actual menopause we are aging with the loss of estrogen and progesterone.
And quite frankly, until I edged closer and closer to actual menopause, I never understood or appreciated all the wonderful things that estrogen and progesterone did in my body. I mean, I understood that during perimenopause when both estrogen and progesterone were fluctuating wildly that my body exhibited all kinds of whacky symptoms which were all related to the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone in our bodies.
What I didn’t know, however, is just how much normal estrogen levels, for example, contributed to my ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. I did not understand the role estrogen played in maintaining healthy vaginal tissue and just healthy skin in general.
I had no idea that low estrogen levels present in menopause and post-menopause contribute to depression in women, are related to symptoms of fibromyalgia, achy bones and joints, and an over-all sense of fatigue and pain as women age.
I had no idea that progesterone helped with anxiety, stabilizes moods, and like estrogen, also promotes good sleep. I did not know that both estrogen and progesterone helped promote bone development and strength as I got older. So does menopause affect the aging process? You bet it does! In a huge way.
Does Hormone Therapy Slow the Aging Process?
Well, according to some medical researchers and physicians it does. And in fact, I have a PDF copy of a paper written by Dr. John Lee, MD regarding hormones and the aging process that you can download right here.
But, I’m not necessarily promoting that here at The Perimenopause Blog. But not because I do not think there are benefits to hormone therapy – I do. I’ve been on hormone therapy for over 5 years now and I think estrogen and progesterone have both helped me immensely.
Without estrogen and progesterone I wouldn’t sleep very well. I would suffer in the worst way with hot flashes and night sweats. Without estrogen and progesterone I would suffer with vaginal dryness.Without estrogen and progesterone I would have brain fog and short term memory loss (at least worse than I do).
So, yeah, I think there are huge benefits to hormone therapy in menopause and post-menopause years. But you have to decide that for yourself. I just want you to be educated and informed so that you can make the best decision for your health.
And though we are all aging, we can still live a happy, prosperous and fulfilling life. We just might have to do it at a different pace!