can you go gray overnight?
I love my gray hair so much I let it get long. I don’t care what others think. I know who I am. A 73 y.o. woman with long wavy gray hair, some Botox here and there that loves people and doing what I want when I want in my last act. Best part is that I no longer spend $300 every 6 weeks in the hair salon.
Ah yes, the big questions strike again.. Yes, we all die. Only Woodie Allen claims to be immortal, and I have my doubts about him. My brother put his fist through a wall when our father died at 75, and my brother died at 70. We all die, we turn gray, our muscles shrink, etc. etc. etc. No exit, said Sartre. My stepdaughter shot herself in her middle 40s. Life is a built-in tragedy. In the Middle Ages people practiced the craft of dying. John Donne slept in a coffin in preparation for dying. The question is, how do we deal with it. Well, we have no choice but to accept it. We can believe something called the soul survives but we don't know. I believe growing old gracefully does not mean trying to retain your looks, which is not what life while we have it is about. Life is about living well, not asking for the impossible, being faithful to in the larger sense to your family and friends, and seizing your moments when you can.. Whatever your anxieties, don't let them take you over. The lines in your face are evidence that you've lived. Be proud of them. Let them be smile lines. Life is hard. Face it with courage. I'm 86.
What I love is a beauty and wellness site where I can read about Rebecca Solnit, John Irving and of course existential dread! Love your writing and you. And yes, my hair is grey though I take some satisfaction in the fact that on certain days and in a certain light when I squint, it looks like what we called in the day, a weave with blonde highlights. Only for free ;). Thank you for putting so much wit and heart and self acceptance into your column. ❤️
Starting the day with a Garp/John Irving reference always makes for a thought-provoking morning.
Here for early morning existential angst...and the intel on going grey :). Thank you, Val! As a Chinese Medicine doctor, I personally take and prescribe He Shou Wu for greying hair and do find that it has an impact. Still, it's subtle and unlikely to prevent the ship from sinking!
Oh Val. You are always a day brightener especially with quotes like this! As Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön reminds us, “Life is like stepping into a boat that’s about to sail out to sea and sink.” I laughed outloud especially as I am about to board a plane! hahahahaha. xox
I loved your articles & enjoyed today’s edition. Is the gray hair conundrum anything like why women get peach fuzz on their faces as they age? They are all hair follicles and start the same way. Why is it that we are more comfy flirting with a server when we are older? It seems no matter the issue, we are not ever satisfied with how we look?
Another great piece, Val. Thank you!
-Great one, Val. Whenever I look at my small garden, I get a warm reminder of freedom. More often than not, the "nothingness" can only be healed by the understanding of peace, the forgiveness of ephemerality, the power of being. In my view, Spring is a fabulous time to fight in order to flourish. It is also, such a pretty time to appreciate change. Xo
Love the John Irving reference in the title and your words on aging and grey hair. Years ago I remember reading stories about people who drank their own urine to stop going grey...it was one of several "health benefits" of the practice. Hard pass. I'm not crazy about being grey at 52 and the accompanying ageism, but it's nice to not deal with the upkeep of coloring. Plus my stylist tells me to get my color would cost at least $350 so I feel like money. Kinda.
“…our immune systems need free radicals to help kill cancer cells…” Who knew? Certainly not me (thank you, MK)! Just one of the many take-away gems in today’s excellent post.
Re the very real dread of “not knowing what comes next,” for me, it helps to take some kind of action, any purposeful action. There’s always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see—and of course, something to read, like your always uplifting HNTFUYF posts.
She may not be as well known as John Irving or Pema Chodron, but one-time beloved Redbook copy chief Polly Flynn liked to say, “I never go anywhere without a pencil in my pocket and a purpose in my step.” Always made me laugh. And you may remember that Polly had beautiful gray hair. Many thanks again, dear Val, for sharing so much wit and wisdom.
I am reminded of a quote from Rebecca Solnit that we would rather worry & imagine horrible scenarios than accept the fact we don’t know what the future brings. We just don’t know! I went grey before the pandemic in my late 40s for five years as a reaction to Trump. It seems silly now but it was real. I have since started coloring it again at 53. I feel reassured that I know what I look like grey and it doesn’t scare me anymore. My body, my choice!
I've definitely been having more of those existential musings like "how will i die?" "how will people remember me" "will anyone come to my funeral" "lucky guy, he gets all my money (referring to my partner of 20+ years and is 12 years younger than me)" and "what if he dies before i do? i'm going to miss lying next to him." I don't really feel sad or anxious but rather more curious than anything (well, sad about the last one). These musings do re-order my priorities somewhat and not throwing caution to the wind (although I really want to have that crumb cake). I actually do want to look good enough and feel healthy enough until the last day arrives.
Dread pangs....Sunday nights before school on Mondays, watching the clock tick away from the afternoon towards evening....That's the earliest I remember them. Existential, yes. And then there are the experiential ones. It's such a distinctive feeling, the mind so clearly expressed by the body that you know they are one and the same.
Val, I was so happy and excited to see you featured in Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper! Fabulous, as always. xox
Dearest Val - I am posting this probably on the wrong message but am not quite finished with RA being a vile bastard today. I saw your mention of civility and I must apologize. I knew I got caught up in 2 comments- one especially who had vile things to say about dear E Jean Carroll. I tend to let comments to or about me go - but when I feel a person who I respect is being called awful names - I tend to feel the need to defend them.
So while I did not and do not wish bad things to happen to anyone, I was a bit unhappy with how “ugly” things were said about her - I have seen she is perfectly capable dealing with these things. I am putting on my big girl pants and saying - Please Forgive my Behavior 💖 you are amazing 🤭