Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mirrors, Mirrors Everywhere

On a sunny day last month, a neighbor and I wheeled her infant around a few blocks. We encountered another young mom, who after goo-gooing the baby, looked up from the stroller and wondered (unfortunately, aloud) if I was my friend's mother. In the white light of the sun, my graying hair ~ pulled back in a chic, funky aqua barrette; didn't she see the youthful barrette? ~ probably shone like Granny's frumpy bun on the Beverly Hillbillies.

A few months earlier, I was asked by a new neighbor, a middle-aged man, if I was my husband's mother. I envisioned a snappy comeback, "Haven't you ever known anyone who was prematurely gray?" Alas, when you're pushing sixty, you are not prematurely gray ~ you are right-on-time gray. What I actually said was, "Nice to meet you"; then I ran full-speed home and hoped he'd hear "How many old ladies do you know who can run this fast, Buster?" instead.

The other morning, my dog pulled me toward another young neighbor's dog and toddler on the sidewalk. During our chat about their recent family vacation, she mentioned, "A lot of people in your generation go there." Two days later, it occurs to me I could have then asked if the people in my generation go there for the mountain climbing, the parasailing, or the bungee jumping into active volcanoes. Oh, does my resentment show?

Sigh. The facts of life are sometimes hard to face. This gray-hair business is a tough transition for me. Coloring my hair is no longer an option for health reasons. When the jarring images were just between me and my mute bathroom mirror, they were easier. Now outside mirrors are speaking up. Their perceptions seem to be "goosing" me toward an old-age attitude. But I think I still have other choices, like remembering my value to God doesn't diminish as I age. Like remembering Proverbs 20:29, The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. So now, whenever I can muster the energy in my sagging arms to squeeze the bellows toward the smoldering ashes of my gray-haired life, I'll be a new woman.

Well, I'm going out now to buy some collagen cream and look up splendor in the dictionary. When I get back, I think I'll phone a colleague to ask if we can be LindedIn contacts. Then I'll probably have to ask her how to extend the invitation via the computer, which is of course the intended way to do this. Oh, yeah, then there's the digital-age transition. At least that doesn't involve mirrors.


Charlotte said...

I'm just now starting to see signs of gray hair show up like tares hiding amongst a wheat field. As much as like to play pretend that what I am seeing on top of my head are just pretty blond highlights, but they are not.

The one thing that bothers me are all the pretty famous women on televison who are searching for that fountain of youth. Some of them have choosen botox injections and managed to make themselves actually look like freaks of nature from a Steven King novel. I'm sure that Pricilla Presley or even Joan Van Ark would have a change of heart if they had to do it over again as they stare into a mirror. But I must give both these women kudos for not being afraid to walk out of the house and share their story. As for me I will keep my grey and my wrinkles as I look forward to aging gracefully.

Thanks Jane for your sweet comments on my blog which were a bright spot to my morning. The next time I update my links I will add a Amazon link for "Beyond Betrayal" which as a former art major and dog lover sounds like something that I really would enjoy reading.


P.S. Your dog is a masterpiece of beauty.

Bethany said...

Aunt Jane,

I love your hair. I love how your bright blue eyes shine in contrast. I love how you and all your siblings have decided to go all natural. And I love how we kicked booty riding 26(or was it more) miles along the Potomac river- one of my most favorite memories with you. I hope I will age as gracefully and beautifully as you.

This blog does remind me to be more sensitive in speaking with others. Recently I too have used the words "your generation" in speaking to co-workers. To me, it just seemed like the polite way to point out the obvious truth that we were different ages. But I am learning that even though we may be different ages, I should not jump to assumptions or stereotypes about them or any group of people...