Aging Gracefully

A few years ago, when I turned fifty-nine, I created a vision board for myself. I had a passport (check), new SUV (check), pictures of a happy and growing hoard of grandchildren (check), an exercise routine (semi check) and a picture of a svelte woman – stylish white hair, perfect nails, perfect petite eyebrows, perfect tailored outfit and an overall look of confident and mature elegance. My husband asked who the woman was and I declared, “that is the future me”. He seemed skeptical but I had a plan to pull it all together.

My first step was to get my eyebrows under control. I went to a spa, explained to the cosmetologist that I wanted my eyebrows waxed and most importantly, that I am seriously allergic to tea tree oil. Four hours later, I came out of the emergency room with a bottle of antihistamines, a bottle of steroids, steroid cream and a couple of extra asthma inhalers for good measure. When the swelling went down and my eyebrows grew back, my daughter-in-law suggested I get my eyebrows threaded. That went well until my ‘threader’ finished my eyebrows and wiped my entire face with tea tree oil. Needless to say, the eyebrows are staying.

Next, I decided to focus on the svelte body. I exercised faithfully, invested in gym equipment and followed a great diet plan. I had two results. I lost ten of the forty pounds I needed to lose and I shrank down an inch and a half. I did, and still do, have the overall classic body structure of a Cabbage Patch kid.

With little graceful aging happening on the body end of things, I decided to work on my hair. It should be white, it would be white, had I not gotten into a serious relationship with Miss Clairol long ago. I warned my husband, who once again seemed skeptical, but said it was my hair. I warned my boss, who looked at me and asked what I planned to do with my eyebrows. Seriously? Anyway, I went home to Google ‘how to wash decades of dye out of ones hair’, as I was reluctant to go to a salon to be exposed to strong chemicals or, heaven forbid, tea tree oil. The short answer is, you do not wash decades of dye out of your hair. I tried a number of methods that weekend. I am pretty sure, my hair got darker. I finally broke down and went for a simple haircut, which somehow made me look less mature than when I started this make-over.

I still have the nails and wardrobe to work on. I am waiting for winter for the nails. Currently, I spend too much time digging in dirt with my bare hands to maintain a manicure. I could check out a new wardrobe anytime, but every time I go near a shopping centre I end up spending my money on the cutest clothes and footwear for my grandchildren. To be honest, at my age, do I really need to be trussed up in tailored, dry clean only, outfits? I rather enjoy my long sweatshirts, leggings and sneakers.

At the end of the day, I am not the woman in the picture on my vision board and I doubt if I ever will be. I am not svelte or elegant or perfectly coiffed. That has never been me, so why now? Retirement should be a time to be active and happy and comfortable with who one is. This is me and I am comfortable, so that is what I am going with.

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