Good news for women. While the menopause may be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms, it should, in fact, be the most enjoyable time of our life.
This is according to former investment banker Jill Shaw Ruddock, the author of a new book which guides women through the key issues they face after the menopause. Titled The Second Half of Your Life (Vermilion), it features interviews with more than 50 influential women - including Ruby Wax, Sheila Hancock and Dame Vivienne Westwood - advising how the reader can make "the second half of their life the best half".
Mrs Shaw Ruddock, 55, tells People: "I wrote the book because I went through the menopause and didn't know what was happening to me. I researched it and realised that instead of a curse, it is actually a gift. We are in a position to change the view of how we age, making it synonymous with creativity and an active lifestyle. Once women have put the menopause behind them, they can focus on themselves and become the person they want to be."
The mother-of-two, who lives in Holland Park, west London, says this can be achieved through five key objectives: cultivate a passion, find a greater purpose than yourself, exercise, eat well, and stay connected to family, friends and your community.
American-born Mrs Shaw Ruddock ran the London office of investment bank Alex Brown & Sons before leaving in 1999. This is her first book.
So, how else can we make the second half of our life the best? "Live adventurously," says Sheila Hancock; "Get over yourself," says Ruby Wax. "Whatever you've achieved, everyone's forgotten about it already, so the only person you have to answer to is yourself." And, Mrs Shaw Ruddock's favourite comes from producer and author Jane Walmsley: "Keep reminding yourself that whoever said: 'Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good', had a point."