I need to make a big confession. It’s February 10th and I am scrambling to make Valentine’s Day plans for February 14th. Usually I would have booked dinner and/or event plans at least a month in advance. Last year, I even knitted a XXXL sweater for my partner in addition to the dinner plans! This year, nada. I haven’t even bought a schmaltzy card. You may be thinking: why is it her responsibility to make Valentine’s plans, not her partner’s? And that’s a great question for which I do have answers. We live in Toronto, my home town, and my partner is new to Toronto, so he’s still not familiar with all the venues. For us, a pretty fair distribution of labour is for him to buy me flowers and for me to do the date planning, which is something I love. But not this year. Valentine’s Day in my late forties is not the same as in the past.
I do have a new excuse – beyond the general busy-ness of life – and that is I am having major hormonal flux and decline. It started about 5 months ago and boy, I am feeling it a lot more this month. I’m 47 going on 48 and my hormones are way up and down and I am deep in peri-menopause. February 14th is also going to be close to my period so I can expect to be in a bad mood too as most of my hormones will be at their monthly low.
Great – it feels like all the cards are stacking up against me. But I have a fantastic tool that will turn everything around. And I am sharing it with you: Awareness. Just being aware that my body’s physiological changes are getting in the way of Valentine’s Day is a very important shift in my mindset. It helps explain why I’m procrastinating and why I am feeling less nurturing. Awareness can help me accept myself and communicate to my partner. I can tell myself that it’s not my fault and it’s entirely normal. I can tell my partner I love him more than ever but that my nurturing hormones are off-kilter.
One of the first signs of peri-menopause is declining progesterone, the nurturing and loving hormone. Our ovaries stop producing progesterone first and one symptom is intolerance. You know that funny habit your partner has and that you thought was so cute when you were 28? Now at 48, you just want to grind your teeth about it. This is absolutely normal. We can’t act the same when we don’t have our full complement of hormones. But we can act with love, empathy, awareness and communication because we are in our forties, fifties or sixties and have spent decades building these awesome character traits.
I’m going to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day because I am going to use my fantastic tool of Awareness and accept whatever the day brings. And, I won’t even blink if my partner forgets to buy me flowers. I’ll talk to him about his declining hormones, tell him I love him more than ever, and we can bask in our declining state together.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
I sent this blog article to my partner and his response was:
“Don’t make any other plans for after 6:00 on Tuesday.”
I guess I’m buying the flowers this year. Morale of the story – that’s how we make our declining hormones work for us.