Why Women Shouldn’t Fear Menopause

Photography by Masha Svyatogor

Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it. – Brigitte Bardot

Can a woman still find love in her fifties or sixties? Does age determine what path shall we take in our lives or is it as said just a number? Should women fear the menopause or should they on the contrary embrace it? When do you think life ends, when you stop breathing or when you stop having a dream for which you would long to breathe?

All these questions and more cross my mind almost daily and I know that their answers differ from one woman to another, certainly that’s what I see at least from women I encounter, and I as well see how women’s lives change majorly from one to another according to those beliefs and from the different experiences one have seen I’ve managed to compose my own answers that led me to one thing, we, women, should never fear menopause, at least don’t give it more than it deserves.

I realize we all know about the hormonal changes women go through at certain ages, the decline in female sex hormones that cause all the disturbances felt by an aging woman and how men, unlike us, suffer less decline in their hormones and consequently less psychological alterations but come here and tell me why on earth are some women convinced that by the time they hit that age, they are useless, who told them that who let this in their minds. How come can no one scream in their faces, hold them tight and shake them if necessary and say “Wake up from this ignorance, you’re still breathing then you still matter. Period”. No matter if you’re ten, sixty or hundred, it’s a life rule.

I have dealt with women at this age that have lost their dreams long ago and whenever I mention the possibility of pursuing their dreams now, with a hopeless look and voice tone, they reply “for what, I’m too old now.”

And I wonder sometimes, if I’m in their shoes, broken by life a million times, would I still believe in what I myself say, would I still want to give life another chance, would I or would I turn just as hopeless and woeful as they seem. I ask myself this because I know it’s easier to “talk” than “do”  and because as Harper Lee said “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”, so I do but I find myself replying with the same belief I have and I see as well stories that make me sure I’m believing in the right thing.

I see women continuing their education and re entering college because that’s what they want, they don’t consider what some might say that they’d be the oldest class because they know this doesn’t matter as long as in the end we’ll all be the same and I see women starting their dream jobs especially at an old age because it’s only then they realize they have nothing to lose and life is too short and we shouldn’t spend the rest of it moaning on the past and it’s defects no matter what. And I’ve seen women getting married too late because they say that they felt happy for the first time and for the first time they felt in love and finally living and that’s the love they have been looking for their whole lives. They don’t mind to “when” they found it as long as they have “found” it in the end. They don’t think, as some unfortunately might, that a woman loses her femininity to wrinkles on her forehead, neck and skin or by age dark spots or even by weight gain and low metabolism because they know that for a woman to be a woman it takes much more than this , it takes strength and spirit and boldness and mind and belief in one’s tolerating power that discriminates women in a way so different than that of men.

I remember what Julianne Moore said: “The thing about 5o is that you have clearly reached a point where you have more of your life behind you than ahead of you and that’s a very different place to be in.. You’re thinking, “I’ve done most of it”. I don’t like that feeling. But it makes you evaluate your life and go “am I doing what I want to do? Am I spending my time the way I want?”

That’s what I think too, Julianne. No age determines our life but our attitudes and ideologies do.  If you think you can still make a difference if you just have enough hope that only you shall accept or not, then you shall make a difference but if you close the door stopping hope from entering your heart.  It’s hard for menopause to be accepted in your life by any means or any terms other than it’s just age of depression as we call it.

So it’s your call to a great extent, as I believe to choose your path in life I think, to choose to rise or remain buckled where you are, crippled with malicious thoughts.

Mariem Sherif is an Egyptian medical student who believes that words can heal a wound, that in each and every one of us there is something special and that in details lies another great different life for those who notice.

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