essays

Gray Hair Isn't What Ages Us

gray hair womanA woman at work who is about my age complimented me on my hair this week and said she would go gray except that she competes with younger folks at work. I said, well, I do too, but I'm pretty sure they know how old we are. I'd rather just be in their face about it.

I don't think we project our most positive vibes when age and try to pretend it hasn't happened. Hell, yeah, it happened. And you'd better be glad it did, because I am that much better because of it. I'd much rather project the confidence of someone who has learned from life, is exceptional at her job and comfortable in her skin. Hide? I don't think so.

Hair is just one variable in how you are perceived. We are also judged by how we dress, what we say and even how we walk. A colleague was describing someone to me the other day, and he said, "You know, he looks like the dead guy walking." And I knew exactly who he was talking about.

I was reading Move Into Life, a book about becoming even more vital both mentally and physically as we age. It's kind of groovy -- not for everyone -- but the stretching exercises alone are worth the price of admission. I find myself walking with more spring in my step. Gray hair isn't aging -- but aging is aging gray hair womanif you don't pay attention to your body and mind.

Yesterday I was shopping for a new bicycle. My hair was down and freshly blown, and I wore workout tights and my Rock the Silver t-shirt -- thinking I might do a test ride. The guy who runs the shop was probably my age or a bit older. He was pointing out a bike and said, "You're young and fit -- you won't grow out of this bike."

All day I kept thinking, he said I was young! I've stated quite frequently that I don't care if I look young, but still, it's better than if he had said, "You're getting on up there, and you won't need this bike for long." I asked my husband later if the guy was just flirting to sell me a bike. I mean I've got this crop of gray hair and wrinkles to match, surely he didn't really think I'm young?

My husband said, "Nah, it's how you come across. You seem young. That's probably what he meant."

Maybe they were both flirting.

 

Donna Pekar authors a blog called Rock the Silver, about aging with panache. It's about being fearlessly gray and relentlessly cool.

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