The Vanity of Silver vs. Grey–A Year’s Change

Posted 12/15/2008—One day before the BIG SIX-OH-DEAR!  Followed by a 2009 post

It’s not so much that I’m touting my birthday—assuming that I don’t die tonight—but today is my final day of being in my fifties. I may be sad. No, maudlin. Somewhat reflective. Kind of happy. But not really.    


Two months ago I did something I thought that I would never do. I’m letting my natural hair color grow out. Baby, that’s a freaking reality check. Thursday I either cut it to the one-inch grey and white natural color (a chic post-cancer treatment look), or I continue this subtle weave thing that blends the red remains with the grey and white business.  
   Why all this? I’m without a reasonable reply. It is, however, me and how I’ve approached whatever gifts and un-gifts that I came in with—or sort a of love it or leave thing. I’ve had to love it because I can’t leave it.    

 I’m not the first of friends and family crossing that six-oh-dear line. I won’t be the last. For two years I’ve written about it, which was okay because…my hair wasn’t grey (?) so it didn’t seem real? No intelligent answer comes forth.    

   So what to do? Pay tribute to my hair in all its incarnations from my first birthday on. To be continued.  Photos:
Piano birthday-girl–My first birthday.

 Red cowboy hat third birthday. 

“Heidi” in a birthday mood someplace near Wrightwood, CA.

 Bookstore mama with Big Bird wishing me a happy 50-something birthday.    


From December 2009   Silly me. I believed that by letting my hair return to its natural color (silver?) I would naturally progress along the Sage Woman’s path. This return-to-natural began a year ago, as I approached the big six-oh-dear! day in December.  

Six months later I saw a photo of me and my natural hair color. Shock! Horror! No Way! The seedier side of my personality groused something like, “Blank this s..t! I’m off to the hairdresser now.”And then my sage-ier side leaped forward and argued the enviromental and C02 issues, and a muffled voice whimped “Your silver shows wisdom.” Seedier side yelled, “Screw wisdom! I’m not going old!”   

 Meanwhile my young hairdresser wrapped my shoulders with her plastic cape, ran her hands through my thick hair, commented about what wonderful condition it is in, and asked “What do you have in mind today?”   

 Seedy Charmaine and Sagey Charmaine met in the middle. “Light weave as close to the brown hair in the back as possible. Leave some silver as highlights.”   

 I left Pacific Hair Design twenty years younger–in my mind.   

 So I’m living in this 60 is the new 40 mind set. Spouse and I make regular visits to the local tennis courts where I envision myself gracefully leaping through the air while my brown locks glisten in the sun and glorify my fashionable tennis attire.   

That’s just a dirty mind-trick. My tennis attire is the baggiest shorts and t-shirts I own so as to accomodate the near-mummy wrapping over my wrists, knee and ankle. No hair shows because I wear a full hat to keep evil sunlight from my face and eyes. I’m glad we play during school hours because I would frighten anyone under age 16. “Mommy, Mommy, a big fat mummy is on the tennis courts!”    

Yet I remain firm in my youth. Well, until last night–a five-finger count from my six-one-oh-dear-day.   

A younger news editor commented on the state of the proposed health care bill and discussed the expansion of Medicare to 55-year-olds. He said, “I don’t know if this proposal to serve THE ELDERLY….”   

 WTF! The ELDERLY! At 55! I don’t think so. Doesn’t he know that the new 55 is 35–probably his age, and that he’s the new 15.   

 Unless one dies young, aging happens. I remember my 35th birthday, and then that 40th birthday, and then that 50th birthday and then that 60th birthday. The only changes are the numbers (well maybe that along with some extra aspirin and Ben-Gay), some silvery strands on the head and the will to stay relevant.   


























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