Chapter 1

 

Middle Age: The Time Crunch


Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
—Will Rogers

 

Women often bemoan the fact that menopause takes so long. Menopause can last 10 years—from age 45 to age 55. Therefore, a good chunk of it takes place during middle age—that phase in a woman’s life when she’s considered to be neither there nor there. Not that middle age and menopause need be joined at the hip or even spoken of in the same breath. But they usually are, and there are many hand-in-glove links that make both the process of menopause and the state of being hang together. The greatest of these links is one of time. Women just do not have time for menopause.

 

But while they don’t even have time for marking the start of the process, pharmaceutical companies, governmental planning sectors, and nongovernmental organizations with health initiatives can’t wait for it to begin. And so it is that in most publications, age 50 defines menopause and hence influences most of our perceptions about it. The truth is that because no one knows when menopause starts or ends, since as an event it can be defined only by the prolonged absence of another event, menopause cannot be neatly wrapped and filed away. Menopause can be both a blessing and a watershed for many midlife women, a time when they can come to terms with the life they have known and with the life they look forward to. Yet, as though the physiology of menopause, with its accompanying mood swings, irregular periods, and flushing, is not enough of a burden to shoulder, most women are already hard-pressed to accomplish all they need to do before they can even get to bed—never mind dealing with sleep disturbances.

 

As much as menopause is a nuisance, it is rarely a life threat. In fact, most women sail through without any serious problems once there. However, the process does get muddied when added to all the other constraints that beset busy women. As the bulk of the baby boomers are now set to “go through” (in North America, they are turning 50 at the rate of one every 15 seconds), the issues around menopause are intricately woven with the issues around time and how it is used—a fact that explains the reaction to my first article about women in midlife being constantly tired. Clearly the message hit a cord. The response was instantaneous; women were banging on my door, and the phone rang off the hook. Part of the reason for such a response may have related to my suggested willingness to document stress-leave qualifications for my patients, but mostly it reflected an acknowledgment of what many women were voicing.

 

Turning 50 at the rate of one every 15 seconds, the bulk of the baby boomers are now set to “go through.”

 

Time, like the sword of Damocles, hangs over a number of my patients. It feels ever present and unpleasant. The more they try to get out from under, the more they become trapped. Time management, time for yourself, time off, time-out, down time, quality time; we have come to live in bits and bytes of time and, universally, the lament is that there is not enough of it. This lack and dread is perhaps the greatest pressure that I see midlife women struggling with—trying to make time for everything they have to do.

" Middle age used to be a 
waiting room;
Now, it's a supermarket."
--Dr. Jean Marmoreo

The New Middle Ages is filled with the insights and compassion to navigate the middle years.

Such as:

Your body and menopause
Recharging your sex drive
Taking care of your heart
Parenting your parents
The roller coaster of raising teens
Starting a new relationship
The mini mental health exam
Changing jobs

 

The New Middle Ages is filled with the insights and compassion to navigate the middle years.

Such as:

- Your body and menopause
- Recharging your sex drive
- Taking care of your heart
- Parenting your parents
- The roller coaster of raising teens
- Starting a new relationship
- The mini mental health exam
- Changing jobs

 

"Middle age used to be a waiting room;

Now it's a supermarket"
--Dr. Jean Marmoreo

Dr. Jean

Marmoreo

 

Doctor. Writer. Athlete.

Advocate. Adventurer.