If you are a woman between the ages of 45 and 55, you know the significance of twelve successive months with no period. It means, according to medical experts, IT’S OVER!!!
And for me, January 29, 2023 was the day. Exactly twelve months before that was the first day of my last period. There is no way I could be pregnant, so this is the day I’d been waiting for since I was twelve years old!
I remember the day of my very first period clearly. I was visiting my grandmother for two weeks the summer my parents moved to a new house in New Jersey. My grandmother lived in Walla Walla, Washington. I'm not kidding. I felt so far away from my family and friends. My grandmother slept late every morning, but I was still on East Coast Time, so I woke early.
I got the shock of my life (until then, anyway), when I went to the bathroom and saw blood. I knew what it was, but I wanted it to happen at home, not in Walla Walla! I didn't even know how to tell my grandmother what had happened. She was like the old lady in the Sylvester and Tweetie cartoons, seeming blissfully unaware of any drama or upsetting situations anywhere.
I picked up the upstairs hallway phone and called my mother in New Jersey. It was 1979 and long distance phone calls, in the words of my parents, "cost a fortune". But who else could I talk to? My mother was surprisingly understanding about my situation and my calling long distance. She asked if there were any "supplies" there.
"If I were home," I thought, "I would have that starter box of supplies all of us sixth grade girls got from the nurse at school during our 'girls only special meeting' a few months back. Why couldn't I be home?"
Then I remembered my twenty-year-old cousin was staying in Grandma's house for the summer. She was usually out at her summer job, so I didn't see her much during the days there. I looked in the bathroom, and there was everything I needed, thanks to her.
Fast forwarding forty years and two children later: my periods began to get strange and infrequent. Before January 29, 2022, it had been ten months with no period, and I thought I was almost there, but, alas, my “ladies’ time” appeared. Before that, it was, I think, five months, and before that, another ten. It was a weird and unpredictable two years in the period department, which I understand is normal for gals my age.
So now that it's 2023 and my "monthlies" are over, what's next? Do I let my hair go gray? Do I start wearing pantsuits with matching hats? Do I learn a craft involving yarn?
Do I have to enjoy The Golden Girls now? Sorry, but that won’t happen. My kids would call this a “hot take”: I never found that show funny. Good theme song, though! I know it was a hit song before that show began. You know why I know that?
BECAUSE I’M OLD!!!
But not really. My dad is still alive, and I don't have grandchildren yet, not that I’m putting any pressure on my kids to give me those. I just mean I don’t feel old yet, not that there’s anything wrong with being old, whatever that means these days.
I look forward to my golden years, should I be blessed to live long and healthily. I am already exercising more in the past few months and trying to eat healthier foods so I can enjoy the years to come.
I want to be a fun old lady who’s having fun. And I want to look like this:
But, if I don’t get to travel around the world and/or wear a sombrero, I am content to be this lady:
Or this tough lady on a train:
For now, I’ll be happy not to have to worry about “that time of the month” for the rest of my life! Absolutely no more “visits from my Aunt Flo”! Bye, Flo!
____________________________________________________This story was originally published on Medium.com.
About the Creator
An older Gen X-er, my childhood was surrounded by theatre people. My adulthood has been surrounded by children, first my students, then my own, and now more students! You can also find me on Medium here: https://medium.com/@becklesjm