Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 121: Two Weeks From 50 And Feeling The Family Love

Those who actually read this blog might be wondering WTF happened to me since it has been nearly a week since I last posted anything. Or, you might be thinking, wow, she finally stopped blogging about herself what a relief (note: see my I Me Mine post in which I bitch about others doing what I actually do here :-P)!

So, the fact that I am back might either make you happy or disappointed, and as always, you will either keep reading, or, again, here's another reminder that you can step away from the blog at any time.

As the big day looms ever nearer, I keep thinking I am running out of things to "celebrate" i.e. finding the good in every day to write about, and that now I seem to just be focusing on the feeling that I am in fact, going to be o-l-d (yeah, like spelling it out makes it easier to swallow).

But, then each week seems to bring something that not only makes me feel better, but, that actually makes me feel good. Often, it is the people in my life, and I am reminded that I should grab on to them tightly and just enjoy them while I can.

This week's reminder came yesterday when about 60 Gerber's (including this soon to be 50 year old Gerber) attended the latest "Gerber-Palooza." The occasion for this latest raver was to celebrate the 90th birthday of three beloved Gerber's. Yep, 3 of them! My Uncle Sam (my Dad's big brother), his wife, my Aunt Hazel and my late Uncle Lou's beloved wife, my Aunt Julia, all turn 90 this year so my cousins threw them a big bash.
As always, I am in awe of my family. Not only for their longevity (which I certainly hope is genetic), but for our ability to always enjoy being with one another; no matter what the occasion and no matter what is going on, and no matter if there is a lot of alcohol involved (which it certainly was yesterday). Everyone is always civil and glad to be together.

I know what a gift my family is and I work very hard at not taking them for granted. No matter what is going on in my life, even when things are really, really bad, or how busy or how far away I am, I never forget this gift.

I love to hear the laughter that emanates from any room we are all in, and the love that I hear each of them express for their children, grandchildren, parents, cousins, brothers and sisters. It really is unconditional and constant, one of the very few things in my life that has been.

I also was struck at how full of life all 3 of the 90-year old's are and it makes me realize how ridiculous it sounds to be moaning about turning 50 when they are nearly twice that age. They keep showing me that (if I am as lucky as they are), I have so much more to go. I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 116: The Gift of a Blank Canvas

Plot #125

Thinking this old bed frame will be great for fencing and trellising
Yesterday I wrote about learning to let go and to just let what is going to happen, happen (such depth I know) and to open myself up to the opportunities that present themselves.

So, taking my own advice, today I went to see the community garden plot that I have been given to use for my Senior Garden Program at Torrance Memorial. It has been weeded and tilled by "Farmer Ed" and is all ready for me to create what I want to create for my gardeners.

Just a month ago, I would have been completely stressed, and hemmed and hawed; wondering how I could possibly fit this in with my writing projects, especially the book project. But, as I have written here several times, a lot has happened in the past month that is making me look at all the things that I thought were so important, and that have actually caused me to miss out on so many others that bring me joy.

One of these is the feeling I get when I show others that they can grow their own food, especially people who think they can't garden anymore. As I was standing out there looking at our new plot, I kept thinking about how lucky I am to be given this gift and to share it with others.

I also couldn't help but think about the symbolism of this completely empty space in front of me that is just waiting to be filled through my creativity and passion.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 115: Learning to Like Letting Go

The past month has been challenging for me. Things that I expected didn't happen; things that I thought I did, I didn't do; and things that I thought I was in control of, I never really was.

As I wrote here last month, making a huge blunder is something that is certainly never expected by anyone. But, I think it is even harder for a control freak like me.

The illusion that by planning, by following a certain path, and by being somebody who always does the "right thing" somehow means you have control over your life, makes the realization that you don't all the more difficult.

But the further away from it I get, the better I feel, and the more I realize how damaging trying to be in control really is.

One of the most unexpected parts of the whole experience has been the discovery of just how boxed in I have let myself become. And, that the tighter I try to hold on to "my life" the more out of control I actually become. Ah, my life is never short on irony.

That's not to say that I am now going to go out and become a complete wild child. I am turning 50, not 21 (at least chronologically I am). Besides, I already did that. I know who I am and what I want. But, that doesn't mean that I can't be more than that.

