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Aging: Agony or Acceptance?

by Christine@TheAums on April 12, 2012 · 23 comments

This week’s iVoices topic is aging and features Andrea, JennyBeth, and my gray hair.

In case you don’t believe me, here’s a closeup:

See, there’s no denying…I have gray hairs. Lately it seems like that’s all I anyone talks about. Whether I’m at a family party or waiting in line, my hair seems to make for a great conversation starter. It invites folks to compliment me on being brave, roll their eyes at how few grays they think I have, or offer solutions to my “problem.”

I noticed my first grey hair at age 25 and immediately had a flashback to 10-year-old me. See, throughout my childhood I witnessed women of all ages in my family dying their canas (‘grey hair’ in Spanish). Sometimes helping each other in the bathroom, sometimes going to a salon, but always making sure to cover their roots. For whatever reason, I vividly remember saying to myself, “I’m never going to dye my hair. I’m going to let it go gray naturally.” I also said I would never clean toilets, and we know how that turned out, but so far I’ve stuck to my guns about the hair.

I’m boring like that. I’ve actually never really experimented with my hair unless you count that horrible perm in 5th grade and some unfortunate sun-in spray in 8th grade. I simply liked the idea of growing old naturally, gracefully. Not fighting it, but embracing it.

Anytime I saw those “Beauty At Any Age” articles in magazines, I always paid attention to the oldest woman’s picture and words of wisdom. Still do. I collected quotes that said growing old was a privilege and laugh lines meant you were happy and laughed a lot throughout life. Makes sense to me!

But I didn’t always accept my graying hair gracefully, especially at 25 when I least expected it. I used to pluck because who knew they would suddenly appear, all short, wiry, and untameable? Plucking didn’t seem so bad in the beginning, but that changed fast when I went through post partum hair loss (4 times!) and dealt with thinning hair and a receding hairline. At that point, I couldn’t afford to lose any more and it was all I could do to save each and every hair, no matter how thick, wiry, and gray.

Sometimes I wish I could speed up the salt and pepper process and just have one even, silver color. Some days I look in the mirror and wish I hadn’t. When I start to waiver in my decision, I usually put a hat on and I do have quite the hat collection going. I also just think about all the time and money I’m saving by letting it go.

I guess you could say dying my hair is a hard limit (look at me making a 50 Shades of Grey reference), and while I’m at it, so is plastic surgery, Botox, and the like. I do wear sunscreen and buy quality products for my skin so I’m not completely letting aging win. But aging healthily is my goal and I hope the simple basics of exercise, sleep, and water will help with that endeavor, not that I do those things regularly. I also hope my daughters will learn something positive from me, whatever that may be. Perhaps they, too, will make secret promises to their 10-year-old selves.

So, I’m dying to know (oh, how I love a good pun)…Is anyone out there planning on going gray naturally? Anyone? Anyone?

 

This isn’t the first time I talk about going gray. Read about my Salt and Pepper to learn how my kids practice their numbers.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole April 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

You already know this: I’m with you on letting the grey happen. We’ll see how strong my conviction is in a year.

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Christine@TheAums April 14, 2012 at 10:27 am

Nicole, I’ll be happy to wallow in aging misery with you over drinks of your choice!

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liz @ The Six Year Itch April 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

I’m definitely not letting my grey in, but I will welcome wrinkles. Aging doesn’t bother me, but boring hair does. And of course your hair is not boring. It tells a story and that’s fabulous!
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Christine@TheAums April 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

The wrinkles are a little harder for me to accept, go figure…not that I’m doing anything about them other than sunscreen, moisturizer stuff. As far as hair goes…I’m trying to get creative with different hair tutorials I see on Pinterest, but I’m pretty hairstyle-challenged.

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Elizabeth April 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have been unable to remove myself from the “agony” camp on aging. I find it distressing to be starting to look old…. I expect to look old when I AM old, not when I’m 33! To me, wrinkles and grey hair should happen to people in their 50s and 60s, NOT 30s! So it’s been hard for me. Which, I know, is extremely superficial, petty, and vain. Yet I can’t seem to convince myself to embrace aging, at least in the physical realm.
Perhaps because I still feel young at heart and in spirit, and genuinely embrace life (when the kids aren’t zapping it out of me), it is hard to look in the mirror and be reminded of aging and eventually, death. I have decades and decades of life left – if I am so lucky – and I don’t want to be reminded of the ticking clock.
And, to be perfectly blunt, I am vain. :)
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Christine@TheAums April 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Oh Elizabeth, I really do believe feeling young at heart and spirit goes a long way in slowing down the aging process. Of course the kids are counteracting that, but still, keep that kid at heart alive!

