Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Midlife crisis, menopause, or something else entirely? What is going on?

After law school, I realized I didn't like practicing law.  I tried to go back to research but that door was firmly shut on me.  So I work in the legal profession.  And sometimes long to go back to science.

Days and hours have been spent dwelling on regrets, the past, and nostalgia.  It hurts, is a waste of time, and the present gets lost.

A few years ago I started to have panic attacks.  Full-blown.  I start to shake, my vision goes wonky, my breathing gets rough and my chest hurts.  Bouts of depression are becoming frequent.

In 2014, I had a two-position anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.  What that means is that the C5 -C6 were fused AND the C6-C7 were fused, meaning these were cleaned out, the disc removed, bone removed, and the vertebra were fused together.

In 2017, I had a one position anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at the C3-C4 position.

My energy levels have crashed, I gain weight easily, and now I have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

My skin is more blotchy than ever, it gets red and angry without the usual triggers.

And I will be 50 in November 2017.

The future looks bleak.

I could let the darkness take me.  That would be easy.  Become more and more debilitated until the simplest of movements hurts beyond reason.  Allow the depression to close on me again.  Slog through each day just waiting to get back in bed to sleep.

I could do that....

OR I could do something else.  

The following is stated with sarcasm and skepticism.  After reading multiple blogs, magazines, and other non-scientific articles, it seems that I can:
       -- Pump up my energy with supplements
       -- Solve my rosacea through colonic irrigation
       -- Get gastric bypass and all my issues will disappear (Kudos to those that got this and did well, I            know too many people that have problems for this to be viable for me)
       -- Eat my way out of depression
       -- And a ton more that I don't want to list.
End sarcasm and skepticism.

OR I could try something new FOR ME:  Taking care of myself, everyday.

Here is the catch:  I am almost 50.  Over the years, I have said this, I am going to take care of myself.  And it ends with nothing.  Sometimes I do well for a short period of time, then !BAM! right back to what I was doing before.  So why would I think I can do it now?  Can people change habits?  Are these habits or is how I treat myself ingrained or malleable?  What does it take to change?  Can change that was initiated outside myself (ex. bribes or a trainer) lead to lasting results?

Above are just some of the questions I have.  I am not about to start yet another blog having to do with weight loss.  I want to answer questions about myself, explore research in nutrition, exercise, genetics and biochemistry, and just be.  No more "I want to lose XX pounds before YY."  No more "I will never eat XX again."  No more fighting in my head, no more "bad/good."  What I want now is to spend the rest of my life asking questions, about myself, about others, about how we got here, and about how we let go.  No shame, no guilt, and no delusions.  I am almost 50, I am okay with making progress rather than getting to any particular point.

The first question I am exploring is: Do I want to do this?  And by this, I mean take care of myself.  Really taking care of myself is about eating better and choosing more nutritious foods, cooking more and exploring not only techniques but also the science behind cooking and eating, getting up and out or exercising more, not just exercising but adding activity all day long.  Taking care of myself involves more than eating and exercise.  I am going to explore relaxation/stress reduction, hobbies, social networks, and how I relate to my work/home life.  Taking care of myself means looking at my relationships and figuring out how I may be sabotaging them.

S do I want to do this?  Do I want to put in the work?  What if I do everything "right" and I still end up decrepit?  Or what if after a year, I look in the mirror and thing "that's it?"  Can I keep going?  Even if I want to do this, do I have the internal ability to keep momentum going?  Can I do this and not obsess about weight (really important this does not turn into a weight thing)?

And if I do want to put in the work, then I need to explore what is holding me back.  That is not just a psych question.  It is also about the microbiome, current physiological profile, and other factors no one ever discusses.  

Let's say I do want to do this, I am highly motivated.  I have to come to some kind of internal acceptance that if I live long enough, I will still be old.

For today, I want to do this.

What exactly is this?  I will be blogging about current nutritional advice, science, and weirdness.  I will be looking at and trying out some of this stuff.  I will talk about exercise science, exercising, and complaining about exercising.  I will be using myself and my SO (kind of) as guinea pigs and testing new research on us.  I am going to really learn to cook.  I am going to get outside.  And I am going to write down whether I hate it or love it.  And I will record all of it here.  Or at least most of it.  And there might be pictures, maybe.

Next post:  Questions explored.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Time to start

Start what?  Finding myself, finding what I want to do with my life, find the things/passions that make me tick, finding my purpose, finding my usefulness.  People are going to look at me weird.  At 46, you are supposed to know these things.  You spend your 20's discovering yourself, your 30's having a family and your 40's...what, I don't know.

I am taking voice lessons.  I am now involved in local theater.

I want to learn to drive a motorcycle and see if I want to buy one.  I want to drive a 1967 Mustang.  Okay, maybe those are just shallow, mid-life crisis kinds of things.  Or maybe they are things that fit with my personality.  Wants and desires I have tamped down for 19 years so my ex wouldn't see me as shallow.

