I did a lot of rage walking over the weekend.
Lovely things happened too – for example, DD built my second wardrobe and I took him out for a cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dinner to say thank you – but the rage walking was very therapeutic.
I am approaching 53 next month and while the date on my birth certificate isn’t the reason for my anger, the baggage that it brings is a major factor.
I’m about to massively generalise here and say that while men have mid-life crises, women have mid-life rage.
You are no doubt familiar with this meme:
It’s sort of true, although I would argue that at 40 a woman’s rage is still nascent and unformed. It starts to really hit its stride as she approaches 50.
Actually, I’m going to switch to the first person now, as I should probably stick to what I’m feeling rather than presuming I know what the entire female population is experiencing.
I am tired. I am tired of feeling sick. I am tired of working hard. I am tired of cooking. I am tired of cleaning. I am tired of the dogs barking at every noise they hear in the backyard. I am tired of the builder contacting me once a month to say he needs to finish the job, but never turning up. I am tired of putting the bins out. I am tired of bringing the bins back in. I am tired of washing clothes. I am tired of grocery shopping. I am tired of the rollercoaster of menopausal hormones. I am tired of someone always needing to see a doctor or specialist. I am tired of the endless appointments and tests and bills.
I am angry at myself for thinking being middle-aged would be a relaxed doddle, with the kids more self-sufficient and the stress of my high-flyer career behind me.
I am angry that I work 10 hours a day and can’t afford a holiday.
I am frustrated that men lack empathy for menopausal women and their rage. They just want their happy partners back.
They complain that their partners are grumpy all the time, which isn’t entirely true. We simply don’t have the energy to pretend that everything is fine when a tsunami of hormones are wreaking havoc inside us.
We’ve spent our lives putting up with other people’s shit and putting everyone else’s needs before our own and we’re sick of it.
I find rage walking with other middle-aged women incredibly therapeutic because we can be angry and bond over our collective rage and we don’t have to pretend that we’re fine. It’s not unmitigated fury, there’s lots of humour as well. We laugh and rage in equal measures and I feel accepted. I can express the emotions inside me and not be judged or found wanting.
One of my friends told me she’s worried she has been accidentally saying out loud the rage-y things she’s been thinking during everyday life, not just when she’s on a rage walk with likeminded female friends.
I told her that spontaneous cursing often bursts from me when I think about something annoying that’s happened. Fortunately I don’t do it when there are other people within earshot, otherwise I might start getting a reputation as a crazy old lady.
After going for five walks over the weekend, I was feeling fairly balanced for a late lunch with DD and his friends on Sunday afternoon. Though I was briefly incensed that parking at Mona Vale Beach was $10 an hour. TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR! I refused to pay it and parked my car up the hill in the boiling sun instead.
I ate sweet potato cakes with poached eggs and we had an energetic natter, then went for another therapeutic walk on the beach. I was feeling pretty zen until I got a phone call that made my shoulders sag. DD took me to Palm Beach for a swim to wash away my woes, then we sipped our favourite pink wine on his deck before I headed home to do a few more hours of work.
And suddenly its Monday again. Yawn. Better get my weary, almost-53-year-old body out of bed and get cracking on the week ahead.
Video of the day: Karen Morgan “After 50 you just stop caring” (the inspiration for rage walking)