Not Going Gently
“Do not go gentle into that good night/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
While inside I still feel like a 30 year old, my outside hasn’t matched that rosy image in—well—33 years. Signs of aging, subtle at first, began to pick up steam as I neared 40. There’s a photo of me with baby Julie at the pool. I guess Jules looks cute in it, but honestly? All I ever notice about that pic are unmistakable gray hairs (mine, not the baby’s). Shortly after that, I hit the dye bottle, and it’s been chug chug chug ever since. My hue of choice is a darkish brown, though during summers at the beach (a hundred miles from my hairdresser) the color fades to reddish. Before I am unpacked back in Oreland in late August, I always have an appointment to get the hair done.
For a while there, my wrinkles bothered me terribly. I spent well over $100 on a bottle of lies which was supposed to smooth out my face within weeks. I would pick one particular rough patch of skin (say, the “laugh lines” around my eyes), and check multiple times a day for signs of rejuvenation. If anything, my creases were deepening, but I finished every last drop, in desperate hope of a late-inning turnaround. No dice. When next I visited the cosmetics counter at Macy’s, I spent my c-note on perfume instead; if I was going to look like a prune, I might as well be a fragrant prune. Nowadays, I solve the problem by taking off my glasses when approaching a mirror.
The pandemic has challenged us all in myriad ways, but notably those of us still fighting the Battle of Vanishing Youth. None of us who color our tresses have been able to see a stylist since mid-March. As a result, we look more elderly with each passing Zoom meeting. I finally got to see two of my best friends for a socially distanced glass of wine on a back porch the other night. We had a great conversation, the centerpiece of which was: “Should we give up at this point and just go gray?” Our buddy who is blonde, we concluded, should totally save her L’Oreal dollars, as the hints of silver are very subtle and attractive (she wasn’t convinced). My other friend, who has darker hair, was all for surrendering—until she got a call from her hairdresser that the salon was back in business. I am the same: I have an appointment on Monday at 8:45 AM, and it feels like Christmas is coming!
I guess going gently into that good night is not an option for me yet, and I’m a little sad that I can’t just enjoy looking my actual age. But, as Popeye so eloquently put it, “I yam what I yam,” so I’ll keep on raging.
If I’m over 90 during the next pandemic, however, I’ll definitely go gray.