Here is where I will talk about my path.  Do all those things to create the life I truly want.  I will dream here, share my experiments, be playful, be reckless and fearless, question all my old beliefs, and ignore reality in favor of my own brand of fantasy.  My own transformation.

Why this urgency inside, why am I pushing so hard?  Because right now, I am anxious, sad, confused, terrified, unfulfilled.  Right now, I hear from people and my own head that I am too old to be doing this, to be searching, to be acting like this, to want or have desires.  Right now, I am terrified of making the wrong move, of finding out that I am not good enough or strong enough to actually become the person I want to be, or even being able to financially keep myself alive.  Right now, I ache.  I sit alone at night, after the family goes to sleep and wonder what the hell happened and how am I ever going to make a life from these scraps.

And right now, I am grateful.  Grateful for this opportunity to discover myself, to pull out my strengths, to find the person I can be inside of me, to build a world where I am creative, beautiful, and wonderful.  To find out how to love and be loved by friends, family and lovers.  Right now, I am on my knees, with joyful tears in my eyes, praising the universe for sending me here and providing me this time.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What to talk about?

So not going to talk about law or law school.  I thought I would start blogging my progress to become a new woman.  And to attempt to get my life back on track after a rough decade.

Learning about myself.  I am trying to pay attention to not only the talking going on in my head, but also my emotions, likes, etc., to relearn who I am.  You probably have absolutely no reason to want to know this, but I have found the oddest thing.  Hard rock music makes me hot, totally.  I never really noticed before (how the hell did I not notice?).  Even more TMI, I have had a fairly bad sex life for over a decade.  Okay, now I am single and I am learning more about this area of my life.  And the only I can think of is "I learn this NOW?"  I mean, why now?  I am not planning on having sex again, possibly ever.  I know that I can, but the last decade was so disappointing, I just don't want to deal with the extra baggage.  But I love hard rock, so now I spend a significant percentage of every day turned on.  The worst part?  All these women that talk about not having a libido after menopause?  Well, in my family, the women actually get an increase well into the 70's.  I think that's why so few of our men live past 70.

Sharing, it's such a novelty.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Holy Attrition Batman...

I am leaving legal work.  Why?  Why in the world am I leaving a field that I spent 3 years and over 100K to be in?  And you know it's the debt that makes me feel the worst about leaving, right?  I feel like I should at least stay in long enough that the debt is completely paid.  Not happening.  After the debacle of the law firm, I tried to stay in the area.  Very bad idea for staying in law.  Too small of a market, no IP firms, and little IP work.  Add to that, anyone with experience is not going to hire a patent attorney with as little experience as I have.  I stayed for the husband.  

Well, I am getting a divorce.  So I sit back and kind of laugh at the...is that ironic?  Maybe.  So what am I going to do?  Honestly?  Spend about a year to two regrouping.  Figuring out where to go and what to do from here.  Find my purpose and become the person I want to be.  I don't want to make any huge decisions now.  I have already hit so many.  Leave the husband...check.  Get out of law...check.  

So now I will work in science, teach and try to maintain my sanity for a bit.  Maybe blogging about it will help.  A middle-aged woman, newly single, having to deal with everything on my own...Huh, maybe a older Mary Tyler Moore situation is brewing here.  I mean, just wait until I start talking about dating and middle-aged sex (if I ever get any).  Could be interesting.

Stay tuned, this might turn out better than I thought.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Untouchable

When you are let go (forced to resign) from a legal position in a smallish town, the folks you knew at that firm stop calling and emailing.  It is nothing personal, it is a fact that no one wants to admit.  I am now tainted.  Others in the legal world are still talking to me, in fact, a few are helping me to get back on my feet.  But those I counted among friends, not close but not just acquaintances, are not going to keep in touch.  I thought this was a possibility as I left the building.  The one that hurts the most is a partner that had been a kind of mentor did not even contact me after it happened.  That is simply cowardice on his part.  He has nothing to lose to talk to me.  Or maybe there was something I did that led to his cutting ties.  Ah well, it was not a close relationship so it is not very painful.

If you have been let go, you understand this.  If you have recently been let go, try not to worry about this aspect.  It really is not personal.  Many of the associates you worked with are afraid.  They are afraid of the reason for your departure, afraid that they to may be let go.  And they are afraid that if your departure was for personal reasons, if it were known that they were keeping in touch it may lead to partners seeing them as disloyal.  Loyalty is important to many attorneys, especially in smaller firms.  Unfortunately, loyalty can lead to blind allegiance or loyalty can be interpreted by the higher-ups to mean associates must have a "shut up and take it" attitude.

