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    « Toddler gratitude | Main | Introducing Grilled Grandma Cindi »

    Pfizer's rally cry for women: 'Return to You'

    As I venture into life’s second act, the effects of the inevitable transition mount. Many of you likely know the drill: I get cold more often then I used to, then I get hot, then cold again. My weight has increased while my memory has decreased…or disappeared altogether at times. I’m a wee bit more crabby, or weepy, some days. And periods by which I could once set a clock are now the most undependable event on my calendar. My mind has become undependable, too, or at the very least, foggy with occasional moments of zero visibility.

    I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in such things. Women my age are destined to have such experiences, I’m told, as well as the need to focus on our hearts and all things that keep it healthy. The concerns can be overwhelming.

    One of the perks of such menopausal or perimenopausal unpleasantness is that it forces us to accept that we’re getting older, which is a good thing. For while there may be no way to ignore our age, no way around it, there is indeed a way to embrace it.

    As we accept we’re getting older, we realize time is relatively short for doing exactly what we want to do, being exactly who we want to be. A lucky few may have succeeded at being themselves all along, but I wasn’t one of them. Maybe you weren’t either. Many of us weren’t—and now is the time for us to connect with others facing the same challenges in reaching our full potential.

    Pfizer is encouraging women to share our “Return to You” stories, our tales of circumstances causing us to refocus on living healthier, happier, better lives. Here is mine:

    Once upon a time I was a boss. I ran a department. I managed staff. I was a newspaper editor. An editor who edited and rarely wrote—a far cry from the writer I’d always considered myself to be. But hey, I was the boss, and for a short while that made me happy.

    Then the economy tanked, my department was cut, and my staff and I joined the ranks of the unemployed.

    I searched for jobs, applied for jobs, finally came within inches of an awesome new job—as a boss. There’d be decent pay, great benefits, staff to boss. But no writing. Again, a far cry from whom I really was, who I really wanted to be.

    The day before the final interview for that great job, my head ached, my stomach churned. My gut was telling me the great job wasn’t all that great. At least not for me. I had to make a choice: go for the job or listen to my gut and get back to being myself.

    I listened to my gut and cancelled the interview. So much for decent pay, great benefits, staff to boss around. But that was okay because none of that mattered, not to the me I was returning to.

    What did matter was writing and making at least a smidgen of money at it, of course, as the balance in my bank account mattered, too. It was a risky choice to make, but it was the right one for me. My husband thankfully agreed and supported it regardless of how tight it might make our finances.

    And tight it has indeed been. Yet despite the stress associated with making ends meet, I feel less stressed than ever before. Sure, there's still that whole perimenopause thing going on, but by returning to being me, I feel younger, more vibrant, more vital, more healthy. I readily accept challenges and opportunities I’d let slip by in the past. I eat better, and I exercise more.

    Making a conscious decision to return to me led to me being better than ever—physically, mentally, spiritually. In turn, I’m better for everyone else in my life. I’m a better wife, a better mother, a better grandmother.

    I’m also a better writer, a more productive writer. This post? It was my fourth completed article of the day—with not even a wee bit of being crabby or weepy in the process. At least not that I can remember.

    What about you? Have you had the chance to Return to You? I'd enjoy hearing about it; feel free to share your story in the comment section.

    Want to read other Return to You blogger stories? Visit the Pfizer page on and prepare to be inspired!

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    Reader Comments (11)

    Your post is so inspiring. When I got to the point of you cancelling the interview I had a huge smile and was totally rooting for you. Do YOU and keep on doing you because it sounds like your life has been enhanced in many ways! I'm in the perimenopausal stage and it sucks!


    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam

    Pam: Thank you so much! I appreciate that. Before canceling the interview, I actually talked to each of my (adult) daughters to ask if they'd think less of me for not staying on the career track (I always want to be a good example for them). They all rooted for me, too. It's so wonderful to have supportive folks who encourage us to be ourselves and what we were meant to be.

