This week’s post is from the awesome Tera Johnson-Swartz of Midlifeit.com.
When I started chatting with Missy, I was stoked for the opportunity to swap guest blogs. Hitting midlife has sure felt lonely sometimes, but making a friend that makes me laugh and keeps the drinks coming (check out: Midlife Margaritas Top 10 Cocktails)? She’s my kind of friend…
Perimenopause came at an earlier than average age for me. I was in my mid-30s when my menopause story began, but aside from the annoying side effects, I was actually excited about the idea. Gray hair? Sun-kissed skin? And a free fuck-the-world permission slip? Bring. It. On.
Still, I’ve had some varying degrees of fun during midlife so far. Here are some of my most salty and sweet memories you can dip your margarita glass rims in…
- License To Drink
I always hated getting carded at liquor stores and restaurants. It was the inconvenience of having to flash my drivers license to prove that yes, I’m of legal age and semi-right mind to drink alcohol. All of my twenties and most of my thirties, I’d go to buy a single bottle of wine here, or order an amaretto sour there, and BAM! “Can I see your ID?” some person who was at least my age and knew damn good and well I was old enough would ask.
Then, pretty much right when perimenopause rocked my world, it stopped. Was it my gray hair? Or maybe it was my disheveled mismatched clothes that screamed, “Exhausted mommy over 21 needs a drink already!” Regardless, I love this part of midlife. The freedom to purchase booze without shame or burden has definitely been one of the sweeter rewards so far. That is, so long as the salesperson considers my age to be not a day over 40…
2. Looks Like Tween Spirit
When I was in my twenties, I thought I peaked – I really thought I looked like a grown woman: no more baby-fat or acne to fuss over. Recently though, I saw a billboard of a female model in her 20s promoting something for 21+ adults. I scoffed. “What marketing perv worked that campaign? She looks like a damn tween!”
To be sure, when I got home, I pulled out my wedding albums to compare. Sure enough, I was just like that girl in the pic: young, soft, and had just a hint of enough baby-fat left in my cheeks to put me in the same “tween-ish” category.
Still, everywhere I turn it seems there’s always another young-blood advertising something she’s barely of age to promote. And don’t get me started on how many years she’s got left to develop enough to fit into the damn thing. I’m waiting for marketing firms to get a clue already and start giving us our rightful features in centerfolds. Sex appeal shouldn’t be dependent on age. But it should have everything to do with experience and enjoyment. In that case, women over 40 most definitely have the market cornered.
3. Never Say Never (Foods I Used To Hate)
My dad used to pull a scallion or radish fresh from the garden and sometimes rinse it with the hose before chomping away. I hated onions. And radishes, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, lemon water, apple cider vinegar, and most importantly, hard liquor.
Then midlife gave my taste buds a stern talking to. In the past few years, I’ve retried most things on my “I’ll never eat that” list and nearly everything I hated as a young maiden, I loooove now. Raw. Roasted. Boiled. Mashed. And in several cases, fused with booze. Taste buds change. And in midlife, definitely for the better. I taste more sweetness in the spiciest and bitterest produce. Maybe Mother Nature’s trying to tell me something…
4. Is It Hot In Here?
The first time I experienced a hot flash, it was in the middle of the night. I woke to find a puddle of sweat had formed between my breasts. It was weird and uncomfortable, but I managed to get over it by walking out onto my snow-covered deck for a few minutes to cool off. Interestingly enough, it took years – yes, years – of experiencing only occasional night sweats before I had a real heat wave hit in the middle of the day.
I was reading something on the computer at my desk – strategically placed between two blasting ceiling a/c vents – when it happened. First, it was my feet. Then, legs, hands, arms, stomach, and good Goddess, sweat trickling down my torso like I was sunbathing at a Burning Man desert festival. I fanned myself and checked the thermostat: 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I gulped some ice water and stuck my head in the fridge. It helped, but not enough, so without delay I stripped down and hopped into a cold shower. That was the ticket and my first lesson in the difference between night sweats and hot flashes. Both sucked, but the last one really made me consider investing in real estate some cooler climates. Like Antarctica.
5. Damn, I Love My Yam
I found out in my thirties I was allergic to K-Y Jelly. Not like need-an-epi-pen allergic. Just uncomfortable enough to not want to use it since it made me itch. Then my midwife-friend/herbalist turned me on to Vital “V” Wild Yam Salve before Netflix’s sitcom Grace and Frankie made the stuff a popular product placement. Ladies. Aside from all the few natural, readable ingredients on the label, I’m not joking when I tell you this is the stuff you’ll want between your legs, on your toys, on your partner, and maybe in your mouth, but it’s seriously the best lube, EVER. Only complaint? Why in the hell didn’t I get to sample this stuff in my twenties? Think of all the itchy post-romps that were wasted…
Tera lives in a ticky-tacky little house on the hillside of suburban Denver, CO. She’s a mom, wife, blogger, fiction writer, and sometimes has to get a side-hustle to pay for these creative outlets. As founder and visionary behind MidlifeIt.com, she shares personal stories, tips, and facts about midlife, menopause, and beyond. She’s one of those brutally honest friends with wit, warmth, and a little fire to keep you moving. And she’s always got room for another sister to join her flock.