And finally, associates are simply busy.  I was there, I remember.  I barely had time to check in with my husband, much less worry about friends.  And that is the saddest part of being an attorney.  I did not worry about maintaining contact with friends, even though I did try.  But I cancelled so many meet-ups and spent so much time away that I am now having to reestablish my network.  Old friends that have been with me for decades are the easiest to repair.  Newer ones take more time and nurturing.  Now consider if this had been decades instead of 2 years.  Think about what an attorney sees when she or he retires later and looks around.  Will friends be there, will that spouse, that child remember you?  I understand better today than I did a year ago about work-life balance.  Work-life balance, sounds so cliched and hackneyed.  It's not really work-life balance, in law there is never really a balance.  But attorneys need to remember to maintain some semblance of a life outside of the law.  Because it is almost impossible to create one after dedicating decades to the law.  Friends are harder to make after age 30.  Friendships, relationships die without attention, not a violent death, but one of simple neglect coming over a long period of time of little real attention and love.

Ug, I sound like a weird hippie guru.  But all of the above is true.  Unfortunately, the ones that will suffer most are women.  I am not a typical female.  I was a tomboy, a nerd, a women's rights advocate in the 80's and consistently having more "male" tendencies than female.  Exhibit A, movies.  My husband would be content watching independent films and heading to all the film festivals around the country.  Me?  If something doesn't blow up in the first 15 minutes, I'm bored.  We compromise, one of mine for one of his.  Even so, and even though I am not as social as many I know, I also understand that I need companionship outside of my spouse.  My husband, not so much.  He has me and 2 friends, one of which he sees every 3-4 years and it is always like they have never been apart.  Me, I realized that I need friends during my first year as an associate.  I needed people around me that loved me for who I am, people I didn't feel in any kind of competition with for projects, accolades, etc. (admit it, you are in competition every day with the other associates, for the more interesting projects and for good attention).

Anyway, the point of this is that over the next couple of weeks, I am spending as much time as possible repairing any of my damaged friendships, as well as neglected family members.  I will not break one engagement, except for illness (really, who wants a friend to show up sick? but then I might be a bit of a germaphobe).  I will listen more than I speak.  I will ask, I will remember and I will try my best to be the kind of friend that person needs.  Oooo, sounds a little stalkerish :0

Will post more often, now that I have a few things cleared up.  Maybe I will even regale you with tales of renovations by a novice (we have a ton of stuff in the basement that could make this house much less 1960's and that's 1960's in not a good way).

Have a lovely day and call a friend.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So much, so much

I no longer have my job. I am not going into the details, except it was sudden. I am not unhappy, not really. It is a job. I am grateful that I am of that attitude. I can't imagine if this had happened in science, then I believe I would have rend and worn sack cloth. But now, I am merely resigned. The good. Time to recuperate, regroup and determine where I wish to go from here. Time to get everything around the house in order. Time to think about whether I want to continue blogging here or anywhere. The bad. Our budget is blown to smithereens. We moved because of this job, we have serious debt and two households. Rent covers part of the bill in the other state, but we must continue to pay here. And then the student loans. So in toto, I basically have 3 mortgages. Furthermore, this area offers little in my specialty, which was one major reason I was afraid to take this position in the first place, though I had little choice. But I refuse to be upset about this. I refuse to allow this to worry me. There are so many people's situations that are much worse. Students that left school with no job prospects at all, also laden with student loans. And I am beginning to believe that this may be the best for me. It has forced me to truly think about what I want out of a job. And I can't go back to the kind of work required there. I did not get into this to be involved in law other than IP and I was right. I find corporate law repetitious and dull (and I know plenty of folks out there would hate patent law or pull their hair over the nonsensical complexity of copyrights). I am somewhat more interested in litigation, but do not have the personality for it. As pointed out by others, I am too clinical, wanting to find the right answer and that simply takes far too long. Here is what you shall find here, if anyone is even still checking this site. I am going to blog about the ups and downs of job hunting, including attempting to create a position (with a place that I believe would be match with my personality pretty darn well). I am going to blog about what it means to go from not worrying about finances to watching every penny that goes out the door (we are already struggling with whether to give up hulu plus and netflix, which only comes to about $16/month, but is still an expense). And I am going to blog about my journey to overcome and use my ADHD to my advantage, rather than continually trying to deny it. It's there, I take medication for it. And now, I can move past that and deal with the everyday issues that have been a constant battle. Part of blogging about ADHD will also be blogging about my health, losing weight and exercise. Turns out exercise and eating right are important parts of taking care of ADHD. So sit back and have a little helping of Schadenfreude watching a silly little lawyer attempts to win back her pride, confidence and footing in the world (though I hate to tell you, I am not really into self-pity and all that crap) ;)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Happened to Working For the Weekend

Oy it's Sunday. I worked yesterday (a Saturday). I will work today (Sunday). And I feel sorry for myself. JUST KIDDING!!! I have a ton of work and that's a great thing. Getting it out on time is important, to maintain the reputation of a good worker.

Although I will be an IP lawyer, I perform a number of other legal services (HA, that sounds so prostitutional). Getting through some of these is difficult because of their first time nature. I have many first times. It would be nice to have a second and third so I feel like I know something. At a first-year training, I asked a partner about when we start "knowing" something. I get to look forward to 3 years of discombobulation.

One day I hope to have a hobby.