There are some things you need to know if you are a woman in your 40's/50's. You are going to need a good, expensive bra before your friends will have the courage to tell you that things are swinging too low. You need to know that favorite outfits you have carefully treasured since you were twenty now need to be donated to goodwill because no self-respecting 20 year old will take them but they will buy them and "repurpose" them. When you decide to do a dance routine for a work-out, take advil before and after.
You will learn about heartburn and "gastric distress." They will be painful lessons but you will begin to care less about burping and farting in Target. Your gray hair springs out of your head at right angles that defy the rules of geometry you took in high school. Your hairdresser will give you free sample products every time you see her in a futile attempt to round up those free spirited roamers.
You have to get a yearly mammogram. Sometimes, you will get called back so the docs can take more pictures and maybe even an ultrasound. When you are sitting in the communal waiting room, with other women in their 40's and 50's, you will feel such a swell of compassion and connection to the plight of all women, that you will work hard to ease the stress of the most stressed out woman there. You will quote NPR statistics that may or may not be true and forget your own fear.
When the doctor tells you that your "dense area" is a benign cyst, you will burst into tears. Later, you will realize that not everyone you were waiting with will get such good news.
This is what I was reading while I was waiting:
Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick, I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I'm already under
and living within the ocean.
Does sunset sometimes look like the sun's coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?
You're crying. You say you've burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who's not
hazy with smoke? Rumi