I’ve always loved gray hair nicely placed at the temples, particularly on men. The look is smart and crisp. It says, “I know things, life things.” I don’t reject the look on women either. It’s just hard pressed to find it as untouched, it’s usually colored or highlighted. Women don’t boast about their gray much, in my experience. In fact, for some ladies, it’s almost gauche to talk about graying or hot flashes or any symptom of aging. I think we women are taught to be embarrassed about it. I think we’re supposed to do it discreetly, with plenty of appointments to our hair dressers…she knows our bottled hair color by heart. I also think that it’s highly unfair not to be able to let it all go, at least for a moment and just be. There are so many products aimed towards keeping us looking at least 20 years younger, that I can’t help but wonder if we’re supposed to be ashamed of actually being 20 years older.
I need a touch-up on my temples. My gray is showing, but for some reason I’m not panicking yet. I have panicked in the past however, while looking at that older woman in my mirror and wondering when she arrived. But this time, I decided to let her hang around a bit before insisting that she hide her years, even if the evidence of age is somewhat subtle…somewhat. I decided to ask her a few questions while staring in her eyes and inspecting her skin for lines. I figured she could teach me a thing or two about life, survival, resilience, and patience. I was surprised at how calm the exchange feels now. No longer rushed and worried about what to do next. No longer in a flurry of activity after years of hopeful insistence of now. I can do now, like never before. The slightly more mature woman in my mirror has time for me like no one else, and I can glean from her life lessons. I’m glad she’s finally here.
I’d like to challenge you. The next time you see that older woman peeking back at you in your mirror and she takes you by surprise, don’t shoo her away so quickly. Don’t cover her with your best product and send her off to your stylist so soon. Stop, right out of the shower and look at her, appreciate her post-child bearing physicality. Compliment her, by not being ashamed of what you see. Only air-brushed super models get to pose nude without a care in the world. But we have the privacy of our bathroom mirrors and a moment of reflection and homage to the women that we are today…body, mind and soul. No matter how many years have passed, there is still defined and thoughtful beauty in being a woman.