Going Gray Gracefully & Loving It

How I overcame my fear of gray and embraced getting older getting better

Going gray gracefully… Oh please – there’s nothing graceful about getting older! Ok, that was my mindset some years back. But, now I am such an advocate for embracing the gray and enjoying the years as they pass by.

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.
Media often scares us into thinking getting older is awful. Our skin loses some elasticity, our hair grays, we will struggle to maintain a healthy weight unless we diet, diet, diet. We’ll become unstylish, our partners will want a younger model… blah, blah, blah.

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…

Time is a wonderful teacher in that we learn not to take ourselves too seriously. We start to relax a bit and know that if we are good people at our core most things work out well. The constant worry about how we look, how our kids are doing, and what people think is just a waste of time.

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

When did I realize that I was getting older, and how did I embrace it?
1. Going gray & loving it
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.
2. Empty nest to ikigai
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:
  • What you love
  • What you’re good at
  • What earns your money
  • What the world needs
  • You know, that’s exactly what I’m doing now. My business, which I share with my husband, allows us to feel fulfilled as individuals and as a couple.

    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/
    3. My appearance…
    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…

    Am I opposed to a bit of extra help? (i.e. botox.) No… not now. But ask me 5 years ago and I would have been all about the totally natural look. Four years ago I thought, what the heck, let’s give it a go. I went for botox – the most minimal and least invasive type I could get.

    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

    1. Dress age-appropriate I’m a designer, it would be criminal for me not to address what you wear! Now, I’m not saying dress your age… You can wear whatever you like. But, in my opinion, there is a limit. If I see a lady in her late forties or fifties, and she’s dressed the same as her 20-year-old daughter, I’m sorry but usually, I will cringe. This is often because the younger generation tends to follow trends more, perhaps show a little more skin. So, choose style over fashion trends and hone your look – take a look at my other blogs linked below to see where I’m coming from.
    2. Focus on what’s important To me, these are the things outside of our physical being. They are our family and friends, creating memories, being kind and generous, laughing, and not taking ourselves too seriously. We shouldn’t get wrapped up in how others are living their lives. Choose to be inspired rather than jealous. Celebrate the wins of those around you and work hard to achieve your goals. Every accomplishment no matter how small is fulfilling your life. Take pride in those things and don’t let others bring you down.
    3. Never stop trying new things
    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!

    Now, it’s over to you. All of our journeys are different, you simply need to focus on getting better with age. Embrace it and find your own way to love it. If you have any thoughts, opinions, or experiences, please don’t hesitate to share them with me (or the wonderful people around you).


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       About me  

    I founded Heidi Carey in 2016 with a simple goal: To create beautiful, timeless accessories for my friends and their friends. I understood who they were at their core, and what types of things we all were looking for as we all moved along in our lives. It’s why my pieces are conceived for the woman who values both elegance and understatement; versatility and superb value.