    It's also great to have a name now for the perimenopause. Think of the women in the past who could only say "WTF?? I'm not old enough!" At least now we know what's making us so wacky. :o)

    November 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterLisa Carpenter

    I slammed into menopause via a hysterectomy. Hormone replacement therapy eventually relieved some of the symptoms, and I'd still be on it except for those pesky studies that showed it was risky. So when I went off it, some time around age 60, I had all the hot flashes I'd avoided 20 years earlier. My Return to You story is much like yours. After years of stress, I finally stepped out of my boss position into a writer-editor position. Believe me, I know how lucky I was to be able to do that and continue to work at the same place. There was still a little stress, but it didn't affect me in the toxic way that it did when I was head of the department. Should have done it years earlier. Thanks for sharing this info!

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBLissed-Out Grandma

    Blissed-Out Grandma: Thank you so much for sharing! I've worried and wondered about the HRT stuff and what I'll do if/when the peri turns into the full-blown thing. Probably best to just get through it without the scary therapy, maybe.

    You are so right about the toxicity and stress of being boss. Writing is so much more fun, I think! :o)

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    Thanks for the wonderful story! You know how I feel about what you are doing and you know, money isn't everything. You have to pursue what makes you the happiest and not wait until it's too late. You have a very wonderful and supportive husband and did the right thing not taking that job!

    I've been thru the menopause thing and for me it didn't seem that bad (I don't think my husband had the same opinion). I did get the hot flashes and instead of being cold all the time, I was always hot (I couldn't wear sweaters or turtlenecks anymore)! I am semi-retired now and I feel great. I will be 57 in four days and I am not ashamed to tell people my age!

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    What an inspiring story! Love hearing when people choose to do what they love even though it's not about making a ton of money and having to make other sacrifices. If you do what you love, the money should follow. And money cannot buy your health or sanity.

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    Debbie: Thank you, my good friend! You're always so supportive and I appreciate that. And you are indeed one great-looking 57-year-old! Happy (almost) birthday! :o)

    Lisa: What a kind comment. Thank you! I do love this, the writing and blogging and meeting new people. Nice to meet you! Thank you for joining the conversation!

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Superb. I just shared it with my world. I hope lots of people read it, because many of my tweets get syndicated into Twitter "newspapers".

    I feel very warm as I read this post - because part of the book I wrote during the NaNoWriMo challenge covers the topic of Menopause. My dream is to complete and publish "The Complete Health Guide for Women" next year. Sounds ambitious, but when I read posts such as yours, I find it so motivating. Besides the beautiful writing, it touches my heart.

    Thank you for the treat :-), Lisa.

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVidya Sury

    Vidya I'm happy to hear about your book! I have no doubt the dream of publishing it will come true for you. Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comment touches my heart! Thank you for it and for sharing this post with your world! :o)

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    No period since I was 28 with my first hysterectomy due to uterine cancer. My ovaries came out at 43. No HRT since both my Mom and my Nonnie had breast cancer. I play with the thermostat a lot.

    I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up! I'm living it now and I feel so blessed. Still trying to figure out how to balance all the roles in my life, but taking things one day at a time.

    Yes, taking risks at our age is scary. When I feel intimidated I fall back on the advice I have given my daughters for years. The things I most regret in life are not what I tried and failed, but what I failed to try. Since my daughters are now grown, I don't feel responsible anymore for their financial needs. I'm so glad I was finally able to take the plunge and open a business that I'm passionate about.

    Kudos to you, Lisa! We may never be wealthy, but I think acting on a dream is more rewarding than all the money in the world.

    December 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNonnie Kelly

    Nonnie Kelly: What a scary thing to go through—any time but especially as such a young woman. What a blessing to have had your daughters early.

    Excellent advice regarding taking risks. Funny: That's my youngest daughter's go-to advice on many a thing (and it didn't come from me!).

    Acting on a dream is indeed worth far more than money! Thank you for the encouragement and for being the awesome role model and "Grandparent (r)evolution" advocate you are!

    December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs
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