Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday is this week, so I’m pampering myself a little… Instead of crafting a thoughtful post for today, here is an oldie-but-goodie that I wrote more than six years ago. Hint: I’m even older now than when I posted the original.

The following post first appeared on this blog July 6, 2011.

Gone in a Flash

What determines the end of youth? Is it having kids? No, lots of parents still look and feel quite young. Maybe it’s when those same kids start saying you are old? Pffft, mine would do that if I were still 25. How about greying hair? Nah, that has nothing to do with it. Not to claim expert status or anything, but when my own youth was gone, I knew in a flash.

A hot flash.

You can’t fight fire with fire . . .

True, my complaints are very small compared to what others go through. I certainly don’t have the war stories that some of my sisters-in-age tell. I never even fogged my own glasses, stripped down to a sport bra in public, or rushed over to stand by the winning coach at the end of a football game just so I could get drenched with iced-down Gatorade.

But from the outside, no one can understand what even a mild flash is like. These flashes are so inexplicable that I’d like to speak for my fellow middle-aged-lady types, and set the record straight:

We Are Not Crazy.

We just seem crazy, what with feeling perfectly comfortable one second and desperately fanning ourselves/gasping for air the next. To you, nothing whatsoever has changed during that one second. To us, it feels as if we have been teleported from an air-conditioned building into a closed-up car in the parking lot. In July. With no shade.

Sometimes “Flash Onset” happens more slowly. I might simply be typing with my wrist touching the warm spot near the front edge of my laptop; hugging my husband; washing dishes over the sink; or wearing shoes. Any of these can kindle a glow which, if I don’t nip it in the bud (with a leap away from the heat source and/or some preemptive fanning), soon blossoms into an all-out Flash.

Whether we experience sudden- or gradual-onset Flash, we must fight back. If we are not within reach of the winning coach at the end of a football game when we first notice the Flash, we resort to other cool-down strategies, like patting our arms and face with cool water and letting them air-dry. And of course, if a heat source is causing the Flash, we must get away from it immediately. If said heat source is likely to get its feelings hurt at this behavior, then we’ll offer a word of explanation, Sweetie.

Wow — even as I type this, my wrist is feeling the heat from my laptop. And the room is starting to feel a bit… stuffy. As near as I can figure, that means it’s time to back away from the keyboard and relax with some ice cold Coke Zero.

After all, I’m not getting any younger.

Thanks for reading,

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5 Responses to Happy Birthday to Me

  1. Jeannine Johnson says:

    Jan, thanks for explaining how hot flashes feel, that is just how I felt for about 4 years! Day and night, I never knew when or where.


  2. Hot flashes don’t really bother me unless I’m dripping sweat in public. The heat itself isn’t so awful. But I think I’m very lucky compared to some!

    Liked by 1 person

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