A post by my good friend Judith Gray:
This past year I became a grandmother, went on Medicare, started playing more pickleball than tennis, joined a gym, and stopped coloring my hair. Of all these, the hair is the least important but the most physically obvious and, in my peer group, the most unusual.
I had made some prior attempts but kept going back to coloring (which I did at home; I rank low on the level of hair fussiness).The first excuse was that I wanted to look good for my kids’ wedding pictures, and it was bad enough that one of my eyelids had started drooping and brown spots were multiplying on my hands. After that it was mostly wanting to look young and following the crowd…none of my friends had gray hair, and even my sister, ten years older than I, was dyeing her hair.
But then two people inspired me, my niece and Janet Yellin. My niece, ten years younger than I, and a recent gym convert, said, ‘If you look buff, people won’t notice the gray hair.”
She’s attractive and glows with fitness and recently went gray. Janet Yellin is the smart, no-nonsense chair of the Federal Reserve. I like hearing what she has to say, without any glamorous or pretentious distractions. Finally, a gray-haired woman with a grandmotherly face appears on the tv news, and the investment world clings to every word.
It took me a few weeks to get used to the new look; I was a bit surprised every time I looked in the mirror, not really sure I liked what I saw. I get a variety of comments and puzzled looks…”Did you get a new haircut?” ask those I haven’t seen in a while. “I’m jealous,” comment women who have misgivings about the whole ordeal but not ready to go natural. “I like your hair,” say kindred grays welcoming me to the club.
I feel liberated, freed from the coloring process and the pull of looking younger. I’m happy with who I am and how I look and delighted with new babies who will call me Gram into my gray-haired old age.
Judith Gray is a mostly retired reference librarian who lives in Bedford Mass. with her husband Ed. She is a fan of all kinds of exercise, especially pickleball! She enjoys reading, travelling, memoir writing, and visiting her children and grandchildren in CT and NY.
Photo Above: Judith, with her new hair color, hugs her grandson Hudson.
Photo Below: Judith and Ed “already gray” Gray at their daughter’s wedding, 2010.