I hated turning forty.
I hated it.
When I was younger, forty sounded ancient to me. Everything about it sounded saggy and tired and falling backward into an existence where fun was no more. And the footwear would be horrible.
I didn’t make my peace with my age until I neared the end of my forties. I realized a few years before turning 50 that aging was not only not so bad, but that I was having more fun than I had in a long time. Maybe ever.
I not only didn’t mind entering my fifties, I looked forward to them. I like this age. I like who I am. And that is very nearly true
I am beyond new wave. I am past post modern. I did the math, I am post post post modern.
At least that is what I’ve been telling myself after hearing the word “post” used to describe me earlier.
My doctor’s office called with results of my recent blood work.
Nurse: The doctor wanted to let you know that your thyroid levels are normal. And that your (insert some combination of letters here) levels show that you are post menopausal.
Me: Wait, what? I’m…what…like in menopause right now, right?
Nurse: I said post.
Me: What levels say that?
Nurse, who apparently had stuffed her mouth with lemon rinds: Garble garble whisper.
She answered again in what I assumed was Klingon. If the Klingon was from Mobile, Alabama.
I didn’t say anything for a moment and tried to wrap my head around it. Post menopausal? Post?
Nurse: The doctor says to follow up with your OB/GYN and talk to them about hormone replacement therapy.
Post menopausal? That’s not even possible. I mean, I just started this shit.
Okay, I didn’t just start, but it wasn’t that long ago. I mean, when my uterus started acting up a few years ago, I had it burned out. I haven’t had periods in forever, so it I knew it wouldn’t be easy to tell when I was menopausal, but I didn’t think I would be done and finished this fast.
For fuck’s sake, I was still battening down the hatches for when the hormones drove me completely insane. I am just now getting regular hot flashes. Isn’t that the shit that happens during menopause? Isn’t that shit supposed to take years?
I didn’t mind turning fifty, but hearing the words “You’re post menopausal” hit me like a ton of denture cream.
Post menopause just sounds old to me. I wasn’t expecting it.
I mean, if I am finished with it, then it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not saying it’s been a day at the goddamn beach, but I thought the hot flashes would feel like I was being consumed by holy fire or something. I thought I was building up to that. I thought my night sweats would become epic and my crying jags would be, well, more jaggy.
I suppose instead of being bummed, I could just be grateful. I guess if I’m bypassing all that bullshit, then I should be breathing a sigh of relief and not throwing an internal hissy fit over being post menopausal. I mean, seriously, choosing between going through menopause and not going through menopause is like choosing between boiling puppies and kissing Norman Reedus.
I’m not entirely convinced the blood work was accurate. I have no reason to doubt the doctor, nurses, and trained lab professionals other than I wasn’t prepared to hear that and therefore they must be wrong.
Now excuse me, I have to go shop for some sensible shoes.
Editors Note: This essay first appeared on Michelle Comb’s blog Rubber Shoes In Hell as Post Post Post Modern on March 22, 2016.