Twenty-one at Fifty-four: On Being a Menopausal Millennial.
Have you ever sat fully in the moment, teetering on a sharp blade, fully aware of being profoundly present — wondering if you are living a parallel storyline or path not predicted, not destined, but accidentally claimed?
The world is chaotic and painful, glorious and terrifying, and large… yet we spin around our own heart centers, trying to figure ourselves out and how we fit into this play. I find myself sitting here wondering, feeling, not fitting in, not identifying with my age group. I chew on and ponder aging, imagination, freedom — on being age 21 at age 54. Being a menopausal millennial.
I have made it to age fifty-four.
At times through crawling, at times through running, stumbling, skipping, dancing, rolling, falling, shaking, tripping, jumping, sliding, swinging, flying, but mainly through one step at a time, I am still here.
“I am not young enough to know everything.” ~ Oscar Wilde
And it is weird. Now that my kids are grown and parents have passed, I find that I am back to age 21, starting fresh. Twenty-one was the fork in the road and I made a decision, took a direction that was terrifying and glorious, one that took me through the blood and guts of life with intense responsibilities that didn’t allow me to experience the twenties’ years of exploring and trying independence.
This is not about anti-aging or mourning the loss of a young body. I love these achy bones and sagging skin. I am definitely physically middle-aged! Menopause demands humor. And it creates a character in the mirror that you recognize — not as your self but as your parents.
No, this is about emotionally, lifestyle-ly, identifying more as a millennial than as an Oprah-loving woman in her mid 50’s. A menopausal millennial.
Living as a creative as if there is no other choice, and shedding self-imposed guilt. I am new to this independence, new to choice. No longer the rock and the glue trying to hold it together. My metaphoric skin is shed, and I am feeling anew. Drinking out of vintage cups. Intertwined in the past, present and future.
So yes, I feel as if I am a twenty-something. With a science degree and post-secondary up the yin yang. No benefits. No dental. No car. Not owning. Living day to day. Hand to mouth. Nose in book. Always online. Collecting. Inspecting. Investigating. Inquiring. Demanding to live creatively. Exploring new possibilities. Laughing too loudly. Moving too fast. Thinking outside the box. Living DIY. Sharing process.
Living with hope, with anxiety, with the ups, the downs, the sideways, the prickling joy of Why not, invisibly oriented, demanding freedom, demanding identity, a survivor, scarred, alive with possibilities and choice. Daring. And now very very hopeful.
“I’ve lived out my melancholy youth. I don’t give a fuck anymore what’s behind me, or what’s ahead of me. I’m healthy. Incurably healthy. No sorrows, no regrets. No past, no future. The present is enough for me. Day by day. Today!” ~ Henry Miller
Katarina Thorsen is an artist, a creative engagement and therapeutic art facilitator, and a ‘craftivist’ passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections. Kat specializes in arts-based programming for all ages, in particularly engaging at-risk populations. The heart of her work is visual storytelling and facilitation. Her interactive art events and street art encourages participants to become part of the creative process. Kat’s own artwork can be found in private collections in North America and Europe. She published her first book, Drawn Together: Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art, in 2013. Her next book is a true crime analysis in the form of a graphic novel. She has won the Woman of Worth Award (Humanitarian of the Year) in 2014, and the City of North Vancouver Civic Youth Award (Outstanding Supporter of Youth) in 2010. Kat resides in Vancouver, Canada.