About a month ago I was leaving the grocery store and ran into a friend of a friend. I like this woman a lot, but we’re not particularly close. Yet as we stood there on the sidewalk by the cart corral, we somehow started talking about hormone replacement. She was raving about the progesterone she had started taking, first in an over-the-counter cream, and then via prescription. It had calmed her down and helped her sleep. “You have to try it,” she said.
And so I did. I was already taking a prescription hormone, Step 46 in my perennial search for an insomnia cure. It hadn’t helped me sleep, but it got rid of the hot flashes and came with other benefits that I’m loathe to surrender. The progesterone cream hasn’t been doctor-approved, but I do think it has improved, if not solved, my sleep issues. It, too, has other unexpected benefits: every part of me is once again standing at attention and saluting, if you know what I mean.
Saturday I ran into this same friend in the produce section. The two of us stood there – in the middle of the bananas and the apples and the grapefruit – comparing notes and talking about sex drives. This is not a common topic for me, and certainly nothing I ever thought I’d be writing about in a public forum. But as I stood there with someone I really barely know, practically whispering – with a few giggles thrown in for good measure – I’m not sure which was riper – us or the fruit.
At this age, I’ve gained a lot: new confidence, hard-earned wisdom, and the slaying of a certain number of personal demons. But as my body starts to droop and my mind goes on ever-more frequent unexcused absences, there’s an unavoidable sense of loss for the woman I used to be.
I spend more money on beauty products than on lingerie, and I finally understand the appeal of cosmetic surgery. I am well aware that there’s no fountain of youth and risks in replenishing hormones that are suddenly AWOL. And I wouldn’t be 25 again for all the testosterone in the NFL. But if I can feel just a little bit more like the me of old, well, that’s something I can get excited about.