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Menopausal Zest and Blogging Me!

Since first grade, I’ve loved to write.  I began with stories for my dolls, moved on to to articles for my high school paper, and then published books for kids and adults.  In 2006, I began studying for an MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  I relished the work I did for this degree, from the critical essays to the picture books to the novel I completed as my final creative thesis.  I graduated on a cold January afternoon, warmed up and ready to take on the world with my newly honed skills.

Then wham!  I couldn’t write.  I didn’t write.  My mind spun with negative thoughts about my talent and my future as an author.  I hit a wall of self-doubt and discouragement.  For a year, I barely composed anything but emails and grocery lists.

Like the sky opening up after a morning of gray clouds, my despondence lifted a year later.  Soon I was at the keyboard again, pounding away, working on a new novel.  That’s when I put it all together and figured out my year of self-doubt was brought on by the hormonal roller coaster of menopause.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead was the first writer to refer to the zest of a woman who has gone through The Change.  And I won’t be the last, that’s for sure.  Soon, I began to feel more creative, more energetic, more upbeat, and more open than ever before.  Zest is the perfect word for this new stage of life.

This zest inspired me to start blogging about menopause. I want women to know that The Change of Life can stop you in your tracks emotionally.  I’m sharing information and tips about the physical side of menopause too, from hot flashes to night sweats to insomnia.  But the best part is telling women about the zestful, creative life on the other side!

My blog, Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause Roller Coaster, enjoys an enthusiastic readership, and I’ve been happy to share those posts with talkhealth. Along with blogging, I write children’s books and poetry. I share a 180-year-old house in Hillsborough, North Carolina with my husband Cliff and collections of everything from antique toys to buttons to picture books. I have two grown daughters, and I’m the grandmother to one adorable baby boy.

Barbara, USA