It is interesting how threads from various ideas come together eventually, at least they often do for me. As I was thinking about doing what I love and rules in art, I was also reading about perimenopause. Stay with me here because they do come together in the end.
Since I am a woman in her forties (okay late 40s if I'm being truthful) and a medical librarian, I have been looking for a good book on menopause/perimenopause. The years before menopause, when we get the familiar signs that it is coming, are called perimenopause - for those who haven't heard the term. I look at most non-fiction books from a librarian's perspective. What are the writer's credentials and experience? are there footnotes to current peer-reviewed research? Is it a reputable publisher? etc. I looked through the shelves at my public library and took out some likely candidates to read through. One has especially been good - The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup. It started right off with her describing her feelings of irritability with everyone around her, which is what I've been feeling quite a bit lately. It was wonderful to know I was not alone in feeling this way, and reassuring to know it was my hormones in a wildly fluctuating state.
Dr. Northrup writes that the change in hormones changes the wiring in our brains. All the hormones for nurturing that we need for child-rearing are no longer affecting our brains the same way, so we can now focus on new things. As she writes (on page 19)
" Our hormones are giving us an opportunity to see, once and for all, what we need to change in order to live honestly, fully, and healthfully in the second half of our lives."
Doesn't that sound like a great opportunity.
She ends chapter 1 with :
"Take advantage of the clarity of vision that is the gift of menopause, and use that gift to let the second half of your life be truly your own."
The reason this comes back to loving what you do is because during the last year or so, even as I've been getting irritable, I've found myself more productive than ever at work, and more willing to try new things with my stitching, and now I'm weaving! Never mind the riding lessons. Luckily my husband is very encouraging and even offered to go to Vermont so I could take a class at Eaton Hill Textile Works - where they are weaving the silk lining for the jacket at Plimoth Plantation. (alas, the summer classes are only for dying, not weaving, but then again.....)
So now I'm looking at perimenopause as a time to take a good look at what I want to accomplish with the next half of my life. I want to fill the time with activities I love and people I love, and as little cleaning as possible.