I am impatient. I mean REALLY impatient. My whole life, I couldn’t wait to get wherever I was going – I walk too fast, talk too fast, get annoyed with small talk and sunsets and people smelling the roses. When all my friends were taking the summer after college to go backpacking around Europe or hang out at the beach or apply to grad school so they could put off “real life,” I couldn’t wait to get a job and get mine started. Of course now I wonder what my hurry was – turns out there was plenty of time to work, but not so much just to play – but that doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my ways.
And this is a problem because in my haste to get somewhere – anywhere – I invariably miss things. I skip steps because I think I don’t have time for them. As a result, my outcomes don’t always look exactly the way I pictured them.
I’m working on this, and it brings to mind my dad, who had an engineer’s mind – every little detail mattered, especially in the preparation. He taught me how to paint, how the prep work is what really matters if you want a nice, even paint job. The painting itself is almost secondary. Ugh! Every time I would be sure that he was wrong and do it my way, and every time my wall looked like crap.
I’m thinking about this now because the same thing is true when we are trying to change our health outcomes during menopause. The prep work – tuning in to our bodies to learn what is at the root of the physical discomforts we feel, mapping the cause and effect of various inputs so we understand which solutions are most likely to be useful, taking the time to set up the logistics of our lives so that positive changes stick – is what matters most. That’s getting ready to paint, and it usually takes longer than you think. If you are trying to manage menopause naturally, to create vibrant health that leaves no room for things like hot flashes and brain fog, it’s that prep work that paves the way – without it, it doesn’t really matter what supplements you take, or if you exercise, or if you eat all the “superfoods.” That’s just putting the paint on the wall.
And that’s where most women trip up. They haven’t taped and sanded and patched, so the paint doesn’t look anything like they expected when they are done. “See, it doesn’t work!” they say, and they give up.
Trust me, I’ve been there. Going step by step is slow, methodical work, and sometimes it feels like nothing is happening. There’s a certain amount of trust involved too – in the process, and in the wisdom of our own bodies to make things right. It can be almost painful to sit through it when we are not feeling our best and we just want relief, but it is SO worth it. Because when the paint has dried and you remove that last piece of tape around the trim and you step back to see what you’ve created, you will be amazed.
Don’t skip the steps. Take the time to prepare – I know it’s boring, but do it anyway – so that the finished product, YOU, emerge beautiful and healthy and happy; not raggedy and hanging together by a thread.
I think my dad would be happy to see that I was in fact listening. 😊