Yes, I am a writer, but that is not all that I am. It doesn't mean I need to exclude other options and other opportunities that keep coming up, especially those that I have said "never" to before. I just wrote about the danger in "never saying never" the other day. It is a surefire way to make something happen in my life every time I say it.

So, I am learning to see this as an opportunity for growth and for having more in my life. And, I am resisting every urge I have to fight it, and instead, to just surrender to it.


"Let Go" by Frou Frou

drink up, baby down
mmm, are you in or are you out
leave your things behind
'cause it's all going off without you
excuse me, too busy you're writing your tragedy
these mishaps
you bubble wrap
when you've no idea what you're like

so let go, jump in
oh well, whatcha waiting for
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown
so let go, just get in
oh, it's so amazing here
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown

it gains the more it gives
and then it rises with the fall
so hand me that remote
can't you see that all that stuff's a sideshow

such boundless pleasure
we've no time for later now
you can't await your own arrival
you've 20 seconds to comply

so let go, jump in
oh well, whatcha waiting for
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown
so let go, just get in
oh, it's so amazing here
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 112: Bad Timing or Just Not Enough Time?

"They" say that in life, things are all a matter of timing. Either you have good timing or you have bad timing. I never thought much about this, but, when I did, I always thought it was a bunch of b.s.

But, as I have gotten older and started reflecting on my life, and the things I either missed out on (some of which I am still missing out on), or, that I wish I would have done when I had the chance, I am starting to think that maybe "they" had a point.

I recently read something that somebody (about my age) wrote to themselves as a 15-year-old, a reflection of life's lessons that they learned, and wished that they had learned earlier. This got me to thinking about what I would say to my 15-year-old self. Not surprisingly, the list is long, and I haven't really fleshed it all out. I have been thinking of doing it for my actual birthday. We shall see if that actually happens or not.

But, one of the biggest things on that list is to remember that this time is the only time we have, and this life, is the only one we have. I know, such a cliche and such a "duh" bit of philosophy. But, I really, really don't think we get that when we are young.

At least I didn't. I always thought there would be another chance to do the things I was either too scared of doing, too busy to do, or just too young and stupid to do. I didn't realize what I was missing out on, or how much I would regret not doing things when I had the chance to, because rarely (if ever) does that chance present itself again.

I would also tell my 15-year-old self that this really applies to the people in our lives. They are only in our lives for a short time. If you think you will have time later to spend with them, you won't. And, if you think you will have time to tell them how you feel later, you won't. Or, if you do, it's the wrong time.

Tell them how much they mean to you, tell them how you feel. Do not worry about being rebuffed, or, that they may not respond in the same way as you do, or even feel the same way you do. You will regret never saying anything much more than you will regret saying how you feel. There is nothing worse than always wondering what if. Or, wishing you had told someone how much they mean to you when they are gone and it is too late.

So, as Robin Williams says in the movie "Dead Poet's Society," "Carpe Diem" or "Seize the Day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 109: Helping Others Helps Me Too

I am getting ready to head off to the City of Torrance Community Services Department Volunteer Dinner. I almost feel kind of weird being invited since I haven't actually done much volunteer work for them this past year. I was invited because I write the newsletter for the Torrance Farmers' Market and help with special events. I haven't been much help lately because I have let my OCDing over my work get in the way of many things, sadly, this is just one of those things.

It is also another one of the ironies in my life. Having been an employee of the same department many years ago, I vowed to "never" be involved with them again. Of course, I have been volunteering for them since 2000, and the tired cliche "never say never" never fails to disappoint in my life; i.e. "I will never get married." "I will never move back to So Cal," etc. etc. But, I have learned to "never" say "never" anymore ;-D!!!

It was because of my work as editor and writer of the farmers' market newsletter that I became a farm writer. I literally, accidentally stumbled into something that has become my life's passion. I reasoned that somebody needed to tell the stories of our farmers, and save what little we have left, and to inspire others to do the same. At the time, NOBODY was writing about them, now it seems everyone is. Hmm, maybe I was right after all.

