After months of debating, with myself and others, I have finally taken the big plunge. I tossed the hair color out the proverbial window and, listening to my instincts, I am determined to go grey! Absolutely, you read right. I am going grey and will enjoy the ride.
We all remember the television ads from the 1960s: does she or doesn’t she? Coloring one’s hair was a matter of appearing as natural as possible, never admitting to it and continue doing for as long as one lived. Most every woman of a certain age did and pretended not to. Who did those ladies believe they were kidding? Until what age does one’s hair stay a youthful shade? Apparently, they thought it was a forever thing!
Now, there has always been women that colored their hair. Egyptians were the first to used hair color: a rich reddish tone achieved with henna. In Ancient Greece, hair color was very popular. Noblewomen tinted their hair red, middle class women colored their hair blonde, and poor women colored it black. Roman matrons used anything from henna to saffron to beechwood ashes. It was never an easy process and there were many mishaps, burned scalps and such. In the Middle Ages, hair color was widely used and women kept their recipes a secret. I seem to recall reading about Lucrezia Borgia’s hair coloring recipe: dried dregs of white wine with olive oil combed through the hair then sitting in the sun until it dried. It was supposed to give you beautiful golden tresses and awful headaches! Through the ages women have used cinnamon, as well as lemon juice, chamomile and marigold.
So, the fact that women today dye their hair in every color and shade is a long and very cherished tradition. I have been doing it for years. At times, I didn’t remember what color I started with! We will not go into the different stages, suffice to say that when we moved to Miami ten year ago, I decided to go blonde. Not the kind you achieve with a lengthy hair salon process of highlights and lowlights and all that mess. Slowly, I became a blonde, of course I had help once in a while from professionals, but mostly I did it myself. I applied a lighter shade every time my roots showed and kept my hair rather short. Went to the pool and let the sun help the process. It worked and I loved it!
Being blonde did not come without the usual mistakes, the shade was not always the same, too light or not light enough. I figured this happens with any color and to everyone. As for having more fun, that is a matter of opinion. Overall, I enjoyed the attention….until everyone accepted the fact!
With everything we do, every change we make in our appearance, we can hit a plateau. I got tired of the coloring, the retouch every couple of weeks. Then my hair started to fall. All sorts of tests were ordered. My endocrinologist was sure it was my thyroid (it was!!!) and I was put on medication. The hair continued to fall, it was thinner and thinner. I was not very happy. A decision had to be made since my hair fell even more on the day I colored it. Hairstylists tell you that is not supposed to happen…whatever. I knew what I saw every time I touched up those roots. It was time for another change.
I tried a couple of times, but gave in to my husband and daughter’s reasoning: “you are too young to go grey/gray”, “why are you going to do during all the time it would take to grow the color out?” and so on and on. This time I was determined. About six weeks ago, September 2nd, I colored my hair for the last time.
I was traveling to Panama to see my mother and, why not?…I was not going to be socializing for three weeks. Perfect. While there, I had very light highlights done. One of my sisters loved it and said it looked great. I could pull it off, she said. The other one is waiting for results. Neither one of them will join me in this experiment!
I am doing fine, so far. Have not had an urge to dye my hair….yet, but every time I go to the beauty salon everyone tries to convince me. Most of my friends have not seen me, but the ones that have are mostly supportive (they would not do it themselves, though!). They cannot understand why I am doing it….but I know. It was time to toss that bottle and listen to my inner grey panther. I will go grey without letting myself go. After all, look at Helen Mirren and Christine Lagarde. Will keep you posted!!
I am not good a taking selfies, it seems….but you get the point. This is how it looks at the moment!
As I closed my last blog, turned the page, sort of speak….I promised myself I would start another and be more positive. Actually, this is what I wrote: It’s a new era, a new dawn…..nothing dramatic or earthshaking…just life changing!!!”
It took me a while, but here I am. Had to come up with the idea to anchor my blog. The fact is that we have been daughters, wives, mothers, friends, lovers, caregivers. We have done everything required of us and more. We have put our dreams and our goals on hold for family and friends, husbands and lovers, aging parents and demanding children. What have we got in return? Well, some would say we have the satisfaction of having done our duty. Or we should feel at peace with ourselves. All that is good and personally rewarding, but don’t you feel sometimes we deserve better? don’t you feel we have the right to expect some palpable recognition? I do…..Sorry, but we are human and there is nothing wrong with that. I am not going to wait to get it from others, I will make my own reward. So here it is…
Let’s be realistic. In my age group, we have more years behind us that we have in front of us. Unless there is a medical development I do not know of, we are not going to live another 50 or 60 years! Then, we have to put our foot down…we will live the rest of our lives as we want. It will be marvelous! Do what you always wanted to do…why not?
Go places you wanted to visit, even if it is the museum in the next town…….travel farther if it is possible. Remember when you wanted to take a cruise or walk at night along the Seine, or spend time in a Tuscan town, an English village or a Caribbean beach? Well, do it! why not?
Were you interested in painting, photography or pottery making? Do you think you want to explore your artistic side? Go for it! There are classes and groups and clubs that encourage all those things, right there in your city or town. I have a friend in Maryland who just had her first photography exhibition in Annapolis. So you see….why not?
Do you keep journals? why not publish your memoirs? We all have something to say, share your experiences. Do you think you can tell a story? or have you been told you are a storyteller? why not put that in writing? It is so easy nowadays to get your work on the internet. I wrote a book and started a blog at an age when others are thinking of retiring. So, why not?
Have you been called the life of the party? do your friends laugh out loud at your witty comments? Start a blog, share your wit and your humor. Remember, laughter is the best medicine and is side-effect free! Gather your thoughts and start writing! People love to be entertained. So, why not?
Do you love to cook or have a knack for organizing events? are your parties always well attended because nobody wants to miss them? Do your friends ask you for advise when buying clothes? Do you get compliments about your garden or your home? Then consider doing this….a hobby that can bring an income! Besides, if you love it, you’ll be great at it. So, why not?
Now, whatever you decide to do, do with flair, with passion. These are the best years of your life because the only person you have to please now is you! Go out and get the most out of the rest of your life!!! WHY NOT?
To achieve this, I think I have come up with a formula: TOSS and LISTEN.
TOSS: so important to leave behind anything that will impede progress. Get rid of things that are not useful anymore, be it casseroles or relationships that drag us down.
LISTEN: more important still is to open ourselves up to the new, be it attitudes, opinions or friendships.
This is my why not way and I will share my progress with you. Hope to see you here often and hear from you as well. Let’s Toss and Listen together!!