I read an article a while ago about a woman, when approaching age fifty, (a youngster really), who decided to stop dying her hair; the before and after pictures were amazing. Before, she looked like every other matron trying to look young, after, her dark hair, with wisps of gray at the temple and part, was stunning.
At about the same time I was approaching a birthday which age-anxious call ‘the new fifty’. For me looking in the mirror then was like looking at a Nick Nolte mug shot. As my special day steamrolled across my calendar I told co-workers in the store where I work that on my birthday they would find me on the floor in the fetal position of the clearance isle.
After years of trying to be something I was not, young, I decided to do what the fifty year old kid did, let my hair grow out. Because I like my hair short and because the screaming yellow blonde I normally abided by was again a couple of inches rooted in grand-mother gray, I was half way there. When the post-it-note yellow was finally gone, hair dressers gathered around my chair and cheered, I was who I was supposed to be. And just who was that?
It was liberating. No longer was I a slave to a bottle of smelly liquid. I decided to embrace the new-fifty and run with it.
I stopped wearing make-up. Not all make-up, (I’m not crazy), I still wear foundation, eyeliner and mascara but shadow and blusher are out and only in for weddings and funerals.
That’s when I stopped cleaning.
For those who are acquainted with my housekeeping skills, I hear laughter. I went from leaving dishes in the sink to leaving dishes on the counter. Dusting…never did it before…still don’t, except when the flat screen goes fuzzy. I only vacuum when company is coming, I sweep now, and only when the dog hair tumbleweeds are mistaken for Lhasa Apsos. I do make my bed every day but I don’t change the sheets as often as I should, does anybody?
It’s not that I have become a slob, I hear laughter again, it’s that once the nest is empty there is a standard you no longer have to maintain in order to teach good housekeeping habits to your children. Keeping my bedroom clean was an example I had to set in order for my kids to keep theirs clean; it didn’t work. So now if yesterday’s clothes are in a pile on the floor or I dress out of the clean unfolded laundry in the basket next to my dresser, who’s the wiser?
When I look around the house I see a comfortable world, years in the making and when I look in the mirror I see a woman who no longer needs to pretend to be something she’s not, blonde. I like that the whole ditsy blonde persona has been replaced by salt and pepper wisdom. I saw an image of myself in a store window the other day; I thought it was my mother; she died at the age of eighty-two, and then in my mailbox, my AARP Magazine with Sharon Stone on the cover. She looks good. That’s why a bottle of that Garneir Fruit-basket Luminous Blonde stuff Sara Jessica Parker uses is sitting on my bathroom counter. If it’s good enough for a Sex in the City girl…wait a minute…did I mention she was born when I was a junior in high school, I’m taking it back. Enough said.