Menopause

Gray on Gray

hudson-and-judith

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.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on monetary policy and the state of the economy. Yellen told the committee that if the central bank waits until 2016 to begin raising rates, it could mean that subsequent hikes might occur more rapidly. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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.

judith-and-ed

Aging, Fashion

Guest Post: To Be or Not To Be–Grey Hair, That Is

young-skunk-closeup

A guest post by my friend Gail Crane:

When I was in high school, my friends always commented on the grey hairs I already had.  Not many, but just enough for people to notice.

In my early 30’s, my Mom commented that I needed to dye my hair as I had too much grey for someone my age.

So I began the every 5 week task of dying my hair.

At first I had it done by my hairdresser when I would get my hair cut, but finally I decided it was too expensive and my stylist told me how to do it myself.

So for 30 years I’ve covered up the increasingly grey, or rather, white hair on my head.  At first I colored all my hair at 5 weeks.

Then as I got whiter and whiter, I had to also put color on at 2 ½ weeks–but only on my part, around my face and at my neck.  Otherwise I started looking like a skunk!

I have played with different colors.  My original hair color was dark brown.  I’ve been dark brown, light brown, reddish brown, and that brassy blondish brown that happens from putting color on your whole head each time instead of just the roots.  Now I mix two together to get the color I want.

It really doesn’t take that long to color my hair, but every time, I dread the process:

Covering up the counter top,  spreading towels on the floor, and putting on old clothes with a towel pinned around my neck to keep any color drips off of my clothes, skin and especially the floor.

No matter how hard I try though, I still seem to drip some of the mixture (which starts out white so you can’t see it) onto something.  Then voila!  You have a black spot on your floor which is unable to be removed.

We’re waiting until I finally decide to go grey to get new flooring in our bathroom.  No reason to do it yet.

I often toy with going grey. I see many women with beautiful white hair and wonder how I would look.

My sister, who used the same color as I did for years, said she was going to stop coloring her hair when she retired.  And she did, going through looking like a skunk to get to her pure white hair.  She likes it except for the pink scalp that shows now.

Sometimes when I start seeing those white roots appear, I think it would be nice to not have to bother with the messy coloring process.

Sometimes I wish I had never started coloring my hair in the first place.

But for some reason, I just am not ready to be grey.  Will it make me look old?  Make me feel older?

I don’t think I’m ready to go there yet.

Maybe, just maybe, when I retire in four years.

But maybe not!

Gail at Reunion

Gail Crane is a long time friend of  mine. She lives in Hillsborough, NC with her husband Joe and her two cats.  She says she’s a little more vain than she wishes she were, but even though she admits to being officially old, she’s just not ready to look it!  Her two grown children don’t want her to go there yet either.

Decided to go grey?  I’d love a post about your decision. Shoot me an email!  Thanks!