This week I donated "Betsy," my '96 Camry, to a charity. I felt emotional pangs as she was towed away. Betsy wears her age well. She still has life left in her. I hope her next owner appreciates the value she brings. I have never owned a car prior to Betsy that served me with such dependability, style, and economy. Betsy, at 13 years, still gets better gas mileage around town than my spanking new '09 Honda Accord.
I can't help but think that Betsy provides a metaphor for my life in middle age. My place on life's stage shifts to the background. I still have a lot of life left in me, but my priorities no longer center on achievement and career, or being at the front of the stage.
In The Gifts of Age Part 2 I confess my secret desire to go gray (but I'm a "silver" wannabe) when I turn 60 in the summer of 2011. My hair, thanks to my parents' genes, is one of my best features, and wears an attractive color via my talanted hairdresser. Going gray goes against the cultural current, but resonates with my inner being.
Dick Richards asked me "Why wait til 60?" Ah, Dick, you have no idea what's involved. First of all, it will take at least 1.5 years to grow out the permanent hair color. While my gray roots grow out, temporary color will be used. I also need the time to gather my courage! To get used to the idea that other people will judge me as less attractive, and to be okay with that.
I want to try gray hair on and see what it feels like. It will complement the lines around my eyes that I have earned from laughing. I sense more freedom to be me. Take it or leave it, folks! No apologies! And if I don't like my gray hair, I know what to do about it.
This morning I read this quote, which captures my feelings (don't you just love how synchronicity works?):
As life goes on it becomes tiring to keep up the character you invented for yourself, and so you relapse into individuality and become more like yourself every day. This is sometimes disconcerting for those around you, but a great relief to the person concerned.
- Agatha Christie
Stay tuned: My middle-aged Inner Goddess has only just begun to emerge.