Author Archives: Barbara Younger

About Barbara Younger

Check out my blog about menopause and all things related to women and life: Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster

Hormones and Superheroes: A Menopause Novel Giveaway


Going Through the Change

(Cover art by Polina Sapershteyn)

A post by speculative fiction writer Samantha Bryant:

Menopause can be a pretty scary word. In a world that values youth and physical perfection above experience and knowledge, especially for women, getting older is fraught with psychic landmines. The process can make you doubt your own self worth.

Besides what the world thinks, there’s that feeling that your body is betraying you, changing physical shape around you and surprising you with new changes in function. You can start to feel like you can’t trust your own senses. Is it hot in here? No? Guess it’s just me, then.

As a writer, when something scares me, it comes out on the page. In the stories and characters I create, I can deal with the things that worry or upset me. I always tell my husband that it’s cheaper than therapy.  That’s exactly what happened with Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel. The novel follows five women as their journey through the change of life takes some unexpected turns: superheroic turns.

While the subject matter is definitely the stuff of comic books–human flight, wielding fire, and transformations are unlikely to be a problem for any of us here in the real world–the book also explores the heart’s truths of this time of life. One of my characters, Helen Braeburn, is taking it especially hard.

“Sometimes, Helen felt like she had spent her whole life waiting to be ‘old enough’ and then had crossed over into ‘too old’ without finding out what it was she had been waiting for.”


“It was a truth of life that as a woman aged, Helen thought, people tended to treat her more and more like a child. Salesclerks called older women honey, just like they might a child. Senior food and movie tickets were sold at a reduced price, just like a child’s. Discounts and nicknames weren’t so bad in the scheme of things, but the assumption of incompetence was hard to take.”

Even in her lighter moments, Helen still struggles with aging.

“Getting old sucked. Of course, so did being beaten up by a giant lizard with red hair, and strangled by a cheerleader.”

Writing this book definitely has helped me deal with all my anxieties about aging and menopause. I hope my readers will find connections with the experiences of these characters, too.

Giveaway: Friend for the Ride is giving away a copy of Going Through the Change (digital or print) to TWO lucky Friend for the Ride readers. For a chance to win, simply enter a comment by May 15 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. only. Thanks! Comment link is at the bottom of the post.

Book Launch Party: Meet the author, Samantha Bryant, at Fly Leaf Books on Saturday, April 25 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at 2 PM!

Amazon link is here.

Going Through the Change

Introducing the stars of the show, the menopausal superheroes! These wonderful drawings were done by artist Charles C. Dowd.

Here’s Helen, who brings new meaning to “one hot mama.”


Jessica, who finally lightens up, literally.


Linda, whose inner strength becomes her outer strength, and it comes with a surprise!Linda

Dr. Liu, who doesn’t see a problem with the means she uses to get to her ends.


Patricia, who always had a thick skin, but now is bulletproof!


Samantha Bryant is a writer, mother, and middle school Spanish teacher, so she knows a thing or two about being a superhero. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with her family and dog.

Check out Samantha’s Facebook author page:
Here she is on Twitter:
And Google+:
To read her blog, click here:


Mental Flexibility: Try This Test!


Last Saturday, I went to a conference on menopause and women in midlife sponsored by Duke University. At a booth that focused on the aging brain, I took this test.

You try it! Say the name of the color you see NOT the word. Say the colors as fast as you possibly can.


How did you do?

The gentleman manning the booth said I did well, but I didn’t really hit my stride until the last two lines or so. The test is used clinically for lots of purposes. In this case, it was measuring the flexibility of my aging mind.

Ha! I’m working on flexibility. I agreed to a sponge holder in our sink. I’m willing to try a fancy concealer my daughter Laura recommends. And I allow my grandson Maze boss me to the moon and back.

Here’s another version of the test:

Second Stroop

I could do this for a long time. It’s way fun.

What I don’t want to do is count backwards by sevens. I find it painful. I’m not a numbers person. My parents had to count backwards by sevens to get into their retirement center. “Piece of cake!” Mom said. I’ve been practicing. With my luck, I’ll get the sevens down, and my future retirement center will switch to sixes or eights.

Back to the Stroop Test. I’m going to bring the paper copy to Family Beach Week. I want to see how my kids do. I already tested Cliff. He sped through the colors. But that’s okay. If he’s more flexible, then I should get to be the boss of our aging years, right?

Here’s the wiki on the Stroop Test.

The M Zone: A Painting!


Second Photo of Lilly's Painting

A painting by artist Lilly Stevens and Lilly’s interpretation of her lovely lady dressed in purple:

The M in the title, “The M Zone,” stands for “menopause.” We are finally at that stage where our wombs are closing up shop. No longer children, or young women, we have gained great life experience, valuable wisdom, and maybe a few unwanted pounds! Our hair is no longer blonde or brown, but grey, white, or silver.

The M zone is new, uncharted territory for us. Inside we are tender, feminine, maternal (pink) but our ‘skin’ is tougher (the grey outline); we are tougher, for better or worse.

The heart is depicted as big and golden, and most women possess well deserved halos, due to their loving and self-sacrificial natures.The roses are symbolic of the womb, the birthplace of mankind.

In my journey, every woman I’ve known loves the color purple, so I thought this would be fitting for her dress.

At the end of the day, no matter how strong or tough she is perceived as, there is a feminine creature that longs to be respected and cherished.

Since the age of ten, writing and creating art, Lilly Anne Stevens has exhibited her paintings in places such as Houston’s City Hall as a member of “Artists Alive and Well.”  She is  one of 25 authors whose short devotions comprise the publication Thank you for your Hero, proceeds benefiting United States Gold Star families. Join her @

Be Light! A Message from Someone, Somewhere



From Anne Lamott:

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart.

From me: The other night, in the middle of the Duke NCAA championship game (Go Blue Devils!), I got a message as clear as any message I’ve ever been sent:

 Be light

I’m looking for messages from my mom, who died three weeks ago. This didn’t really sound like Mom talking but who knows?

 Be light

So my new goal is to be lighter. I’d love to shake some pounds, and I plan to continue my downsizing project, but I think this lightness is meant to mean more. A true lightness. As light as spring clouds. As light as laughter. As light as sorbet or orchid flowers or Cliff when he says, “Let’s go downtown and eat outside. It’s a gorgeous night.”

My mom’s dolls, Mimsy and Mattie, are now living with me. They arrived last week in bubble wrap. As you can see from their expressions, they need to lighten up too.

Mimsy and Mattie

Be light

Have you lightened up in recent years?

Any tips for people and/or for dolls?

Here’s Wiki on the wise and wonderful Anne Lamott.

anne_lamott2 (1)And here is a splendid collection of Anne Lamott quotes on Goodreads. As we ponder lightness, I wonder what inspiration we can stir up from our earlier days.