Wrinkles, Grey Hair, And Life

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Today’s Daily Post asked the following question of readers:

You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?

This one stuck with me because it wasn’t so much the wrinkles that caught me off guard as I grew older, but the freaking grey hairs that have sprouted around my head.

I was standing in the mirror at work one morning and remember seeing the little offender, jutting out from my head at a weird angle, looking so unlike the rest of my jet-black hair, mocking me with its non-conformity and lack of pigment.

I was thirty-five and suddenly felt one hundred.

A fucking grey hair, I remember thinking to myself as I gawked in the mirror. Another women entered the bathroom at the time and in my state of disbelief, I turned to her and relayed my discovery. She smiled and told me to buck up, honey. It was just the beginning.

Beginning of what, I wondered?

Well, now I know: a rather amazing journey of coming into myself as an adult, becoming a mom and following through on my writing dreams. And that’s only what I’ve done so far. Who knows what I’m going to make happen next on this crazy road. I’ve got my goals set on a movie, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh! The grey hair.

I’m not saying that little, grey hair inspired such an evolution, but it played a part, it was a catalyst.

Its arrival kind of made me stop what I was doing (drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping, drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping, drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping – you get my gist) and take stock of myself and what I wanted from life. Not in some grandiose fashion, but just some quiet, food for thought kind of shit. And I came away a little calmer, a tad bit more focused, and surprisingly a little happier.

Did that wiry motherfucker, so boldly jutting out of my head that morning, change my plans per se?

I don’t think so. I always had big plans for myself.

[Turning 40 was the really ass-kicker for me, but that’s another blog post for another day.]

But it certainly made me suddenly aware of that clock ticking down on all of us, myself included, and the fact that it was time to start making shit happen. That it wasn’t just going to come together for me because I wanted it to, because I was young, and because I was awesome. I needed to start doing a little something, something to fulfill my vision of myself.

So for that, I suppose I really must thank that grey bastard who torments me on a daily basis. Without its wiry nastiness, I might still be sitting in that corner stool in Park Bar, you know the one, bitches, swilling tequila, and smoking my American Spirits instead of on this fucking awesome whirlwind of a  journey, balancing the demands of my lawyering with raising The Kid and helping The Step Daughter and loving The Husband with writing The Sanctum.

Fuck yeah, grey hair. You kind of rock.

Did suddenly realizing you’re not 25 anymore change your plans?

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Wrinkles, Grey Hair, And Life

  1. Oh, I’ve gotten over it. I like to say I age prematurely and laugh at it. I will say I decided to take a less stressful job and got out of social work and started drinking a lot less. I still work with people, I’m in human resources…some days it doesn’t feel that different

    • Social work seems both rewarding and brutal on the soul. In a somewhat similar vein, throughout law school I worked on capital punishment cases, assisting on appeals and whatnot, but knew I could not make a career of it lest I wanted to feel hopeless and beaten down. Ironically, my current career has the same soul-killing capability. Thankfully, I have my writing. It’s truly changed my perspective on life and made me so much happier.

  2. What a thought-provoking post. I constantly play the number game. It’s hard to imagine that you won’t be young forever. I do have the pleasure of saying that each year has been better than the last. I’m looking forward to the future, but trying to stay in the moment as much as possible and enjoy every stage. The lights at work totally bring out all of the flaws though. I’ve had the same experience. Ugh.

    • “I do have the pleasure of saying that each year has been better than the last.”

      As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize it’s truly such a shame that we live in such a youth-obsessed society because frankly, growing older has been all kinds of awesome and liberating and cool. I mean of course I hate that I’m not longer 108 pounds, wearing a size 0, looking heroine-chic, but I also accomplished that doing some very bad things to myself, which now, at this age seem downright silly. I guess what I mean is that it’s a shame because you’re really actually quite happy as you get older. And I couldn’t agree more, each year does get a little better than the last.

      And regarding the shitty lighting at work, it’s precisely why my office is lit like an underground lounge.

  3. I love how you chose to accept your grey bastard hair as a message and a motivation. We really have so little time to accomplish what we want in life. The “drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping,” I haven’t stopped doing that, but I have tried to stop doing what was expected of me and am starting to insist on doing what makes me happy. After all if you aren’t happy, you’re pretty much a drain on all those around you. Going after your dreams is beneficial to everyone–the whole world.

    And you’re lucky you have that beautiful Indian skin. I’ll trade your grey hair for my papery Polish complexion any day. Hair can be dyed.

    We all have our blessings.

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