I just spent an inordinate amount of time staring at myself in the mirror.
This was precipitated mainly by the fact that my hairdresser of the past several years recently moved, and since I haven’t been in to get my usual highlights, my hair is turning silver. I’m at the point now that I either really need to find someone new or just embrace the silver gracefully. I have friends who’ve done the latter and look lovely, and I have friends who continue to color their hair and look equally amazing. This probably wouldn’t even be bothering me if not for two things.
Thing number one is that my ex-husband left me 5 years ago for someone 18 years our junior. While he says that age gap doesn’t matter, I call bullshit. Being the middle-aged wife who gets dumped for a kid is not fun, and you can’t help but wonder if it isn’t because your boobs are sagging, your hair’s turning grey, and your butt is wider than it used to be. You want to believe you’re loved regardless, but the cliché of “the younger other woman” is devastating for the older, left-behind wife no matter how screwed up the marriage may have been.
Thing number two is that I went to get a pedicure with a friend recently. This salon had hair services as well. As we sat enjoying our holiday pampering, an employee came over to me and told me I should come in for her to do my hair because “I can make you look good.” Uh. What? I tried to laugh it off and said, “You don’t think I look good?” She said, “NO. I’ll make you look better.” Ok, obviously this isn’t the way to go about drumming up business (and I came home and wrote a review on Yelp), but maybe she was right. Maybe my silver hair is a liability.
But as I stared at my face in the mirror this afternoon, I realized something. I bring so much more to the table than my appearance. It’s not the wrinkles or age spots or silver hair that makes me who I am. It’s the light in my eyes that still twinkles. It’s the smile that still beams from my face despite the setbacks. It’s the wisdom that has come from living and loving well (and sometimes not-so-well) for the past 48 years and learning the lessons that have come with those years. I don’t want to go back to being 25 again. I would like to live the next 25 years and beyond as gracefully as I can. I want to embrace every year as it comes and live it fully and joyfully – probably with silver hair and a good eye cream.