Muddling My Way Through THE Change Of Life


Seven weeks ago I had a hysterectomy. That it was necessary, even after more than a year of compounding symptoms that something was wrong, was news I did not take lightly. I got a second opinion. However, it turned out to be the same as the first opinion. Scheduling the surgery between semesters was my best option. So, just before Christmas, a surgeon-assisted robot removed my entire reproductive system.

That’s right, no pitter-patter of little Honies in my future. Whew! With two adult children, Loyal Follower and I are good to go in the kid department. I know there are women in their forties and fifties who have mastered the Lean In approach to life, but frankly, I couldn’t do 24/7 email, voice mail, texts from clients, co-workers, employees, employers, working lunches, and conference calls plus load my calendar with commitments to PTA and play dates. Add to that the whole kick-boxing/palates/yoga or spin class conundrum while the kids are at soccer/ballet/therapy.

No thanks.

Leaning into all of that can land a person on their ass. And what about the significant other? What happens when the one to whom you promised something or other until death do you part begins to feel not-so-significant? Then you have to lean in for counseling, custody, child support, their twenty-something “friend”.

Of course, I suppose it would be easier if I had a staff to handle the small stuff. You know, so I wouldn’t have to sweat the small stuff.

Yeah, whatever Dr. Phil!

This change of life business is loaded with snares and pits of self-loathing, because, you know, everybody’s doing it. Yes, middle-age gives way to old-age, and my god, we certainly can’t have that when there are so many age-defying products on the market.

What a great time to be alive!

Last semester I took a survey of Women’s Studies. I was the oldest student by FAR, but this did not bother me. What bothered me was the extremely low self-esteem of too many of my classmates. This severe condition seems to be brought on by a number of factors including one thing none of us are too eager to live without anymore, social media. Maybe the robot doctors who manage the sick care system in the future will determine a recommended daily allowance of internet use.

Will we have to purchase supplements for a digital dosage during those times when the WiFi signal is lost?

This semester I am taking a survey of Anthropology. Learning what it means to be human has really opened my eyes. For instance, today I read that my southern accent can be attributed to the humidity in our geographical location. That’s right, it turns out that the tonal quality of southern speech comes down to having a hydrated larynx. I’m telling you, if I can get a research grant to fund a study that proves humidity causes cellulite, I’m gonna make a major breakthrough in the discovery of a dimple reducing salve. It will of course be patented and marketed under the name Southern Fried Kudzu Butt Rub.

Happy Ground Hog’s Day everybody! Winter will be over before we know it.



30 thoughts on “Muddling My Way Through THE Change Of Life

  1. Well props to you for taking this in stride. I’m not there yet but it’s a bit daunting to imagine given what I hear so many women talk about. That said I was just talking to my dad tonight about how no matter how old we are to ourselves we’re still just…US! It’s strange to sit next to my 7 year old and think, “Wow, she thinks I’m old, and I think I’m just me!” Now I’m that Aunt, the one who’s supposed to be mature and sophisticated or something?? And my dad is in his 60s saying the same thing. I loved hearing Maya Angelou say on Oprah’s Master Class about being 84 (I may have the number off by a few) that you have to do it if you can. I guess every decade holds its own advantages and blessings even as they carry conundrums. 😉

    Oh how I wonder what’s going to happen with this generation and all of this social media. It’s certainly a blessing and a curse. Is it healthy to have so much constant contact with each other? To know everything without having to know much at all about another person??

    Great post, got me thinking. Cheers!

    1. I love it when people tell me a post got them thinking. That is a wonderful compliment. Thank you. I believe that social media is a tool, like a spoon or a shovel, one for stirring honey(Honie) the other for spreading shit. Each for their own purpose, in good measure, of course.

