Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Putting old age to good use

I am entering that time of life where anything can happen. I could wake up feeling energetic and hopeful. I could feel old and worn-out. I could feel young and delightfuly hip. I could feel out-of-touch and out-dated. I might watch Nickolodeon with my son or spend the day complaining about the screechy voices on all kids' cartoons these days. I might consider dyeing my hair some vibrant new color or I might spend the morning examining the sudden growth of grey at my roots.

I read articles about middle age and peri-menopause and some days I feel grateful that so much is known and understood about the workings of the female body. At other times I wonder if women aren't being conditioned to expect symptoms they might never have noticed otherwise. Or maybe it's all just a great way to explain the everyday things that happen as we age and deal with the stresses of everyday life with bodies that are no longer firm, tough and energetic.

The one symptom that I can take comfort in laying at the door of hormonal fluctuation is forgetfulness. According to the article I read today, never remembering the word you are looking for is not necessarily an indicator of senile dementia, it could just be hormone fluctuation. They recommend that if you can't remember the exact word for things (around here, I just say "refrigerator" if I don't remember the right name for something) then you should really stop multi-tasking. No reading your email while talking on the phone. That might be a good suggestion but I think I can come up with some other ways to cut down on the multi-tasking.

No cooking dinner while trying to answer the teen's questions about school subjects that you thought you never needed to remember. Yes, you will need to use algebra again, although it won't be until you have children in school taking algebra. You shouldn't try to put up curtains while holding two pet rats whose cage is being cleaned. And you definitely shouldn't be saying "yes" to anything the teen asks you while you are on the phone with the bank trying to clear up some discrepancies in your balance sheet.

This is why I say "refrigerator". It means "mom's brain is out to lunch and she's not going to give you any useful answers". I don't know if I am having actual symptoms of peri-menopause or if I am just tired of being a reliable resource. They are just going to have to learn that if "refrigerator" isn't the answer, then maybe the question isn't worth asking.