Do you know what a thingamajig is? Or a thingy?

I do. It's the word I use often these days to describe something I know really well or a person's name I've known for years but which has disappeared out of my vocabulary.

Is seems to me that once a certain age is reached one's brain appears to fill up and then little things slip out right at the very second you need them.

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Eventually they come back but in the meantime they are thingy or thingamajig.

When I was younger and women in that "certain age group" would do the exact same thing, I would frown and wonder what was wrong with them.

I can see people doing that to me now, especially when I mix up names, which I do rather often. It can be embarrassing.

There is, of course, a name for this— it's called (men, you may want to look away now) menopause.

I've often wondered why on earth it's called that. Surly, I thought to myself, it should be called womenopause.

However, now I understand.

When the lovely man in your life says things like "why is your face red?" or "will you make up your mind about your cardigan, you either want it on or off" or "why have you turned the air conditioning down? I'm freezing" — this is the time women must walk away and have a "men-o-pause". In other words, have a wee pause from men.

Because if we don't, we may end up saying bad things to them. So walk away, count to 10 and "pause" to catch your breath. Deep breathing can help at this point.

Better still, call a friend, go out for coffee or a walk.

Of course, the pause part of the word has numerous meanings.

It also accounts for the pause on the way to the kitchen, when you suddenly stop and ask yourself "where am I going and why am I going there?"

These pauses can happen at any time of the day or night. You also pause when searching for the word that ends up coming out as thingy.

Another pause when you open the fridge to find the cling wrap tucked neatly in the corner and the cottage cheese in the drawer.

Mr Neat knows thingy quite well. He always replies with "oh yeah, I know thingy".

Often I need a wee men-o-pause after that.

And to add insult in injury, middle-age spread does exist. There's no getting away from the fact that at a certain age it's a whole lot harder to keep the middle from spreading, except maybe if you are a (I've forgotten the word), you know - a thingy — one of those who exercise for a living.

However, that's not to say you can't be healthy and fit and have a bit of middle-age spread and it's not an excuse to just let yourself go — just think about this — how many obese 75-year-olds do you know? Probably none, because they don't live that long.

Seriously, though, it can be a really hard time for women — some having to contend with far worse symptoms than I have mentioned here.

Others are lucky and fly through, hardly noticing any change.

Support from family and friends is so important — if you feel really down about it, talk to someone. It doesn't last forever — well I hope not.

• Linda Hall is Hawke's Bay Today Assistant Editor