I am no spring chicken. Come to think of it I don't even know what a spring chicken is.
I know what roasted chicken is. I know what Chicken Bryan is; it is a lovely dish with chevre cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. (Kisses fingers like Italian man with mustache)
But if you are what you eat, a spring chicken I am not.
A couple of days ago walking through my house I thought “who is that?” Now, you must understand I was home alone. There was no one else there. “Who is that?” I had uninvited company. I did a double take; it was me and this old lady in the foyer mirror looking back at me. I did not know I had invited her...that is me?
I'm not one to put myself down....that leads nowhere it just opens doors for others to feel free to walk over you. Not putting myself down but I will comment on this gray haired, tired looking, overweight, woman with fine lines around her eyes...Where did she come from? When did she let herself go? When did that happen?
There is a time-line of self awareness that I guess I have skipped a few dots on.
I'm not... that.... old... am I?
About two years ago I stopped coloring my hair. Bottle after bottle of hair color, chestnut, almond, golden hazelnut....they name the colors these wonderful offerings of the same things I have in my coffee each morning. Bottle after bottle of the wrong color, I decided it was an effort in futility. I was going gray faster than my color at home could keep up with. I'm too cheap to have it done by a professional and I decided I was not really that concerned with what other people thought of my appearance. If it did not bother me to go gray, it did not matter if it bothered anyone else. So I went gray. I'm still going gray—still going—still going. I'm not really getting there though. It is taking forever. I’m seeking Meryl Streep’s The Devil Wears Prada look—by no means has that been achieved yet.
Without calling first—as any company should—this old woman shows up in the foyer mirror. Is that my hair, really? It just looks dusty, it looks like I had a tussle with the Ghost of Christmas Past and we both walked away confused. And why does she—the woman in the mirror—look so…tired?
When did all this happen? I know there are more and more mornings that require coffee, there are more pain relievers taken? There are stresses of life, and loss. There obviously is less products from Clairol in play here, but when did I unknowingly cross that line to looking old?
There are dots missing on my time-line of self awareness.
Maybe it started when I did not have plans on Friday nights anymore; maybe it started with marriage, home and child. Maybe I can even pin point it to the night we were refinishing the wood floors and turned down the couples outing. Maybe that was it. Was that the day I made the choice that reclaimed wood floors being shiny was my plan for life? That was the grown up decision. Finish the floors, go out some other time. As I recall my back did hurt the next morning. I think that might be when it happened. When the right decision was also the old lady decision.
Maybe being old did not happen due to activities but maybe old is what happens when life becomes what you were aiming for all along. Maybe it started when I was sure the man I love loved me back without condition. Maybe it was when I stopped looking to others for my cues. Maybe it was when my magazines changed from fashion to DIY and easy week night dinners. Maybe it was somehow alright to let myself go? I was loved and was own person did that make it OK to become old? I think I just stopped looking for the dots on the timeline, I’m was just too busy. Time waits for no old woman. I now understand that if you let yourself go—there will come a day—several dots later on the time line you will look like uninvited company, you won’t even recognize the old lady in the foyer mirror.
Today was that day…there we were, she and I, at the foyer mirror.
I stared for a few minutes
I leaned in, I got closer
I squinched my nose
I pushed up my glasses
I turned my head slowly to the right
Now slowly to the left
I lifted my double chin
Peeked at her under my glasses
I dropped my double chin
Peeked at her over my glasses
(She is quiet talented as a mime she copied everything)
I said to her, “so we let this happen... aye?” (I'm not sure why I thought she was Canadian…aye)
She just looked at me...what are you going to do about it? She thought...
I stepped back closed my eyes for a second or two, because I realized this uninvited woman in the mirror was somehow thinking the same thing I was.
What are you going to do about it?
I only have to do something about it if it bothers me, only if it bothers me. I have to be frank...Today it does, today it bothers me. Tomorrow it might not, I don't know.
So what do I do about it? I'm not a crazy have surgery—introduce deadly viruses under my skin—eat a tapeworm kind of gal. So what could I do that would give me results? What would get this old lady to leave the foyer mirror?
I love lists so here is my “what are you going to do?” to-do list:
Healthier life style
Maybe just a temporary hair
List made—that's it. Course of action decided: temporary hair color followed by a full Egyptian Cotton treatment. This I can do.
Why temporary color? I don't have to commit—if I’m over it in a few days it washes away, right back to the dusty gray. Toasted Almond # 12 it is.
Why the Egyptian Cotton treatment? To cover up the foyer mirror so the uninvited old lady can't see me anymore. 800 thread count—only the best for company.
I will add that dot on my time-line of self awareness—Toasted Almond # 12 and 800 thread count. I feel younger already. That was easy.