I am currently in my Double Nickel Year. There was a time, as recent as the last decade, that if you asked me how old I was, or tried to guess based on life clues, I would get irritated. I still don’t really appreciate the question (unless you need the info to fill out a form to give me gobs of money I mysteriously won..then ask away). But.. today, I don’t really care as much about the answer.
Double Nickel.. Fifty Five.. the wahhoooo 55. Not sure why this was such a liberating year for me. Will was watching a British movie and one of the characters wanted to get out of the mob. He said to his brother, ” If I am lucky I only have about 25 good summers left”. This really hit home with my honey, and when he shared it with me, I thought – “yes that is part of it”.
I am too old to deal with crap I don’t want to deal with. We can begin with my hair. I don’t think I am alone in this experience, but I would dye my hair and about 2 weeks later it was skunksville. When we did our first holiday Tardis card, I made them Photoshop my roots. It got increasingly more annoying. About two years ago, an acquaintance with a great face for short hair, said she was cutting her hair to almost bald and then letting her gray hair grow in. There was a moment of time stoppage. Something clicked in me. Then time moved forward again, and she is still dying her hair. But the bell had sounded in me and I knew I was heading there. My son remembers me often saying I love the way long gray hair looked. He was the first to tell me when I shared my plan with my family, that I was always headed there. Ding #2.
I played with it on and off for a couple of years, but somewhere between my odometer hitting 55 and Christmas, the long haired goddess of Candyce future came to visit me. I was in the bathroom, just washing up, and I saw myself with long gray hair, …..and I was smiling. The room morphed to a slow blur, except for the clarity of me seeing future me. I KNEW that the me I was experiencing had truly gone for some of what made her heart sing. I knew the future me had really figured out how to dump a bunch of the peripheral nonsense, and be free enough to enjoy her time left.
My hair is still to the middle of my back. about 21 inches. I like it there. There are those of the opinion that an older woman should have shorter hair. I respectfully disagree with their opinion. I think all of us should have not just the kind of hair we want, but wear what we want, and do what we want with our face. It’s no one else’s business. (even mine, which is something I have to remind my Judgmental Self when she peaks her head in. Judgmental Self by the way has regularly dyed medium brown hair. She just can’t let go.)
My gray hair is now about nine inches grown in. Twelve inches to go. Not holding off though, and claiming the labels. Member of the Silver Sisters Club. LOOOOVE Gray Goddess. I know I have entered the Crone stage of my life. Having known many self actualized crones, I wasn’t panicking that I had to let my hair look like gray brillo and cackle. I know the Crone is powerful, and I am ready to embrace her.
“Dear brave souls, I warmly invite you to come be at the fireside with me and the Dangerous Old Woman and the Power of the Crone. Who is the crone? She is the most dangerous, the most radical, the most revolutionary woman in existence. Whether in fairy tales or in consensual reality, the old one goes where she wants to and she acts as she wishes; she lives as she chooses. And this is all as it should be. And no one can stop her. Nor ought they try.”
~~~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
Just an observation. Very young children and very old people will do just what they want to do. Worth thinking on.
Have you read Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” ? I loved that book.
“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”