Well, I’m creaking along on this Monday morning and feeling every bit my 57 years of age. Perhaps I am like those weekend warriors who try to cram too many sports or too much yard work into the roughly 60 hours, a/k/a the weekend. In my case, my boss was on business in Denver most of last week, so I took that opportunity, plus the cool and rain-free temps, to take longer walks. I am paying for it today. This morning I woke up stiff and sore and felt as though a Mack truck had run me over. Dare I admit to just plain getting older or is this creakiness merely the result of racking up too many miles in a short time period? The preferred version will be it is just a dreary, rain-filled morning wreaking havoc with my bones so Linda is less than limber. Maybe this malady goes along with those ever-creeping gray hairs that I am finding. In fact, I notice those springy little gray (and gulp … even white) tendrils that are clinging to my temples are getting more commonplace. I simply have ignored them thus far and because I have been coiling my very long, nearly waist-length locks into a neat bun, the top of my head has not visible when I glance in the mirror once the bun is in place.
I picked up my new glasses on Friday and the lenses are increased strength and I am now in trifocals. The ophthalmologist assured me I’ll be able to see anything and everything 100 percent better than before. Well, maybe I liked the former strength better or perhaps rose-colored glasses are even better still in this less-than-perfect world in which we live. Hmmmmmmm.
I went to have my hair trimmed Friday – lopped off was more like it. I’d not had a haircut in nearly a year so I let the stylist take off a good four inches. She dried my hair then handed me my eyeglasses plus a magnifying mirror to check out her handiwork from behind and the sides and top. Wow!!! I could not get past seeing all the gray hair woven through the top of my head. What a rude awakening!! Where the h*ll did all these silver strands come from? Surely, this was not me who looked back in the mirror? I complimented her on the haircut and hastily grabbed hanks of my hair, bent over and fastened a claw clip back around a quick and messy bun. This is what I call my librarian look – good to go in five minutes and less muss and fuss than hot rollers, curling irons and magic potions to create the perfect coiffure. I used to be so vain in my twenties and thirties that I would never leave the house without every hair in place, freshly manicured fingernails and toenails plus an hour’s worth of makeup, expertly applied to look like I was a natural beauty, not a young woman whose looks were enhanced by makeup. Ha ha. My mom told me I was too vain for my own good, but I just let that phrase go in one ear and out the other. Today, I have pared my beauty routine, such as it is, to a minimal amount of time. Gone are the hair combs, bands, or baubles and beads for my side-swept ponytail or French braid, as well as the jewelry, clothes and accessories that was my trademark look back then. Today, it is sweats and tee-shirts and shorts and I guess you can say that this is the real me. I am comfortable with myself now and vanity has taken a back seat.
A month before my thirtieth birthday, my mom read that a photography experience called “Glamour Shots” was coming to Southland Mall. Glamour Shots is a travelling photography studio that sets up several trailers in local malls and they have professional hairstylists and make-up artists and a variety of themed clothing and accessories for your head-and-shoulders Glamour Shots photo. It was a birthday present from my mom and I was so excited to go. The session sure was a lot of fun, just getting primped and fussed over for an hour and then photographs being taken. I chose a red leather top for one shot and the other was a blue well-worn denim jacket for the other. They mailed negatives a few weeks later and you chose your favorites. My mom picked out two and we had the portraits framed, one for my mom’s room and the other for the T.V. room. From time to time I’ll glance at these two pictures and wonder who that young girl was and ask myself if it was really me? I seemed so young and innocent back then. The last few years have been tough for me – my mom’s failing health and sudden death plus my work status all have taken their toll on me. Like a military man who earns his stripes as he progresses through the ranks, I’m able to account for each gray hair and line on my face. I know in my heart that I am made of stronger stuff than I was as I embarked on my thirtieth year. Thankfully, I am my mother’s daughter and have incorporated her personality and strength in my very being.