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Trish April 13, 2012 at 9:50 am

Not me. I probably had the amount of grey her at 20 that you have now. That was just too young for me to let it go. So I’ve been covering my grey for over 20 years. At this point, I have to believe my natural hair color is grey. I don’t think there is any pepper in there. I have long hair and I think growing it out would be an ugly, long process. Chopping it off is not an option (that’s my hard limit). Also? I don’t want grey hair. I don’t think it would look pretty on me. That’s not to say women don’t look lovely with grey hair – they absolutely do! Just not this mama. Maybe in another 20+ years.
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Christine@TheAums April 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I am a bit worried how it will end up looking on me to be all gray, or even just saltier. Like will my eyebrows turn gray too…how does that work?

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Lisa Dyer April 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

Of course, I am not as vested in letting my hair color turn shades of gray naturally. I attempt to color myself to save money, but I would say 6 months out of the year I am naturally letting it happen by default as coloring my hair takes a back seat to all the things on my plate! :)

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Christine@TheAums April 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Exactly…with everything on my plate, I’d end up going gray naturally most of the time anyway!

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Runnermom-jen April 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

I have never dyed my hair and never will. My son pointed out a gray hair to me a couple of weeks ago and I nearly cried. But, no, definitely not dying it.
P.S. all the ladies in the video are gorgeous…just like you :)
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Christine@TheAums April 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Thank you Jen…you are too kind :) I’m impressed…4 kids and just 1 gray hair pointed out? I use my hair as part of our homeschooling curriculum…teaching them to count to 100 at least!

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Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I am struggling with this too! I also wanted to never dye my hair, but some days I think maybe henna wouldn’t be so bad…? But hey, I haven’t even gotten my hair cut in over a year, so my gray hairs are probably safe ;) And yes, hats are a great coping technique.

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Christine@TheAums April 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Believe me, I once considered using henna the same as going gray “naturally.” All I know is it’s a slippery slope and I’d like to think 10 year old me knew what she was talking about.

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HapaMama April 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I always thought I’d let myself go gray naturally… just like I thought I’d be a great mom– before I had kids. I’ve started going the tint route, because I don’t want to have the shoe polish look or the hard line at the roots. But at some point I’m going to let the gray come out. Just not sure when!
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Christine@TheAums April 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Oh the things we thought before the kids actually came along. Although I’m sure you have the great mom stuff down…gray or not!

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Stasha April 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I like the idea of going grey naturally but I always dyed my hair anyway so who knows…
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Christine@TheAums April 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm

It’s so easy to like the idea before it actually starts happening. I’m hoping by declaring it on vlogs and blogs I’ll stick to my 10 year old guns.

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Jessica April 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Hmmm. Well, you know I want to say that I will grey naturally. I want to say that I will accept my greys as par for course of a life well spent. But. Honestly? I think I’ll dye my greys if they get “out of hand” before I’m really ready for them, or by the time I’m 60.

I have two greys that I know of around my temples. I hardly see them because I usually henna my hair. Henna, in case you don’t know, is a natural dye that comes from a plant.

So. Yeah. I guess the answer is “it depends.” It depends on whether I’m really ready to go grey when my hair actually is grey. Does that make sense? :)
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Christine@TheAums April 16, 2012 at 1:08 am

If I ever give up on going gray naturally, I’m sure I’ll turn to henna first. In the meantime, I have seen some lovely results from clear glazes (I’m not sure what they are officially called) on my friend who is salt and pepper. It just gives the dull grays a boost of shine and that is something I’m willing to consider at some point.

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Leah July 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I love your hair! I plan to let my grey hair shine & hopefully I will feel good about it when I get there. I think wrinkles are beautiful & show that u smiled, laughed, & lived! I wished we honored our elders like the Native Americans. Let’s make ageing fashionable!

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Christine@TheAums July 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thanks, Leah…I love your attitude about aging! And I agree whole-heartedly. Not that I don’t have my bad days here and there…but overall, I want to age naturally, gracefully, healthfully, happily.

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