Time marches on and sooner or later you realize it is marchin' across your face.
~ Miss Truvy Jones
Brad Pitt, bemoaning getting old and flabby in a recent interview. Please.
A woman who, after years of washing that gray right out of her hair, stopped the coloring madness and did a sociological study of the ensuing fall-out. And then wrote a book about it. Bully for her.
My birthday fast approaching here in about a fortnight or so. Yippee.
It’s been quite a time for those of us wrestling with the persistently encroaching particles of middle-age.
Here’s what I've begrudgingly decided...
It happens. Part of life. Beats the alternative.
The lingering residue of that nasty case of the blues doesn’t seem to be coloring my perspective on all this aging madness. Thank goodness I’m able to compartmentalize my neuroses. It’s a gift, I tell you.
My immediate reaction to Mr. Pitt’s sob story was much like the rest of the world’s -- give me a freakin’ break, pal. You’re BRAD PITT-JOLIE.
But honestly, I have to cut the guy some slack. -- he and I are just about the same age, and while I have little sympathy for his plight (he’s not my type, but he still looks pretty damn good), I do have some empathy for where I think he’s coming from. From where he sits, his body is probably changing. Father Time be knock-knock-knockin’ on his door. As someone who makes their stock and trade partially on the physical aspects of their being, it’s undoubtedly a bit sobering. Brad and me -- we’re not spring chickens no mo’.
I had the ironic pleasure of reading one of the many media pieces about the Gray No More woman and her book at my hair salon while waiting for the color to work its magic on my grays. I’ve been coloring my hair for nearly 25 years, primarily to offset some serious premature graying. It’s genetic -- my mother went gray early herself and sported a jet black bouffant when I was a kid. She set herself free when she turned 40 and chose to live an au natural life regarding her hair. It works for her -- she is a gorgeous platinum, mature woman. Her real hair color is fabulous.
I’m hoping that underneath all my tint and dye that my grays are that great. My hair stylist figures I’m well over 50 percent gray. Not that I’m planning on finding that out for sure any time soon. Despite my genetics and Miss Gray No More’s pleasure with her decision, I still have a monthly appointment on my calendar for the color and trim. I’m just not ready to let go yet. I like being a brunette. It suits me. Honestly, though, my primary motivation in this little venture is Will. I’m the mother of a kindergartner, and an older mother at that. I sure as hell don’t need my gray hair garnering me an invite to Grandparents’ Day.
However, I had an experience recently which I conjure up in my mind whenever I get wigged out about that date on my driver’s license.
We had occasion to travel to Baltimore recently for the mister’s mother’s family reunion. An unexpected but most welcome serendipity put the Virgin Music Festival in town at the same time -- with the Police playing the last gig on Saturday. My MIL watched Will while the mister and I ventured down to Pimlico Race Track for the gig, planning on catching not only the Police but the Beastie Boys as well. Upon arrival, we realized that we were the minority for the evening, as I could have given birth to three-fourths of the fetuses in attendance. We looked like narcs -- the mister in khaki shorts and a short sleeve button down plaid shirt, me in what I thought was hip grown-up wear. HA! The dude in front of us wearing the t-shirt that said “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself” was more indicative of the primary fashion statements of the day.
As we stood in the dusty, dirty field, schivitzing like there was no tomorrow, waiting for the Police to take the stage, a group of twenty-somethings set up camp next to us. And proceeded to begin passing around what was to be the first of many joints. No biggie. I’ve seen it and smoked it myself, back in the day. Once Stewart Copeland and his mates took the stage, I immediately began singing and moving and grooving. About two songs in, I feel a tap on my shoulder -- it was one of our neighbors, offering me a hit off of their latest joint. Me. The old lady in the crowd. I politely, yet regretfully declined, as I had to go and see my MIL after the show, and she already pretty much can’t stand me as it is. But let me tell you -- I was sorry to have to say no.
I’m still a bit high from that anyway. I might be old, but I’m still cool. At least in some contexts. And when my joints ache in the morning as I start my day or when the mister calls me Cruella and asks when my hair appointment is, I’m going to remember that moment. And embrace the fact that it’s not the number of calendar pages that you’ve ripped off, but it’s your attitude that matters in this aging thing. And damn it, I’m cool. I had hipsters tell me so.