We met with menopause creator Jen Rigley aka @flourishingoverfifty to talk about her mission as a creator and how she navigated menopause!
Q: Tell us a little bit more about yourself, and what led you to become a midlife creator.
A: I'm excited about spreading the word and really supporting women and girls around the world!
From an early age, I've experienced personal loss in my family when I was young. I had a difficult childbirth experience, I was challenged as a female in the tech industry serving as a marketing executive. And it was not uncommon for me to be the only female in the room. And I also survived a cancer diagnosis. And that is no different than many of us have faced. But at a certain point, I thought instead of facing these challenges alone, as we tend to do, especially as we get older we get involved with our family and our children. And I think many of us tend to lose track of some of our friends. So I thought 'this has been difficult for me, but I've made it through and maybe I can help other women as well', because so many women are facing these challenges alone, and it can be lonely out there. And what I saw was so many women in midlife, maybe late 40s, 50s, 60s and on up-they're tired, they're stressed, they're leaving the workplace, often not of their own choice. And that puts them in a very difficult situation and really struggling during these middle of life years (whether it's the kids going off to school or health diagnosis) and for good reason.
I feel like we as women often carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and often alone. So I knew, as I was going through many of these challenges, that I had a decision to make. I could settle into these feelings because I felt all those things (too tired, stressed, gaining weight, just feeling down about things). And I thought I could settle into those, because sometimes we do it because it's the comfortable thing to do. Or I could really try to keep my attitude positive, and focus my outlook on the good things in life. So that's when I became really passionate about supporting and inspiring women, particularly in this age group. And that's where flourishing over fifty was really born.
Q: How did you know you were in menopause? And what have you done to manage those menopause symptoms.
A: So I'm just going to start off and I think this is nothing new, but I give a lot of credit to Oprah for bringing menopause out into the open. She was the first person that I ever saw or knew, you know, talk openly about menopause and the symptoms. And I feel like she almost gave us permission or opened the door for us to start having those conversations.
To be honest, for women of my age, we never talked about "the M word". And you might have a hot flash, but you wouldn't want to tell anybody about it. And you also weren't necessarily comfortable talking to your doctor about it, you know, just kind of how we were brought up. We didn't really talk about those things. So I think it's great. She brought it out into the open. So I feel like now we can discuss it. We can laugh about it.
But really the most important thing, and I think this is important about what you and your company is doing is that we can share resources. So if someone has a great solution or something that has worked for them, we can talk about it with our friends. And I've seen this amongst my own friend group. You know, we laugh about it a little bit, but we also say 'hey have you tried this or heard about this?' And right now in the marketplace...there's just an explosion out there right now.
So I think the fact that we can share and find what what works for us, is really great. So when I started, you start like 'oh my gosh, I'm hot, what's happening'... I kind of had an idea...so I was able to talk very openly with my nurse practitioner, and my doctor. For me hot flashes were probably the biggest symptom.
In terms of managing that, I had a lot of different tips and tricks, it took me a while to get there. But something as simple as changing the way you dress can make all the difference. So you'll see like I have a sleeveless shirt on. I was very nervous and worried about when I was going into either interview for a new position, or as a management consultant I would be interviewing CEOs of companies, and I was very nervous about 'oh, my gosh, what if I'm in the middle of this very important meeting, and I start sweating.' So I came up with a way to dress where I could feel comfortable, if I got hot I just take off my outer jacket without it being a big deal. So just some things like that, that you can do that are very simple and not invasive, but there are a lot of things that you can do to manage the symptoms.
And we have to get over the fear of showing our arms! So many women all day, I don't know why, but they have a fear of showing their arms, they're not comfortable with that part of their body. But you can make your life so much happier if you just don't worry about things like that and just try on some different things. Figure out what works for you.
Q: What are some of the biggest life lessons or a-ha moments that you've had during midlife?
A: The absolute most important life lesson, I think, in midlife is coming to the understanding that we get to decide how we want to spend these years. That is really the most important a-ha, that you are not forced to go down a certain path you dont have to do maybe what you were brought up to do, what you were told you needed to do...you really get to decide what is right for you, and start taking steps to do that.