The last 36 years have just been a diversion

Contemplating, as one must at my age, the menopause (I shall be fifty this year, so it is something of a hot topic—pun intended), I happened upon a new angle from which to consider this transition: as the end of a temporary state, during which one’s true personality has been submerged. An article on the Guardian women’s page (where else?) quotes one Jane Polden, a psychotherapist: “She’s felt overwhelmed, controlled almost, by this hormonal surge … and now it’s draining away, and she can work out who she is, and who she wants to be.” The fertile years have been a distraction. It’s an attractive idea.

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My father in law said something similar at his 70th birthday speech: he was glad to have passed into old age (except he said it more gracefully). Maybe 50 isn’t so old.

Brian Aldiss has a nice short story about selecting an astronaut crew for a (long) Mars mission: they were all to be old men (this was in the old days when astronauts were naturally male) with their hormones burnt out.