While at the cashier at Fairprice supermarket just now, I exclaimed at the $300 displayed on the register. The kind lady explained that my beauty products formed the bulk of the bill. (Half actually – how expensive can supermarket beauty products cost right? The other extravagance was ice cream. Bailey!)
The cashier took a second look at Mike and I and asked if we are senior citizens. My eyes lighted up. ‘How old to qualify for senior citizen discount?’
’60 years old,’ she replied.
‘Have to wait another few more years,’ said Mike.
‘To think I spent so much on my beauty products and you still think I look sixty!’ I teased her, and we all laughed.
Middle age is tricky to navigate. We are neither here nor there. It’s worse for women who are on the verge of menopause and never sure when it’s going to hit.
‘I don’t want to stock up on sanitary pads unnecessary. I want to keep just enough stock as I have no daughters,’ I told my classmates during a recent gathering.
‘There’s no way to tell. Mine stopped for 6 months and as soon as I gave away my sanitary pads, my period returned,’ One told us. ‘Better to just keep.’ Like forever…I thought.
I complained to another girlfriend that I have been waking up at 3am in the night. Could it be stress?
‘It’s age. I have no stress but I also wake up at 3-4am. No choice.’
And here I was hoping that waking up at 4am is a sign of my impending journey to becoming a real writer, as most writers I know wake up early and starts writing at 5am – Murakami for one.
Then, there is the constant feeling of heat. I feel hot all the time, but in the next instant, my hands can be freezing cold. Mike thinks I lack chi. Another friend tells me that this a sign of hot flush.
‘Doesn’t hot flush comes in waves?’ I asked.
‘Not necessary. You just feel hot all the time. Like when you are pregnant,’ said another experienced friend.
My friends tell me I would soon feel the emotional turmoil that comes with it, the tears, the irritation, the frustrations or just anger. I listened in horror. I have been experiencing this even without menopause all my life. Is it going to get worse? I read that yoga and mindfulness help and I have been doing as much as possible, exercising regularly and meditating. Yet, I am still irritated by the smallest stuff, and even a simple goodbye can feel sorrowful.
This too will pass – that’s the cliche saying we are now telling each other in our support to tide us through these tumultuous years. I certainly hope so. I really don’t mind skipping these years and jumping straight to sixty – the grocery discount sounds really attractive.