Volunteering not only led me to my life's work, but to other wonderful things in my life. At one time I volunteered with the newly formed Cultural Arts Center Foundation, and a relationship I developed there led me to paying work as the editor of the ADVANTAGE Newsletter at Torrance Memorial Hospital, something I have done for almost 6 years now.

And working for Health Education at Torrance Memorial has led me to another part of my work I am passionate about, teaching others to grow their own food. I started a senior gardening program at Torrance Memorial and while I have enjoyed teaching lectures/workshops at the hospital in conference rooms, I have longed to have a spot where we could do things hands-on.

I am happy to say that we soon will! We will be working at a community garden plot at Columbia Park Community Garden. How did I get so lucky to get a plot at this popular garden? You guessed it, because of my volunteer work with the farmers' market.

Awesome presentation area at Columbia Park Community Gardens

While all of these things have been wonderful, the bottom line is that when I help others, by giving classes, setting up gardens, or just helping with an event, I feel so good. When somebody comes up and thanks me for giving them back the gift of gardening, or tells me how much I have helped them, there's no amount of money, no job, really nothing that could mean as much.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 107: How Do You Thank Someone For The Gift of Vision?

After I finished writing the post about my eye color, I got to thinking about Dr. Apt. As I wrote then, he performed 3 surgeries to correct the problem with muscles in my left eye which caused it to cross and turn in terribly. If it had been left like that, it would have left me blind in that eye, likely before I reached the age of 10.

I know I already wrote about this, but he is such an incredible man that I am putting it in here again. And, it is relevant to the current post, so please hang in and read it :)! Dr. Leonard Apt was a founder of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA Medical Center. Here's some of what this web link (when he was chosen Physician of the Year) says about him, "He is the first physician to be board-certified in both pediatrics and ophthalmology and helped create pediatric ophthalmology as a new sub-specialty in medicine.  He is a founding member of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and is recognized as the founder of academic pediatric ophthalmology."

The description of his career ends with this: "His first priority, however, is to preserve the eyesight of infants and children." He certainly has done that throughout his career, and he did that for me. Because of him, thousands of children (like me) have their sight.

After writing about him last month, I realized that I never thanked him for saving my sight, and for preserving the incredible gifts that come with vision. While they are literally too numerous to mention, there a few things that move me so much just by looking at them including the sunset, the coastal redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, purple irises just as they are opening up, a full moon on a clear night, the Golden Gate Bridge, the view of San Francisco from Twin Peaks, the Eiffel Tower and the view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, Coit Tower and the view of San Francisco from Coit Tower, and the Getty Center, especially the gardens, and the view of LA from the Getty Center.

Rocking the eye patch, which apparently I hated since I have been told I'd rip them off and stick them on walls, my crib, the table, pretty much anything that wasn't my eye!

So, the day after writing the post, I decided to try to find him, but, I was worried that it might be too late because doing the math (yeah, not easy for me, being math challenged), I figured he would be about 86 now and it was likely he might not still be around.

But, I called up the Jules Stein Eye Institute and asked the poor guy answering the phone if Dr. Apt was still alive and did he still have an office there. And lo-and-behold, he said, "he's got an office number, I will transfer you but he's not on staff here and don't know if he still uses it, but you can try it."

After a couple of rings, a woman's voice came on the voice mail system stating that it was the office of Dr. Leonard Apt and instructed callers to leave a voice mail, which I did.

That was just a little over a month ago. After about 3 weeks went by, I figured that he no longer used that number and that I wouldn't hear from him. But, on Friday I received a voice message from him, and he told me to call him back with times that I was available to talk. Since I am a rule follower (of course I am), I did as instructed and waited for his call.

He called me back yesterday and we talked for about half an hour. He is a human dynamo, he's as sharp as ever, and he says he doesn't see patients anymore on a regular basis but he will see them when the other doctors need another opinion, and he does go into the office regularly still, but not always at the same time. He is on several boards at UCLA, mostly having to do with the arts and is a big supporter of Royce Hall.

After telling me all about himself, he said, "I want to hear about you, and your life. I am so happy to hear from you." After I told him I had gone on to college, and to graduate school and that I am a researcher and a writer, he said, "it sounds like you have had an interesting life. I am glad." 

