Tania Kindersley
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Apr 18, 2022

I had a lovely Easter and the family were enchanting and I went to bed last night to the sound of laughter echoing around the hills. (I later discovered that the children had been out in the woods, camping and carousing, like something out of Swallows and Amazons.)

And this morning, for no reason at all, there was jangliness and scratchiness. This is, I’m afraid, one of the less lovely parts of the menopause. I’ve never been a slave to hormones before; I managed to scoot through my younger life without them troubling me. Now, they come at me like sudden storms.

Luckily, I’ve developed a stern expertise in emotional processing, so the first thing I did was name the thing and accept the thing and keep marching on through the thing.

It turned out the red mare was having a bit of a scratch and a jangle too, so we went out together into the big meadow like two furious old ladies and decided to dance it out. I knew I would get no dazzling, delightful work from her today, because my lesser self was stomping about and so was hers. So I simply asked her if she would like to get it all out, however wonky that might look.

And that is what we did. We ran it out and danced it out and hollered it out. (Well, she did not holler, but I did.)

As I felt the scratchiness start to shift, I began to notice lovely things. The hills were blue and impervious on the horizon, and the birds were singing, and there were moments when my fine thoroughbred found her stride. We did not restore ourselves to a place of utter perfection, but we did get the worst out, and we were still standing, and the world turned gently around us.

Tiny shifts, I think, more and more often, may be the key to life. I don’t try to banish or fix or utterly transform a rotten mood, but I see if I can find a little turn of the dial that will make it a small bit better. 

I make sure I notice every one of those small betters. I don’t take them for granted or sneer at them because they are little or lash myself for more. I’ll write them down, because they count.

By the time I’d done all my work and gone down to the field for tea, the red mare had let her jangles go and was in her Place of Peace again. I wasn’t quite, but her serenity gave me solace. One of our young friends came to visit, and she made me smile. Florence did some very grown-up work, and that was heartening. 

I still feel disconcerted and faintly out of kilter, but that is this time of life. I had so much pure, undiluted happiness over the last three days, and I can live off that, like a camel lives off its hump. (I am a great believer in the camel’s hump.) 

I’m going to make some chicken soup and listen to the quiet of my Scottish room and remind myself that tomorrow truly is another day. 

And I am going to gaze at the tulips I bought in a fit of extravagance on Friday and be pleased that they are still in full bloom.

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