Healthy Aging During And After Menopause
By: Lillie McKinney, LPN Posted on May 15, 2017
How did I get into menopause? I feel like I was just sixteen years old and getting my driver’s license! Did I not just reach my twenties, when I got married and started nursing school? Wasn’t I just in my thirties with small children? And then my forties busy with teenagers? The fifties flew by, and I finally made it to sixty and some days I feel like the past has wistfully flown by.
I am sure we all ask ourselves these same types of questions when we reach menopause. I have made it here and now have to figure out how to handle this new stage of my life.
The New Post-Menopause Era for Women
My parents use to call these years the “golden years,” but why you might ask? My perception of the time period after menopause is much different than the women that proceeded myself and many of my peers who are thinking or experiencing retirement and slowing down. Now we are working mothers, grandmothers, and even working great-grandmothers. I find my time is not spent sitting back and watching life from a distance, but up and running, literally!
My brain still thinks that I am still in my twenties, but my body sometimes betrays me and reminds me I am not 20 anymore. Sometimes circumstances come along that cause you to take a bigger role in helping with your grandkids. You may still be quite active in the workforce in your 60s and beyond, trying to get to retirement and thinking, is there a resting point to this seemingly endless highway? Will I be able to enjoy this stage of my life and still help my children and grandchildren get through their hectic schedules? I am working as a nurse by day and in the evening I am taking the ten-year-old grandchild to soccer practice, and taking the two-year-old active grandchild to the park, and finally squeezing time in to helping my sixteen-year-old grandchild get her driver’s license. Sounds like a lot of questions, some overload, but luckily I found some answers and help.
Women: Putting Themselves First
Thankfully, I get to work with Dr. Holly Thacker and listen to her wisdom that I wish I had access to five to ten years ago when I was starting on the menopausal and postmenopausal journey. The thing that sticks with me the most is when she said, “Imagine when you are on an airplane, and they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on the little ones.” This is to save your life so that you can help save others. So, I decided that I was going to start taking care of myself first, so I can be able to keep taking care of my loved ones. I started doing things that Dr. Thacker recommended, specifically for me:
- I underwent a comprehensive women’s focused evaluation.
I came to realize that it is time for me to start taking care of myself and NOT feeling guilty about it! As women, we take on the weight of the world, and the weight of our families, but we need to be our own best advocate.
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Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
-Lillie McKinney LPN