Not only is Autumn one of my favourite seasons (right up there with Spring), it is also a wonderful time to be experiencing life. Like the leaves on the trees which turn golden and brilliant red, the autumn of my life has brought a change to how I look, feel and think and I am thankful for it on the whole. There is an older face in the mirror these days (and my hair is going grey under the dye) but with each change has come life experience and usually a good lesson. I am more ‘aware’ than I was in my younger days when my children were born and my life was in springtime with nappy changes, school runs and the busyness of a young family. At my age, I have seen it all (or at least a huge chunk of it) and I value my life experiences regardless of the challenges. I am tempered by a wisdom which I hope has made me a better person and one which I can share with my own children as they become parents.
I realised I was heading for the menopause when hot flushes started creeping over me at 3am (and I couldn’t blame my husband!) and with those moments came the days of hormonal changes which often leave me washed out, irritated and wondering what the heck is going on. My monthlies are no longer monthly and I have to accept I am getting older. This wasn’t easy in the beginning and there are still days…
I went through a stage of using better face products (better meaning more expensive with more elaborate promises!) in the hope of stopping time but I quickly realised embracing this change in myself wasn’t a case of ‘letting myself go’ but, in fact, it is a natural change everybody goes through and which men get away with so much easier *smiles*. I did try growing my hair out, stopping the 6 weekly dye cycle and going grey for a year but found my grey consisted of a splash on the crown of my head which looked as if I had been in an unfortunate accident with the nether regions of a seagull and so I went back to dyeing the thatch rather than wearing a hat everywhere (including once when answering the door on a particular day where hormones got the better of me haha)
There have also been changes mentally, some good, some not so good. I think every human being needs something to believe in. I am not talking about being part of a club or religious organisation but having something to soothe the soul. Like everybody else I have searched for the elusive ‘happiness’ formula and I have come to realise it isn’t about having a bigger house, a more expensive car or more money. It is about what is inside and how you deal with that. For me this was making sure I meditated daily, my use of natural products I make myself and the joy and satisfaction of finding a nature centred spiritual path which suited my needs and lifestyle. I eat mindfully too. That means giving my full attention to my food and not eating in front of the television but instead paying attention to what I am tasting and how it makes me feel. Think Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love where she eats her asparagus and eggs in silence and appreciation for the moment of doing nothing but that. I started to be more mindful of those things around me, taking time to inhale the air and stopping to pay attention to the little things such as a flower in bloom or watching a bird build its nest in my garden. It is my time to breathe and it is joyful. It brings me so much comfort.
I wish I had discovered it years ago when I probably needed it even more.