Search the Internet for menopause and you will find a myriad of advice, products, old-wives tales, horror stories, plucky and gutsy articles on how someone climbed Everest or conquered the world in one way or another.

Baby boomers are a strange lot in some (or maybe many) ways. Not for us (as many of the previous generation did) to meekly accept everything we are told by our doctors, mothers, fathers et al. We want The Truth and we want it now! And if we don’t like The Truth, then we find a way to change it.

What is the truth???

We see ageing celebrities and peer closely at their pictures to see how many wrinkles they have… sagging breasts… thinning hair… bags under eyes… or do they look as they did in their early forties?

Easy for them we say, they have access to plastic surgery, personal trainers, personal chefs and loads of money to buy the latest anti-ageing products.

What about us – the majority of the female population in the relevant age group? How are we supposed to deal with this dreaded word? Will our husbands still love us or will they want to trade us in for more toned and lithe younger women? Will we be able to change jobs or do we have to stick it out in a job we dislike in case nobody wants to hire a wrinkly dried up middle aged woman?

This all sounds like doom and gloom – and to some women perhaps it is. The purpose of this article is not to boost your morale and tell you how great it will be to have sex now without the worry of becoming pregnant. That even though we no longer have smooth skin, we have maturity and worldly knowledge and should be held in high esteem etc. and etc. and etc. That menopause is the greatest thing to happen to you since who knows what. As Scrooge said Bah humbug!

The plain truth is that for most of us, menopause is a huge change. Perhaps not all of us experience night sweats, soaking the sheets in the dark hours. Perhaps not all of us have hot flashes or flushes and want to rip our clothes off just to get some relief. Perhaps our memories are still as sharp as ever. Perhaps our skin has not thinned to where we have to be extra careful scratching an itch. Perhaps we have not put on any extra weight. And ladies, this list is not complete!

Before you go and leap off a tall building, wait, there’s more. More good stuff I mean!

We will all go through menopause. There is nothing that will stop us getting older by the year. But… there are many things we can do to stop ourselves ageing in mind and body.

Accepting that even someone like Cher is not going to look like she did when she was 20 is a good start! Sophia Loren continues to look amazing without adding the dreaded words ‘for her age’.

We don’t have to buy into the idea that there is nothing we can do. We can enjoy the fact that we can speak our minds more now… we’ve been around long enough not to care if we are outspoken. I don’t mean we can tread all over another person without regard for their feelings. We can say what we think and not be bothered that someone might think us eccentric or odd. Hooray for being odd I say!

We can eat well, healthily, with occasional treats and not feel deprived. We can exercise for our bones, our health and to get that toned look that so many younger women just don’t have, relying on their youth to look good. I, for one, am continuing to improve my water skiing skills (I learned to water ski in my early fifties when I married for the second time and moved lock, stock and barrel to live with my American husband in the US! We are now living in South Africa and we both ski between three and five times a week at Hartbeespoort Dam); I am also working out with weights three days a week and I walk six mornings a week for half an hour each time.

We can remove the emotional baggage that we have been carting around long enough. Regular massage, reflexology and other energy therapies such as EFT can alleviate any physical discomforts and remove stress. Our children are now off our hands - as much as children are ever off our hands! At least we don’t have to spend hours in the sun cheering them on at swimming galas, going to PTA meetings and making peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch bags.

We have more time for ourselves – and we can use it wisely. Catch up on the reading we never did, weekends away with our husbands (it’s never too late for a spot of romance), mostly taking time for ourselves. Find a new hobby… take up belly dancing… perhaps do a bit of volunteer work with a cause that we have always wanted to get involved with but didn’t have the time.

Here’s an idea for you to think about. Ever wondered why so many women get breast cancer? As women, we spend our lives pleasing and nurturing our husbands, our children, our grandchildren and our parents, especially as they age. All that nurturing going out of our bodies and minds. We want the best for everyone… but ask most women what they want out of life for themselves. The answer is often a resounding… I have no idea.

So… next time the florist asks are these flowers for someone special, resist the urge to say no they’re just for me and say YES! Gift wrapped please!

When someone asks you about a weekend away you are planning, resist the urge to say my husband works so hard… he deserves it – and say yes we both deserve this break away.

Getting your menopausal life in order and enjoying yourself is not difficult. We just need to focus on the fact that there is life after menopause – and it’s as good as we want it to be!

Author's Bio: 

Maureen Cram has many years of counselling experience, from LifeLine Counsellor to Agony Aunt to thousands of South Africans living overseas via her weekly newsletters. A qualified EFT therapist, she specialises in helping women with weight issues, menopause issues and nutrition. She also has great success with helping animals… from horses to birds and anything in between.