      1. Excellent analogy of social media, I agree 100%. I might add that it’s also like binoculars in the hands of the curious and the creepy. 😉


  2. Got a few laughs out of this one. (Did you know that if you measure the amount of energy tap dancers use in NYC and compare that to those in Austin, TX it shows that dancers in the south use no energy at all? And they’ve data to prove it – my mom’s work…we all laughed…especially when they offered her more money for further research. Do I ever love research data!)
    The whole social media issue is a serious concern – you are seeing the effects. They are beginning to sound the alarms about how smart phones are making us more isolated, harming social skills, and making people more self centered…more of all that? Not sure people will survive.
    Anyway, back to the hilarious. Glad you’re muddling in good humor and style!

    1. Good humor and style are necessary, aren’t they? I love that I can say “I don’t know” and not feel completely inadequate. I also like that I do know some things without having to google them. My friend, Frances, who is in her eighties says if she doesn’t know it, then it isn’t worth knowing. I want that kind of confidence as I grow older.

  3. I am glad to see you in the swing! I had that same thing, but I was 16. What change of life? Would you please work on the whole cellulite thing, hurry up I will be a test subject.

    Menopause? Piece of cake, cakewalk. Been there for 41 years now, they tell me I am peri menopausal every year when they check. I don’t know what that means.

    1. Peri menopause, I am convinced, is a made up term to sell hormone replacement Kudzu Butt Rubs and supplements. I wish I had all of the time back that I’ve spent sitting naked on a table waiting for doctors to show up for our appointment. I hope this is the last of all of that, truly. I’m ready for a cakewalk!
      I’ll let you know when the first batch is ready for testing.

      1. I took supplements for 90 days, then the demon in me told all the doctors to leap high and land hard on sharp objects. Thus the peri for forty plus years.

        I will taste your first batch with a side of really good Tequila which I find cures hot flashes.

  4. I hope you are recuperating well. It also seems like a no brainer to a westerner like me that the reason southerners and easterners have better skin(and now I know voices) is the moisture they live in, so what’s so good about being out here?

  5. Finally! A use for Kudzu besides hiding pick-up trucks driven into ditches by drunken louts. No fear, the child bride had one of those “H” thingy’s a few years ago. She finds it convenient for blaming “the change” for all of life’s tribulations. No one can argue anatomy with her at least. The now impossible third kid was replaced with more dishes, curtains and linens, and gardening. She’s out on the lanai changing the diapers on some petunias as I type. But I have to go, I’m taking a survey of Pool Lounge Chairs 310 and I’m almost late for class.

    1. No fear is the only way I operate. It’s all smooth sailing from here. I just have to be sure not to tie my dingy to a sinking ship. Good luck with class! I bet you make the Dean’s list.

  6. That’s actually fascinating to learn about Southern accents. I wonder how you explain a Boston accent? Or a New York accent? On a similar note, how is it that the French have such a beautiful language but are rude as hell?

    Or so goes the stereotype.

    You’ve made me think today, Honie Briggs! Always a dangerous proposition…

    1. Actually the University of Miami study didn’t specifically cite Southern accents, just high humidity locales on the planet. The researchers, so the article states, “studied 3,700 languages and found 629 languages with complex tones. Most were found in tropical regions, throughout Africa and Southeast Asia, but also in some humid regions of North America, Amazonia and New Guinea.”
      I simply inferred, as I tend to do, that the rolling lilt of a southerner’s tone could be attributed to this discovery.
      Thinking is good. Do I smell smoke, Mr. Petruska? 🙂

  7. “hydrated larynx”—Who knew? Always teaching me new things, you are. I wonder what I can blame my nasal, monotone voice on. Must be those Midwest temperatures.

    I’ve read articles about what social media does to people’s psyches. As an introvert, I find it much easier to interact online than face-to-face, but still, after many hours throughout the day of checking in, I need to shut things off and just step away. Get both my eyes and mind away from the screen. In this day and age, where most everything is done via computer, that can be tricky to do.

    Hope your recovery is going okay.

    1. Recovery is going pretty well now. It was a rough go for a few weeks, but I had the six week post-op appointment last week, and it looks as though I’m good for another 100,000 miles. I think your writing voice is anything but monotone.

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