I’m not entirely sure if I’m aging gracefully or not. Or indeed even what aging gracefully truly means. I did this little self-assessment: I’ve been getting coverage for my gray roots for years. I dress 100% for comfort and never for style. I have bridges and caps and crowns that no whitening regimen known to man will ever work on. I’ve never worn makeup in my life, so my “fine lines and wrinkles” have been appearing for a good long while now. I love the sun, and in my early years SPF was not an acronym ever heard of, though I have embraced the idea of sunscreen for quite some time now. Just lately I even purchased a rather unusual sun hat to protect me from those UV rays. I’ve a long-held tendency to squint and what works for Clint Eastwood doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else. I have sunglasses but I’m not crazy about them so wear them only on occasion, not so good for those “fine lines” around the eyes is that. Plastic surgery? As if. So that’s me in a nutshell and I decided to take to Google to see what it had to say about aging gracefully.
Surprise of surprises, I’m not doing too badly in the aging gracefully department. I keep my mind active with a variety of interests both indoor and outdoor. I keep my body as active as I can – I may not run marathons, but I walk daily, snowshoe in winter, bike in summer – play badminton with the grandkids. I eat healthy, get my regular check-ups and screenings, try to be a self-advocate when it comes to my healthcare. I may fall down a bit in the positivity department. Sometimes the world is just so full of garbage it’s hard to keep your head above the trash heap. But all in all, I’m a bit of alright thus far.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret just in case you see me looking as if I want to have more fun, as in “do blondes”? For the past couple years I’ve toyed with the idea of cutting off my long hair. I know “long” is a relative term, but it still hangs to at least my waist and the story as to why my locks are important to me is even longer than my hair, thus I won’t bore anyone with it. But I can’t face the scissors or the clippers just yet. With the wonderful advice of the incomparable Denise (who has done a slap-up job of hiding my gray roots for too many years to count) I’ve decided I can keep the length and still invite the gray in. Very freeing. But it’s a process of lightening here and there until what’s coming in naturally isn’t in sharp contrast to what’s next to it on my head. I’ve always had very dark hair with those red highlights acquired from both sides of my ancestral tree so even this tiny bit of blondie-ness has been tough to get used to. My sisters are the blondes in the family, not me! But I prefer a long “do” to a short “do” so it’s all good for now. I may change my mind on down the road and then no harm, no foul – snip, snip, snip.
There. I’ve made peace with that. However, one thing I find as irritating as receiving an AARP card in the mail when you’ve just turned 40 instead of approaching 50 (this happened to my younger sister, so I have sisterly knowledge of her pain) is getting advertisements that are for the elderly. I may be aging but am not yet elderly. My joints might be beginning to creak, my chin might be beginning to wobble, my ideals might be going the way of the dinosaur, but I will not yet succumb to be referred to as “elderly.” Those who send me letters about “Safe Step Walk-in Tubs”, or catalogs featuring electric wheelchairs, canes, walkers and adult diapers are free to stop any old time ‘cuz I ain’t buying. At least not yet.
Now where’d I leave my cheaters???