Inspiring Women: Janet Gunn

By Guest Author: Janet Gunn

I never thought I would end up associating menopause with motivation, but I do now.

I remember like it was yesterday, staring out my bedroom, still in my pajamas, watching my husband drive my son to school and as they drove away bursting into tears. It was such a deep cry I wasn’t quite sure where it came from, but it felt sad and hopeless…I had and have a “kazallion” things to be grateful for but this feeling of who the hell am I was real.

I was my husband’s wife

My son’s mother

And my dog’s owner

I had lost my identity and disappeared into the either…like a Stephen King novel. “Poof” gone.

Thank goodness I had tons of therapy and all sorts of tools in my back pocket to know that this is not who I am, and definitely not who I was meant to be.

After about a year of walking around a little dazed and confused, we went to a friend’s house for dinner and I sat next to a really cool woman, she was a few years older than me, super savvy, funny, and she had a real zest for life and in a short time we became close friends (and thank goodness we still are)! We had wonderful conversations about food, wine, life, and as we grew closer I spoke about how I was really feeling and she said, “Oh honey, you’re going through menopause”

Noooo…. Really??

Yep really.

She recommended I have blood work done and I did­­––and sure enough, all that good “stuff” we’re born with? Well I had none left.

This made me take a long and serious look at my life, my overall happiness and ask “who the hell am I?” and “how do I wanna play this out?” and deep down, “how do I wanna show up as a woman?”

I’ve had an incredible journey when it comes to jobs and “living the dream.” I grew up singing, dancing, acting, I rode horses, and worked since the age of sixteen. My last year in high school I became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader then on to becoming a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and moving to sunny California––and yes, I became an actress and worked for seventeen years straight. I married at 39, had a baby boy at 40, and blessed with a beautiful, healthy family.

At fifty-one years old I was walking around in a daze thinking “what the hell am I gonna do with my life?”

One night my husband and I were all dressed up headed to a charity event and my son’s babysitter was at the house and she looked at me and said, “You know you should write a blog.” I said “A blog…me, I can’t write, I’ve never even read a blog.” She complimented my style and my ideas so she offered to help me out.

It was her conversation that evening that set the wheels into motion. The next day I spent hours on my computer googling women over 50, fashion for women 50+ - bloggers who are 50+ , fashion bloggers who are 50+ - Happiness at 50 - At that time there weren’t a lot of what I was googling, especially women who were blogging about fashion and fun at 50. The only person that kept coming up was Oprah.

As most good and inspirational things do come from Oprah, so did my blog idea - I stumbled on an interview she did about gratitude and that was my aha-moment…Gratitude, waking up and getting grateful for all the good in your life and yes the smallest of things. I Was Grateful, and gardenias remind me of my grandmothers and they along with my mother were women who cared for and about me!

A little over four years ago I started “30 Days of Gratitude - Tell me what you're grateful for” on my Facebook page and it was life changing, literally. By the way, this started due to a meeting that was set up by a friend of ours who my husband suggested I reach out to, he did an email introduction and long story short, four years later I now contribute fashion articles for women 50+ to this site. This small act of daily gratitude opened a flood gate of ideas and possibilities and for the first time in a long time I could not wait to get up in the morning and write in my gratitude journal, I felt everyday was a gift…and it is, but it’s more than a gift it’s an opportunity for us to show up in such ways that we really have no idea what we are capable of. When you show up for yourself, people show up for you.

For me, menopause was a motivator, a new me, my next chapter, I could thank all the younger chapters of me that led me to this moment and in a way, I feel I’m just getting started.

For anyone reading this and seeing yourself and wondering what your “next act” is just grab your journal, set your alarm to wake up early and begin to write down all the little things you’re grateful for and watch your life and people show up, you’ll feel lighter in your heart, and just know there are people out there who need you… the next you, that menopausal masterpiece you’re becoming.

I am The Grateful Gardenia. Who are you?