This perimenopausal part of life is not only a harrowing hormonal gauntlet, it’s the time of life we begin to wonder if what we’re doing is sustainable or desirable anymore. The changing hormones really do usher in a midlife crisis. Our parents are getting older and having more health problems, our kids (if we have them) begin to challenge us in ways they haven’t before, and we begin to see people our age getting sick and sometimes passing away. In short, it’s a freaking LOAD, and we’re having to hold all of this while going through these intense physical issues and tumultuous mood swings. The question for all of us at this point becomes: how do we find our mooring in this funhouse, with the ground shifting under our feet and (let’s face it) the mirrors reflecting distorted images of who we once were?!
It’s an individual puzzle for each of us. It’s doable, but it requires finding each piece by trial and error and putting them together to build a new foundation for the rest of our lives.
I’ve been working on this puzzle for 3 years now. I met “Perry” at 43. It took me awhile to figure it out (and I’ll learn more as it progresses) but a few critical puzzle pieces, for me, include making sure I’m not vitamin deficient (and I was – turns out zinc and D3 are really important for hormonal balance), doing hot yoga or some other very intense form of exercise to regulate my nervous system, and engaging in EMDR therapy (because crap I thought I’d wrapped up years ago suddenly rose up and clobbered me).
But the most important piece of my perimenopausal survival puzzle might be a bit surprising:
My whole life, prior to children, I was a singer and for much of it, a singer-songwriter. Once I had kids and became a therapist, time (that precious resource) became scarce and I ended up throwing my creative baby out with the bathwater – for way too long.
When the perfect storm of perimenopause/midlife crisis/loss of a dear friend/#metoo movement and the world feeling freaking bananas arrived - it was simply too much. It was like the seams of my psyche just burst.
Music had been a means of expression all of my life that I had been cheating myself out of for years. I was simply not demanding the time I needed to fortify myself creatively or spiritually, and as a result, there were gaping holes in my foundation. So when the storm hit, I was swept up in the gales. Instinctively, I launched myself back into music, as if my life depended on it. And maybe it did in some way.
What is the thing you might have left behind in order to further your career or take care of others? Maybe it’s not creative. Maybe it’s spiritual or athletic or academic. Whatever the case may be, find that thing now, and begin to dip your toes in.
It’s scary to begin. The first time I played an open mic during my creative resurrection, I was playing in front of really good musicians. It was terrifying. But, I pushed through it and found “flow.” Flow is a term used in Positive Psychology that refers to an activity which requires a skill or talent we’re somewhat confident in, but that also raises the stakes on that skill or talent. Somewhere in that tension, we find flow (or if you prefer, “the zone”). The more I write, the more I play, record, and perform, the happier I am. It’s my natural anti-depressant. I’m now 46 and just released my first single.
The song, Splinter, is about what we’re all going through, sisters. Music is a youth-based arena and I live in LA; it’s been GD challenging. But, I’ve found that for me, curbing the mixed tone of panic and world-weariness (if not blatant despair) that is so indicative of this part of life, requires me to be in flow as much as possible, and to continue to take the risks that growth requires.
You can follow Abby’s midlife creative resurrection @abbywolfmusic on Instagram.
Check out her single Splinter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMqKYfvzxDU
Itis now available on all streaming platforms and can be downloaded from ITunes or here: