Menopause and the Year of Loving Intently – A Reflection

I’ve written about self-care a few times, and I anticipate this won’t be the last (“God willing and the crick don’t rise”). For some, the term “self-care” comes across as cliché or “soft,” but for those of us in pursuit, the concept, and more importantly, the benefits of practice, are not. Prioritizing my needs and well-being (and yes, wants) are practices I’ve slowly become more comfortable with over the past decade.

Triggered by the start of perimenopause at 43, fueled by COVID-19 at 47, compounded by the murder of George Floyd (where we all witnessed that neither my Black son’s life nor mine actually matter), and necessitated by a vestibular condition at 48, that continues to regulate my physical and emotional responses, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY…my self-care journey continues.

I’ve learned that an excellent self-care practice — only deepens and evolves. It does not end. To this point, my 2023 ended much differently than it began. If you’d asked me this time last year what was in store for the year ahead, I would’ve been limited in imagining the course it would take.

Living in the present and traveling outside the US were foundational themes for 2023. They led me to my first sailing excursion, my first trip to Aruba, and a transcendent retreat in Bali, which I continue to reflect on and make sense of weeks later.

I tried Acupuncture for the first time and attended a sound healing session. I meditated (more) and ate plant-based meals that were delicious (even without cheese). And I stopped my enjoyable but passive habit of drinking a tequila shot every day (a carryover from pandemic days).

In December I celebrated my 50th year with the visceral understanding that my health is my wealth, and it’s my responsibility to manifest the happy and healthy longevity I envision. No one else can do this for me.

Self-care requires effort, commitment, and the courage to be uncompromising in managing your boundaries. Those who don’t understand it WILL judge you and create their own narratives. They are not your concern. Do not let them distract you.

Put yourself first and move with positive intent. Make 2024 a year that you prioritize loving and caring for yourself — on purpose and unapologetically. Because as Zora put it,

“If you’re silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” 

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