The View from Yesterday

So far this menopause thing – if that’s indeed what this is – feels a lot like adolescence did.  Unreasonably emotional. Angsty. Itchy. And my clothes fit better than my own skin does.

I’m not at all sure if the words I hear myself speak belong to me or that other woman I live with. Yesterday, I couldn’t remember how to spell the word narrative. I second guess myself at least twice,  endlessly reviewing decisions I’ve made or conversations I’ve had to see if I did or said what I meant to.  I’m tired almost all the time which is probably due to the fact that I wake up several times during the night, often sweaty, sometimes anxious, and once in awhile – both. My skin is blotchy, my eyes are almost perpetually bloodshot, and at times, you can find me somewhere at the end of a trail of tears.

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Adolescence wasn’t my best time, and so I’m a little afraid of these new symptoms which make me feel  just as awkward as I did at 13.  At least this time around, I have life experience enough to understand what’s probably happening.  But although this knowledge gives me a wee bit of an intellectual edge, it truly does nothing for the emotional side of me or my body which seems to be powered only by some sort of inconsistent hormonal surge.

The view from yesterday doesn’t sound especially hopeful, I know. But thankfully, it isn’t yesterday or the day before that, and today feels a little more like I belong in my own body. Today’s clarity enables me to look back at this week that was with a better understanding of who I am – at the moment –  and what I  need.

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I feel  humbled a bit by what I’ve been living through and in several short days, may have learned to be gentle with myself. Forgiving. Kind. And Patient. Compassions given to the rest of the world but mercies I somehow neglect to grant myself.

I feel like I’m growing up all over again, and it’s a little scary because it wasn’t all that easy the first time around.  Life tends to bump and bruise our self-image a few times along the way and menopause, I’m learning, won’t be any different.

But like the New England weather I live with, I know now that if I wait a minute – or a day or two – the weather will change and life will feel sunny again.  There’s hope in that forecast. There’s hope in accepting exactly who I am today, right now, this minute.

Because the view from yesterday won’t be the view I see every day.

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The Power of 27

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27 is my superpower.  27 transforms me into a somehow better, stronger, more capable version of myself.

And isn’t that what a superpower is all about?

Think about Clark Kent and Superman.  Batman and Bruce Wayne. Superheroes with superpowers.

I wonder if they know the power of 27?

Several years ago when living in the chaos and never-ending pile of laundry that comes with raising four boys, I found the FlyLady.

FlyLady Marla Cilley discovered that one path to less stress and greater life enjoyment comes with establishing routines, making work fun, and Finally Loving Yourself enough to banish clutter and chaos from your life.  Here’s a link to FlyLady.

I’ve used several of Marla’s ideas off and on over the years, but one especially – 27 Fling Boogie makes a regular appearance in our home.  In Marla’s version, you turn up the tunes and dance through your home with a trash bag tossing 27 items that need to be thrown away.

But  trash clutter isn’t my arch enemy. I do battle with all the everythings left behind and out of place. I need to put stuff back where it belongs – and after a long working week, almost nothing seems to be where it belongs.on Saturday morning.

So in flies 27.  After putting 27  (and only 27  ) errant belongings away this morning, I rescued my kitchen island and safely landed several dish villains in the dishwasher.  Peace is restored to our very own Gotham City.

Why 27?  I’m not sure. The power of 27 is a mystery, but it works. A Goldilocks number – not too many, not too few – just right and do-able.

27 gets things done.

Life-saving? No. Sanity-saving? Yes.

It works. With kids and toys. With laundry. With paperwork.

Try it.

And if you can get your partner to do a 27 too — you’ll be a dynamic duo  with double the superpower.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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I often finish a tough day or work week in the kitchen baking something or other.

Baking soothes me, grounds me, and stills the swirl of mental activity filling each Monday through Friday. I feel so much comfort and warmth in baking,  and there’s memories to remember or begin. This week, I pulled out the speckled, cobalt blue batter bowl we bought this summer at the Vermont Country Store. When I did, I walked the streets of Weston, Vermont again – a  mid-week vacation just after quitting time.

I bake to find the predictable.  It somehow reassures me that a cup of flour measures the same every single time, and a teaspoon will forever be smaller than a tablespoon.  I know what to do.  And I love that someone’s telling me what to do. That I have no decisions to make. There’s a list. There’s order. Directions are clear, straightforward, and concise.

Baking leads me out of my mind, and I love to find my senses again.  To feel the sweet, sticky weight of brown sugar. To smell vanilla’s sultry scent.  To see the eye-pleasing pile of sifted flour. There’s something honest about flour, and I find simplicity in salt. I enjoy the pleasant clink of my battered, old aluminum measuring spoons.

I even enjoy clean-up. There’s productivity and a special sort of moving meditation with my hands in a sinkful of hot, sudsy water. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Stack. Easy. Simple. Mindless. And freeing.

Basics like flour, salt, chocolate chips, vanilla, brown sugar, and butter are always in my kitchen, and I’m always a little surprised at how their combination transforms the singularity of each ingredient into a collectively magical something delicious.

Something I can share. With my family. My friends. And you.

Here’s the link to the recipe I used this week:  PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES 

Best ever. And by request … I’m making more tomorrow!