Going Gray Gracefully & Loving It
How I overcame my fear of gray and embraced
getting older getting better
You may have noticed that I never refer to it as “getting older” – that comes with far too many negative connotations. I prefer to say “getting better”.
Because that’s exactly what I believe.
Unfortunately, I’m well aware that many women don’t have the same outlook. They fall victim to seeing age as a bad thing… often resorting to clinging onto the past, or choosing to dress and behave in such a way that it makes them appear and feel younger. Personally, I think this has the opposite effect.
And then there’s that whole being a mum with grown-up kids, or a grandmother is all we are… Well, I say, “To hell with that!” We are still us. Inside we are the same person as we were when we were 25. Actually no… We are BETTER!
We have life experience, we are blessed with memories and fuller relationships. We have had the time to learn about ourselves, discover who we really are, and embrace it. So, this blog isn’t only about your hair going gray (though, that is a big part of it). It’s about finding the joy in each year that passes.
It’s about looking forward to celebrating each birthday. And it’s about inspiring you to embrace each milestone… making the most of everything that comes along.
Time is a wonderful teacher…
Where does it really get us? Sleepless nights perhaps, more down days than up? Time allows us to figure out what’s truly meaningful. The things that should be held onto with a grip so tight it turns our knuckles white… as well as the things we need to let go of.
My approach to going gray gracefully
The first and most obvious thing to me was the gray hair. I dyed mine religiously for years, not wanting to lose those gorgeous dark locks I felt blessed with through my youth. And, I’m not opposed to dying hair. Really! I’m more than happy to vouch for anyone who is comfortable in doing so until you literally can’t take it anymore.
That’s what happened to me. I just got fed up with doing it. So, my wonderful husband persuaded me to give my gray hair a go. I trust his judgment on many things, so I took the plunge.
And, let me tell you, I never had so many compliments before. Even now, people don’t hesitate to express their adoration for my hair. That rarely happened when I donned my natural & not-so-natural brunette! I’ve also come to love it too. Not just because others do, but because I’ve realized how elegant and stylish I truly feel being gray.
If like me you are a mother of grown-up children, you’ll have experienced an empty nest. It can be tough letting go of your kids. Not only do you have to let them live their lives as they please – hoping you’ve taught them enough to survive in the ‘big, bad world’ – but you suddenly feel all alone.
Yeah, even with my husband being at home, the quietness of the house hit me. However, I chose not to feel negative about it. Instead, I found a way to bring meaning to my life, without relying on motherhood.
Of course, you can fill your time with general hobbies… but finding something that boosts your self-worth and helps you to lead a more meaningful life is powerful stuff. The Japanese call it ikigai. Your ‘reason for being’. It’s about finding what brings you joy and inspires you to get up in the morning. Though, in our Western culture, it’s more common to relate it to your career. Breaking it down to doing:
Aside from watching our children grow and being there when they need us, we don’t rely on them to have a purpose in life. They were our purpose once, and we feel truly blessed to have had that/
Ah yes, the wrinkles, the sagging, the weight, the dress sense. All those things that we fear are going to ‘ruin’ us. Honestly, who wants to spend a life staring in the mirror wondering what the hell happened?! Come on, it’s inevitable and it shouldn’t be something that controls how we feel about ourselves. We need to love the changes we go through, be confident about who we are, and be ready for the next phase in our physical alterations.
By no means am I talking about ‘letting oneself go’… Oh no, we still need to take care of ourselves. Just be realistic. I hate exercise. Working out is literally the worst. But do I do it? Yeah, in my own way. I play tennis, I do yoga – I do the bare minimum to ensure I maintain a healthy weight and metabolism. Not to be skinny, but to be fit and able to enjoy my life. Have the energy to dance, feel comfortable in the clothes I love to wear.
Getting plenty of sleep, a good 8-9 hours, and eating everything I want to as it’s not “crap” – which means relatively wholesome (or non-processed). You know what, food and sleep make me very happy, so I make sure to have plenty of both.
Let’s get a little controversial…
Do I regret it?
Sometimes I wish I’d have been completely happy without it. But, you know what, I love what it’s done to my skin and I don’t feel any less like me. I know I talk about being confident and comfortable in who you are. And I still would be without the boost. But, I like it and I chose it for myself. If people judge me on that, that’s their prerogative. Do what makes you happy, just do it for you 🙂
A few pointers for going gray gracefully
I believe you keep yourself young by saying yes to more. It’s easy to get stuck in your ways, and if you like it there, that’s fine… But, I’d argue that you’re simply keeping your safety belt on. We are gifted with the chance to fill our lives with experiences like no other species. Wouldn’t it be awful if we didn’t grab that opportunity by the horns?
It’s time to enjoy getting better!