January 25, 2010

Growing Older, With or Without Grace

I am not going to grow old gracefully.

I thought I was. Really, I thought I wasn't that vain. No plastic surgery, no nip and tuck, no stomach stapling. No coloring of the hair. And yet, here I am with a head full of artificially red-and-blonde hair, hiding the gray revealed by the too-honest glare of the lighting at The Hair Place.

You'd think hair salons would be more careful about lighting and other environmental effects. Aren't we supposed to feel good -- pretty -- when we're there? Isn't that why they are -- or used to be, in my mother's day -- called beauty parlors? Ah, but perhaps that harsh light is carefully calculated to drum up business. It was, after all, during the lengthy process of a professional manicure that I, with nothing to do but stare into the mirror opposite me, noticed just how gray I had become.

Of course I immediately made an appointment to get my hair colored.

Covering up the gray brightened my face, but truly, if my "gray" was snow-white or a lovely soft silver, I would let it go natural. I have these visions of myself as one of those women with long, gray braids down their backs, but then I also have romantic fantasies of living off the land, composting, wearing natural fibers, and bringing home supplies in hand-woven Free Trade bags.

Yeah...not gonna happen.

But if I were one of those women, I would grow old gracefully. I'd ignore the lines and creases I see in the mirror -- even the ones that make me look as if I'm constantly frowning. (My mother was right about that whole face-freezing thing; it just took longer than I expected.) But I'm not one of those women, and so I use Age Perfect moisturizers. Age perfect: a nice way of saying skin care for middle-aged matrons. But here's the thing: middle-aged I may be, but all I know about matronly is how to spell it.

Not that there's anything wrong with being matronly. It's just that I don't even know how to be a grown-up yet. How can I be getting old(er) when I never got the memo about how to be an adult? Shouldn't I be wiser by now, and not just older? When will I have all the answers? When will I stop comparing myself to others and seeing only what I'm not and never will be?

Forget the snow-white hair. Perhaps I should just ask for a little self-acceptance and grace.

January 10, 2010

And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor...