Graying gracefully

Or, going salt-and-pepper in a Clairol world

Ever since watching a video the other day of the woman who’s had the most plastic surgeries in the world, I’ve been thinking about aging.

Specifically, about me aging.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve thought about going gray ever since my mother began coloring her hair years ago.

Specifically, I vowed not to.

“You’ll change your mind, Ellen,” she predicted. “Just wait until the gray starts coming in and you look old.”

Looking old. That’s the problem. Like everyone else, I maintain that I’m the same person inside. I may have changed some of my opinions, sure —  may have even actually abandoned some previously held notions due to two strange things that seems to have happened to me: namely, wisdom and experience.

That said, though — I can still relate to the thin, dark-brown-haired 22-year-old version of myself. I remember much of what I thought and felt at the time. Then, my life was before me. Now, a good chunk of it is over. Yet youthful optimism has not left me, despite the slings ’n’ arrows of outrageous fortune and other Shakespearian tragedies that I have endured.

So what’s all that white stuff in my hair? Do I look old?

Strangely, I don’t think so. Or more specifically, it doesn’t scare me and I don’t think it looks bad. Those coarse gray hairs have brought a little curl with them. The variations in color give my bushy head some depth. They add a little — dare I say it? — style to my general appearance that I think looks pretty good with the cowboy-boot-and-swinging-serape thing that I’ve had going on the last few years.

I’m starting to think how hip it might be to look like a colorful old broad with a lot of life left in her. Seriously, I realize I’m not really breaking new ground here. Like everything else that’s happened to me in the last 10 years, many Boomers already got there first and their brand of aging with style has already become well-documented — particularly in car commercials and ads for erectile dysfunction medications.

But no matter. I’ve already taken a tip from the best of them. Several years ago, a friend who’s about 10 years older than I told me what she found so great about turning 50. She no longer cared what people thought. She’d emancipated herself, she confided, from the shackles of others’ negative opinions. She’d do what she liked, wear what pleased her and generally divorced herself from the crippling tyranny of the judgmental disapproval of others.

So I thought, hey I’ll beat the rush and start not giving a damn now. By the time I’m 50 I’ll have gotten the hang of it perfectly.

So that’s pretty much what I’ve done.

I should add here that I certainly do care what I say or do, if it hurts others’ feelings. I’m not talking about blazing through life like I’m the only person that matters.

No, I’m talking about dressing to please myself, listening to the music I enjoy, going against the grain and completely avoiding television and maintaining a completely oblivious state when it comes to either college or professional sports.

And letting my hair go gray.

Sure, like Mom predicted, I might change my mind if I indeed start looking too old. But I figure by the time that day comes, I’ll actually be old, instead of just being a little gray and a little wide in the butt.

As my 40s spin out and 50 seems more and more to be an actual age I’ll become one day, I see also the possibilities of 60. As my mom heads toward 70, somehow that doesn’t seem like the end of the world either. And as I glance at my now-age-spotted hands, I don’t see imperfections, I see the hands of my grandmother — hands I loved dearly and miss every day of my life.

And becoming like her … well, that’s not so scary either.

A throbbing pain in the blog

It’s pretty amusing to peek behind the scenes at your own blog, where you can see just how and why people read your pearls of wisdom.

For example, today I see:

Top Searches
throbbing pain left foot

When presented with information such as this, I don’t know whether to clap my hands delightedly or weep for humanity. Because, of course, the post that brought whomever here to Chez NouveauSoileau, was my completely non-medically informed post about my ouchie foot.

But I made the mistake of including an official-looking graphic of the bones of the foot and throwing in a term that I thought had had made up but no, it turns out to describe an actual medical condition, metatarsalitis. So persons unknown trying to find out what is up with THEIR ouchie feet might well indeed click upon my blog and, I fear, come away unsatisfied as to the cause of their malady.

However — and this is the hand-clappy part — something drew them away from their medically important task and made them want to read my blog, NouveauSoileau, your purveyor of all that is mundane and pointless. And, let us not forget this, completely worth the money you’ve paid to read the aforementioned frivolity whenever the mood strikes me to add something to it.

Which could be more often, I admit.

But in fact, “metatarsalitis” is the top term that people have used to land on my blog, quickly followed by “Old Gringo,” “bones in the left foot,” “joe doe restaurant nyc,” and “neighbor peeing.”

Neighbor peeing. This I don’t want to think about. Yes, I’ve used the term peeing and apparently at some point a referenced a neighbor, but the two words didn’t skip hand-in-hand down my sentence structure, so why anyone would take the momentous step to click here, I have no idea. Perhaps someone is advancing our knowledge as a species by doing earnest research into the neighbor urination situation, yes, a burning issue of our time.

Another goody I found amongst the search terms was how much are goopy apex seals, but, disappointingly, this had nothing to do with with a complex and important debate raging worldwide regarding plump and firm apex seals vs. the goopy kind. And what about poor nadir seals. Was anyone Googling them?

Turns out that over the course of two or three posts I had indeed used those six words, but again, not in a sentence. So why on earth would someone trying to purchase car parts wander away from this important mission and start reading about why I think boots are the absolute apex of shoe-ownership, goopy delicious Bryer’s ice cream, and some sort of half-baked theory on having a disability seal of approval in order to ride in a scooter around the grocery store?

Another — and perhaps more important — burning issue of our time.