It started with one gleaming grey hair. Sure, everyone has that moment when they look in the mirror and see a hair that, heretofore, was a completely normal color. It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming. I just thought I wouldn’t have it for another 10 years.
See, most of my Dad’s family has gone grey relatively early. By my age, my dad was extremely grey. But not my mom. My mom is 60 and still only has a few grey hairs, while my dad is practically white-headed. When I made it to 30 with nary a grey I thought the coast was clear. But there it was, quite obvious in the Tampa International Airport restroom mirror. A grey hair. But only one. So outwardly I remained calm. I can pass for mid 30s (I think) so I felt I should maintain a sense of decorum about one lousy grey.
But I’m also at the age where years of sun worship are showing. Crow’s feet and a chest wall that looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. Okay. Fine. I just try to keep the chest tan in the summer and covered the rest of the year. No problem. And who doesn’t have crow’s feet when they smile? Speaking of smiling, there are also the smile lines. I used to think they were just smiles lines anyway, until I realized that if I look closely in the mirror there is an actual line visible even when I’m not smiling. Hmmm.
I once did a profile of a young plastic surgeon new to a local healthcare system and he told me during the course of our interview that he could usually tell what side of their face people sleep on just by looking at them. Well thanks a lot Dr. Cherukuri, because now I can’t stop thinking of that and the smile line on the right side of my face is definitely deeper than the one on the left. F*&@!
Adding to my aging woes are my sagging eyelids. It’s genetic. My mom had already had an eyelid lift by the time she was my age. And I’m not spilling any family secrets here because a) I don’t think she reads my blog and b) I don’t think she would care if I told you about it. One way I know for sure that my eyelids are actually saggy is that when I’m looking straight at myself they are touching my eyelashes. The other way I know they’re saggy is that I bought some liquid gel eyeliner and attempted the cat-eye look, only when I opened my eyes the cat part disappeared.
As I’ve been observing these phenomena a few more grey hairs have appeared.
Which has led me to think about how I feel about aging. The more I think about it the less I know how I feel about it. Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts:
• Well, hell, it’s inevitable.
• Only you are looking at your face in a mirror from two inches away. No one else is looking that closely.
• You can still pass for your mid 30s.
• Holy crap, I look like a 40 year old mother!
• How much would it cost to get an eyelid lift?
• What if I got an eyelid lift and could no longer close my eyes like that woman I saw on Night Line?
• You know what? I like getting older because I feel a lot more secure about myself and care a whole lot less what other people think. That’s pretty cool.
• Three or six grey hairs is not a crisis.
• Beauty has nothing to do with age.
• Does that little wand that claims to get rid of undereye circles really work?
• You are spending way too much time thinking about this.
• Who wants to be 25 again anyway?
In truth, I feel silly complaining. It’s just that for the first time I am older than my clients, older than some vendors I work with, older than some of my employees and even older than most of the other moms at daycare. But on the flip side, the benefits of being older are pretty good. I have a husband and a family. I own a house. I’ve got a career I love. And I’m not exactly circling the drain. I’m 39 for chrissakes.
I don’t want to be one of those people who freaks out about turning 40, but there is a little part of me inside that totally is.