July 18, 2008

Men O'Pause

My friend emailed me a couple of weeks back, "I think I'm going to lose my job - I can't remember anything. I look at the page and all the words look like one another. Nothing is making sense." An elder woman at the pool tells me she had to quit her job at the University - she had no idea what was wrong, but suddenly a very competent professor was rendered incapable, and was so stupefied by her failing intellect that she resigned. My friends and I grasp for words that remain elusive and use words that are nonsensical in their place. We forget we said we would call one another, leave the stove on until we remember dinner is ready by the feint scent of burnt.

We are menopausal.

If you haven't been there yet, just wait. If you've survived, send me your number.

I am blown away. I hear that this phase of confusion and forgetfulness passes. I'm always afraid to ask how long that takes.

Men, don't expect the 40-somethings in your office to let you in on their suffering. It's not exactly a selling point. You can't really add "don't get lost again on the way to work" to your job description. And a project lead that suddenly forgets the names of her team members isn't exactly an A-player.

I was talking to a friend at lunch earlier this week about how it feels to be blindsided by this rite of passage each of us has earned - a time that is supposed to find us in our prime, but not before it knocks us to the ground with a staggering case of amnesia.

My friend said she was longing for the day when there would be a 'maternity leave' at the other end of the fertility spectrum. An infertility leave, if you will. An egg loss sabbatical. We made great plans for getting through this phase of 'the change,' and had a great lunch. And best of all, we laughed.

Now, if I could only remember who I was with....