“Can we tawk?”

I once introduced myself in a networking group by saying that I support women who believe the only way out of their overwhelm involves a plane ticket, a wad of cash, and a change of identity. All the women in the room laughed and/or cheered; most of the men looked at me blankly.

The more I work with women my age (I just hit 53), the more I realize how rarely we have productive conversations—with other women and with the men in our lives—about how our bodies and our lives are changing.

Ha—yes, who’s got time for that, right?

Well, we do seem to have time for a lot of unproductive conversations on social media, where there’s a whole secret sisterhood ready to complain vociferously about the same symptoms and situations we are suddenly facing—an interminable, grueling #metoo list.

I thought I might spend the next few weeks (or longer?) at least trying to start a more constructive dialogue about what can feel like an especially difficult time in our lives—like puberty, round 2—now often referred to as peri-menopause, which often starts in our mid-to-late 40s but sometimes even earlier.

not you?

If you aren’t in the woman-over-40 demographic, I hope you’ll hang in there anyway, and here’s why:

  • Older women, I invite you to contribute your own wisdom in the comments—we may just be the village someone younger is looking for.
  • Younger women, I hope that by hearing about our experiences, you can in your own time breeze through this stage of life—feel free to ask questions in the comments.
  • And men, I hope you can get some insight into what we go through and contribute some comparisons and contrasts from your own experiences, especially now that “manopause” is now finally being acknowledged as “a thing.”

participation counts.

I really do want this to be 1) a dialogue, and 2) productive.

Please join the conversation by starting or replying to threads in the comments or chiming in on Facebook or LinkedIn, where I always share my latest posts. If you’re shy, send me an email with your comment or question, and let me know whether I have your permission to share it (anonymously, of course).

the more the merrier!

For this to be a lively conversation, I’d love it if you could share this post with your “tribe”—send someone the link by text or email or share it on your social media platforms. There are some social sharing options below this post.

let’s get started.

My first question for you is: What (if any) curve ball/s did your body suddenly send your way when you turned 40ish? And if nobody responds, I’ll have to riff on my own experience….


  1. Susan Westhoff

    I had pinching pain in my left hip which turned out to be early onset arthritis. At 42. I know understand, through physical therapy, how to stretch that joint and keep the pain somewhat at bay…however I was very surprised my body suddenly had pain moving in ways that used to be normal.

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Susan! Guess what I’m doing this week? Getting a baseline x-ray on my right hip…specifically because I might have the same. Glad to hear PT was good for you since that’s likely in my future, too!

  2. Suzie

    Almost like clockwork, I started to slow down. I mean, I used to bolt and now I sort of meander. It’s fascinating to notice that in my mind I’m sprinting (and even managing the arm movements), yet the rest of my body is not following!

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      That’s a great way to describe the mind-body disconnect!

  3. Sonja

    40ish I was freshly divorced with to young girls. I knew I had a lot of youth left but did I want to get involved with a man? Sexually I think I was in my peak, physically I lost weight during the divorce so in a sick way I looked good according to the way men look at women. My daughters and my friends held me up through it all. Men were paying attention to me which at first I thought odd. Couldn’t they see that I was divorced? Uh I quickly learned I had a new found maturity, confidence that I didn’t have when I married 17 years prior. That is what men were attracted to. 40ish was a wonderful life time right up through 50. My vision changed slowly for the worse, I got type 2 diabetes. I did fall in love twice more and now at 58 I am married to a man 14 years older. Boy did my body/mind change after 50. Menopause gave me a run for my money. Here I learned doctors do not know everything and that if I wanted to feel good I needed to figure it out. Only listen to advice that made sense and learn about my health issues along with the doctors advice! I’m smarter, calmer and can appreciate the simpler things in life now. I learned how to understand men and women. That was another surprise! Men are simple, women are not. Before at a young age I believed this to be the opposite.

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      So many amazing “nuggets” in your comment—I especially love that you came to realize that ultimately, YOU are the arbiter of what works (or doesn’t) for YOU. I hope you’ll check back in the next few weeks and keep sharing your wisdom.

  4. Audrey Groeschel

    I felt betrayed by my body. I have come a long way since then but I spent years hating myself for being unable to physically move the way I had always moved, lost flexibility, sagging, forgetfulness, neck wattle, my Goddess, the hot flashes! I realize now that my hating on myself and my body was the cause of all of these symptoms. In a way, it was a great healing experience and one I am very grateful for now. I would have loved to have known you then to help guide me through all of it, just glad I know you now!

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      Awww, Audrey, thanks. You ARE the goddess now—and I love that you see the process now as a gift! I like to think of it as embracing our crone-hood, but maybe I should take a page from your book and think of it more as embracing our divine feminine!

      1. Audrey Groeschel

        I think we have lost a great deal of the honoring of ourselves as women. We don’t look at the stages of our lives as a moment to honor where we are. We just look at things as a hindrance to getting on with our lives as a whole. We don’t allow the honor of puberty and changing into a woman, the mother is not honored for being a mother and the woman as a whole is not honored for much besides getting things done or the fact that she can bring home the bacon and cook it up in a pan. The divine feminine needs to make a comeback in a big way. We need to honor each other, and ourselves, during the stages of our lives.

        I think embracing the crone-hood is brilliant actually. I love that. Have you read Goddesses in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen? Great book and maybe something that can add a bit to your teachings.

        The other thing that occurs to me is that I still struggle with accepting my “weakness” in some ways. On the other hand, I am learning to embrace my Queenness and allow myself to be taken care of without excuse that I “need” it at all but just because I deserve to be honored as who I am.

        1. Elizabeth Baker

          Thx for the recommendation—sounds like a perfect read for me!

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