I read a Facebook post by a friend the other day who wrote that she was excited to start seeing gray hairs coming in. I have always thought of her as a Super Empowered Woman and this added to my appreciation of her self-awareness and esteem. I find that I’m unflatteringly jealous of her attitude. It does me no credit, and I feel very guilty for not embracing my own maturity in comparison.
Perhaps its because my partner is much younger than I am- 7 years younger, and yet she has much more life experience than I do. I feel like I should have accomplished more than I have if I’m to be this old- so old that I am growing gray hairs of my own. Or maybe its the example set by my mother who always claimed that she was 29, even into her 40’s. Maybe its because I don’t want to face my own mortality at all. Maybe its just that I don’t like looking old. Society has taught us that women are supposed to stay forever young.
In 2005, a friend was killed in a car accident, and I realized then the value of having birthdays, of being able to get older. Its not a gift granted to everyone. Some people don’t get to celebrate birthdays anymore, having died all too young. I’d much rather get older than not have the opportunity.
But still I fight the signs of aging with all the vigor I can muster in my decrepitude. I pluck gray hairs out, finding that coloring my hair doesn’t really help, and they seem all thick and wiry and not at all like the rest of the hairs around them, wavy and long. I moisturize my skin now, though I neglected it in my youth, and often find myself reminding me to drink more water to keep my skin looking younger through this cold, drying winter. I look for signs of aging in my hands, and in a magnification mirror, and glow at compliments that I don’t look my age (which I do not lie about.)
What does 45 look like? What should 50 look like? Why would I want to hold on to youth, immaturity and an impossible ideal of what I should appear to be held by people who’s opinions I care nothing for? Maybe, just maybe, I’m closer to acceptance than I think I am. Maybe I would benefit from spending more time caring about myself and less time staring in a mirror worrying about what my hair might say about me.