Did you miss us as much as we missed you?
It’s so good to be back. And thanks in advance for opening your email and joining us today. We know you get lots of emails, and we’re honored that you recognized ours.
It feels as if thePause has come full circle in a way. We started thePause newsletter at the very beginning of the pandemic, and paused it somewhere in between. And now, with some rays of hope shining (twinkling?) on the horizon and (some) masks coming off, thePause is back. Just as many aspects of our collective lives have changed in these two (very long) years, some things have changed at thePause, as well.
My partner, Jennifer Owens, has had to bow out, due to growing work demands. Jenn, a woman of many talents, is now doing important full-time work for Meta, and has joined their environmental, social & governance marketing team.
I’ve missed working with Jenn but am grateful that we got to indulge our shared passion and work together to get thePause off and running.
Speaking of which, there’s a new person in town and she’ll be stepping in for Jenn. Her name is Lisa Tabachnick.
Lisa and I live in different countries and have never met IRL. But, we had long convos on Zoom and belong to the same online freelance group (which is how we met), where everyone is super nice and helpful (miraculously, there is no snark being shelled out there. Gotta love snark-less social media).
Besides, Lisa is from Canada and everyone in Canada is genuinely nice. (Okay, that might be a stereotype, but my visits there and meetings with Canucks – including Lisa - have always proved it to be true.)
Lisa: Hello, Pausers. Yes, I’m Canadian - originally from Ottawa and now living just north of Toronto, Ontario. I’m a writer/communications consultant in my early 50s, am the parent to two teens and step-parent to two young adults. I’m also a Highly Sensitive Person who feels everything more than the average person – that means more period cramps, more pain (emotional and physical), and more hot flashes – but, HSPs also notice more – more love, more correlations, more natural beauty – so it’s not all bad!
(Sheryl: Lisa, me too! I never knew that there was actually a perfect name for the way I am! HSP…I like that. It makes it real and acceptable. I am super-sensitive (er, highly sensitive) and throughout my life I thought it was a curse. But it’s a gift, for sure!! Feeling, empathizing, reflecting deeply…nothing wrong with those emotions. Thanks for bringing our (very normal) human tendencies to the forefront and helping me to understand why I always felt misunderstood!)
Eugan Von Blaas, Two Venetian Women (Creative Commons)
Lisa also shares my passion for learning, communicating, and community as well as my desire to share knowledge, insights and emotions. Like many writers, we’re both the type who often feel more comfortable expressing ourselves through prose rather than oral pronouncements.
Sheryl: Lisa, I think it’s important to point out that you and I are in different stages of aging, which is a slightly shortened version of you’re a lot younger than me. That doesn’t always mean much, as I’ve lived my life believing and participating in multi-generational friendships. There’s always things to be learned by sharing perspectives with people of all ages - if, and only if, the other person is open-minded and willing to learn, that is. (Hopefully that is all or most of us here!)
For the purposes of this issue of thePause and introduction to Lisa, let’s touch on menopause. I’m years past it (although some memories and remnants are still oh-so-fresh) and you’re just starting to find out what it’s like. (You’re delighted and surprised, right? No?)
Lisa: Yes, I’m in the early stages of menopause. I should add that I had a hysterectomy a few years ago so I think that’s easing my symptoms which, as I said, as an HSP would normally hit me like a ton o’ bricks. I’m also taking the supplement black cohosh which I feel is easing my hot flashes.
A Pause for Conversation:
Here’s a few snippets from Sheryl and Lisa’s recent mid-life conversations:
● What Keeps Me Up at Night?
○ Lisa: Um, what DOESN’T keep me up at night? Insomnia for one, back pain, worrying about money, worrying about work, worrying about my kids, thinking about the scary movie we watched before bed… What about you, Sheryl?
○ Sheryl: Well, it used to be night sweats. Thankfully, those have retreated for the most part. Lately, it’s visits to the bathroom. I wake up and think, “I have to pee.” Or is it the other way around…that I have to pee, so I wake up? So many mysteries. But sometimes, especially if I drink a lot of water late in the day, I make as many as three or four trips each night. Ugh. Blaaaaader er issues.
(BTW, stay tuned for a future issue and my interview with, Dr. Alex Rogers, who is a female urologist. I stress the word “female” here because female urologists are so rare. Would you believe that specialty has the lowest percentage of women docs? What, is it only men who have bladders?? You don’t have to answer that.)
● An Interesting Read:
○ Lisa: I’m reading a very relevant book right now: “The 10-Year Nap” by Meg Wolitzer. This beautifully written novel follows four women in mid-life who have dropped out of the workforce for various reasons - mostly related to parenting. Interestingly, there is a Canadian-American connection in the storyline too. If you want an insightful look into modern-day Western working women, check out this novel.
○ Sheryl: Ooh, sounds fabulous. I’ll have to check that one out! Funny, I recently finished Meg Wolitzer’s mother’s book, “Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket.” The title alone got me. It’s a series of essays, some old, some new. Honest, brave, funny and poignant; especially the last one.
Right now I’m reading Frank Bruni’s newest novel, “The Beauty of Dusk.” Let me just say I bought this one in hardcover (rather than my usual Kindle download), knowing in advance I’d want to mark it up. And just three chapters in, I have! It’s about aging. And about illness. And how to handle both with optimism. (Bruni suffered a stroke in one eye and is functionally blind in that eye.) so many gems on every page. I’ve always been in awe of Frank Bruni’s writing…it’s super powerful.
Lisa: Fascinating, Sheryl, that we’re reading mother/daughter novels right now; what are odds?! Thanks for sharing those two reading picks.
● One Thing That Made Me Happy This Week:
○ Sheryl: An extra hour of daylight! What an absolute treat and return to what feels like normalcy. Hopefully our prez will sign the Sunshine Protection Act bill and starting in 2023, we will never have to change the clocks again.
○ Lisa: Samesies. We’re at above zero (Celsius) temps today, and tomorrow it’s scheduled to reach +16 C! After a cold albeit beautiful winter with a lot of skiing, snow shoveling and hiking in sparkling cold forests, a hint of spring is just what we need around here to feel revitalized.
Until Next Time:
This is all to say: We’rrrree Back!
What do you want to hear about from us or share with us when it comes to your own “pause”?
We’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply and Sheryl or Lisa (or both) will be sure to respond.