By Jennifer Upton
I am a member of Generation X.
Not the band (although they’re great, too), the forgotten generation of latchkey kids sandwiched between the much larger baby boomers and millennials.
THE LATCHKEY GENERATION
The first time I ever saw a blatant reference to menstruation was in the 1984 film Sixteen Candles where Ginny took too many muscle relaxants to relieve her menstrual cramps and showed up to her wedding high as a kite.
In 1993, HRT trials began in the U.S., but being just 21, I largely ignored the articles coming out warning the older generations that they “might cause cancer.”
For me and my friends, it was something to worry about later.
Later is here.
Ferris Bueller told us all, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Life moved pretty fast, indeed.
Matthew Broderick, the actor who played the school-skipping teen in the Generation X classic in 1986 is now in his ‘60s and I’m over 50.
He’s the husband of someone even more important to us.
FERRIS MEETS CARRIE MEETS HRT
Sarah-Jessica Parker was the star of the ‘90s hit Sex and the City – the first show that spoke openly about single women in their 20s and 30s having and enjoying sex unabashedly.
In 2008, we got a film and in 2010 an inferior sequel in all but one respect.
It’s the film where the first of the four main characters discusses menopause.
In the movie’s best scene, Samantha, 8 years older than her counterparts, declares, “Some day, you’ll thank me. I am leading the way through the menopause maze.
With my vitamins, my melatonin sleep patches, my bioidentical estrogen cream… progesterone cream, and a touch of testosterone…”
She typifies the open-mindedness that Generation X has towards trying new things.
We are open to trying new things as evidenced by the large number of books written on the subject.
WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT
That Samantha refuses to shrivel up and blow away in the wind like a dried corn husk in autumn reflects Generation X to a T.
According to Forbes Magazine, “Call them resilient, call them adaptable, independent, innovative. Just don’t call them irrelevant. After weathering two crushing recessions throughout their careers yet still finding ways to break countless cultural barriers, Gen X women have absolutely no intention of heading into middle age quietly.”
Speaking openly on topics previously seen as “taboo” seems to be our forté.
Although we weren’t raised on smartphones, we were the first generation to learn how to use a desktop computer and we are now the first to create over-40-friendly spaces online where women can share their funny, embarrassing and painful stories with others experiencing similar things.
We find power and inspiration in sharing.
Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice, who has been working to improve support for women in the workplace confirms, “As someone going through the menopause myself, I understand first-hand how much it helps to be able to speak about it openly and honestly.”
**THE IMPORTANCE OF VULNERABILITY **
Fellow Gen-X’er Dr. Brené Brown, a lecturer from the University of Houston has spent over 20 years studying vulnerability as well as
- shame, and
In her books and TEDx talks, she describes vulnerability as being at the root of feeling a sense of belonging, as well as creativity and happiness.
There are few things more sensitive than discussing “private lady things.”
Where my mother, aunts and grandmothers spoke of “the change” in hushed tones, my friends and I have more than once proudly stood up at ladies’ night, pulled down a corner of our jeans and showed each other our hormone replacement patches.
Authentic vulnerability is powerful.
CHILD-FREE AS A RESPECTED LIFE CHOICE
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of being a part of Gen X at this life stage is coming into contact with the large number of us who have chosen not to have children.
Anecdotally, I have never heard a single word of regret or panic.
The phrase more commonly asked within my different friendship circles is “Are you happy with your decisions?”
If happiness means marriage with three kids and a house in the suburbs, we’re cool with that as much as we are with the lifestyle choice of the single person who lives in a studio apartment with a cat.
I count myself among those of us without children who have enjoyed house-sitting and pet-sitting on equal par with babysitting when fulfilling those duties.
Live and let live.
That’s our motto.
The title of the Sex and the City 2021 reboot couldn’t have said it better.
And Just Like That…we’re in menopause.
Now faced with this new phase of life, we’re doing it our way.
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn