Lux as a pup
Today I had a long cry. I hadn't had one in years. It began with an innocent question that my husband asked me which somehow pricked a hidden psychological boil filled with frustration about menopause and my health.
When I was in perimenopause and going into full menopause, we were working at our clinic and doing all the other life stuff around the edges. I had to- or felt like I had to- push through to whatever I had to do next for our home or business, and how poorly I slept or how foggy my brain was wasn't relevant.
So today, just a year or so late, I cried and cried and grieved my old self who felt strong and able. I finally accepted that I wouldn't "get back" to anything and that there would be a new normal emerging. My body will be a different shape. My energy levels will need more attention. I seem to now go to bed at 8 PM and get up at 5:30. This is rather different than my previous 10 PM to 8 AM schedule. Norah the dog really likes the earlier times.
Most of what came out was frustration and some sadness. I have done my best to take really good physical care of myself for decades and had held the fallacy that menopause wouldn't be that difficult for me. It turns out that not having children made my female body not as good at changing phases of life. I am doing a ton better than I was, and have found good practitioners and a collection of supplements that are helping a lot. It was like I had not had the energy to face the feelings before. I felt so much better after I cried.
+ We are moving to Montana and I'm getting a puppy!
We closed our clinic late last fall. Our lease was up, and it didn't make sense financially and stress-wise to keep it going. We were lucky to have helped a lot of people and were ready for something different. We have loved Montana for a long time, and both of us love the mountains. We previously lived in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho as a couple, and I was raised in Alaska. We are hopeful that the winters won't freeze us. The rest of the year though, and the rivers and mountains, we are so looking forward to. We chose Missoula for its proximity to great fly fishing and the cool vibe. I remember when my husband came back from a seminar there years ago and told me, "Missoula is a cool town. You would like it." It has a small, vibrant, and artsy downtown and it sits where five valleys and three rivers meet. It reminds me a lot of Alaska in that the people respect nature in a way that I have not found anywhere else in the lower 48. It is also the only other place that I have seen Xtratuf rubber boots prominently displayed in shoe stores. Add that to the mountains and my beloved husband and very good dog, and this whole moving away from Alaska idea is working out.
And the puppy! We helped my last male German Shepherd go in December of 2019, and have been an only dog pack since. Norah is seven now and the perfect age to have enough patience for a puppy while being able to teach excellent house manners. I am SO EXCITED. I have been waiting a long time for this, and he should arrive in mid to late June, depending on Mother Nature's whims. As we are packing our house to move I am making a Puppy Pack with the little harnesses, toys, and leashes that I have from past pups. I absolutely adore raising puppies and teaching them about the world and how to have fun and learn new things. It is positively enchanting.
Bonus: Swedish Death Cleaning!
As part of our moving process, we are Swedish Death Cleaning. This is inspired by the book of the same title, and there is also a TV show and a very active FaceBook group. The central idea is that you get rid of all the things that you wouldn't want your loved ones to have to deal with if you died. But you can do it any time. We are going through things that we have owned for 30+ years. We have donated 34 boxes of books to Friends of the Library. We have sold furniture and clothing and donated boxes of kitchen items. We have looked through photos and read old letters. We have faced our collection of Fine Cooking magazines (no longer in print), let them go, and lived to tell the tale. The drama! The relief!
It was difficult at first. Belongings can feel like security blankets. We talked about what we felt drawn to do more of, or not. I kept my sewing, jewelry, and watercolor supplies. Dean kept his fly fishing, music, and acupuncture things. Norah is keeping all her things- she did not participate.
Sometimes feelings take a long time to resolve. That's normal and there is no 'right' timeline for emotions. When they do arise, do your best to let them move through and dissipate like the weather. Talking and writing helps.
Big changes feel, well, big. Both positive and negative changes cause stress. The regular advice about keeping communication clear and breaking down big tasks into bite-size chunks applies. Also lists, lots of lists.
Letting go of things you don't need, enjoy, or are obsolete feels freeing after you get the hang of it.
Did you hear I'm getting a puppy???