He also said, "you are one of my oldest patients and sadly, we don't have all the records anymore, they didn't keep them all and now everything is electronic. But, I am going to check to see if I can find anything."

I told him I would love to see him in person to catch up and he said that after the spring is best because this is his busy time. He said he'd call me in about a month to set up a time to meet and we hung up. About 15 minutes later he called back and said, I know you said you were married but isn't your last name the same as it was before? I said, "yes, I never changed it." He said, "okay, it will help me to know what name to look up."

Then he said, "I have to know, how is it cosmetically?" I said, "oh, it looks great, just when I am really, really tired, sometimes it still crosses a bit." He said, "oh, that's very common, glad to hear that you are okay with how it looks." I told him that I never thought that he would be concerned about how it looked, because all he ever did was work me to death doing eye exercises to make sure my eyes were working together and that I could see.

I also told him that I didn't know how to thank him for what he has done for me, I don't think there are enough words to describe the gratitude I feel. He said, "well, you are a writer, why don't you write me something and I can add it to my scrapbook. I have received many letters and am finally putting one together. I would love to include yours. You can give it to me when we see each other."

I am looking forward to being able to do that and am glad it is not too late. I only hope that I can really express how grateful I am. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 105: One Month From 50: Don't Pop My Red Balloon

Today is April 14, yet again, my calendar reading skills are impressive I know. What that means is that my 50th birthday is now exactly one month away. And, as it gets closer, I still find it hard to believe that this milestone is happening, even though I am writing about it almost every day.

I know it is just a number, but as with each birthday I have had in the past, it is the biggest number I have ever faced. There's that, and there's also what happens to me when people say, "oh, you are going to be half a century." There's really no way that people can convince me that doesn't sound old. When I hear that, it's like they have popped my Red Balloon. For those who know me really well, you know how much the Red Balloon means to me.

Pascal and his one true friend, Le Ballon rouge
I also think it's because when you are young, say 18, 21, 25 and even 30, you have this preconceived notion of what somebody at 50 should be like, or what your life will be like at 50. Even writing that sentence makes me realize how ridiculous that sounds. How the hell can you even begin to think you will know that? Ah, the arrogance of youth. Sometimes I miss it in myself, always thinking you know what's best, always thinking you know what's going to happen or that you can control it, and thinking you are immortal.

The thing that I find the most surprising is how wrong my ideas about myself at age 50 were. Not just a little wrong, but big time wrong. And, I was wrong in a good way. That's not to say that some really horrible things haven't happened to me, some that I could never have imagined happening. But, what I was wrong about is that in spite of them happening to me, I am still not only here, but I still have hope for the future and my passion for life is not gone, far from it. There are still so many things I am learning, I am discovering, and I still can't wait each day to find out what they will be.

To me, this surprise reminds me of the lesson of the Red Balloon. First, for those who haven't seen this gem of a movie, see it! It is an incredibly moving story, at only about 30 minutes long, with virtually no dialogue. It tells the story of French schoolboy, Pascal, who finds a red balloon and soon, he realizes the balloon seems to have a mind of its own. It follows Pascal everywhere he goes through the streets of Paris, and they become inseparable. The balloon becomes his friend and he becomes a virtual outcast as he stands by his friend when he finds places and people who don't welcome his "friend." Throughout the film, other children want to steal the balloon and ultimately a gang of boys destroys the red balloon and leaves Pascal broken hearted, until the end of the film, when he is literally lifted up and carried away by a huge and colorful bouquet of pastel balloons of all colors and sizes.

Because there's really no dialogue, each person who sees it, interprets its story in their own way, but the main themes include friendship, love, tragedy and loss, death, comedy, redemption and renewal, hope, and even prejudice and jealousy.

For me, the main message is that even though it is frightening and hard, you can overcome tragedy and disaster, you can start over, and that there is always hope. It also speaks to me about the love between the two friends, and how, even though you can be heart-broken, you can find love again.

And, it was this movie (seeing it first at age 7 in the Anza Elementary School cafeteria) that made me want to go to Paris, which also speaks to me about the power of reaching your dreams no matter how long it takes. I finally got to Paris at age 32.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 103: Clouds Got In My Way

As I was walking this morning I noticed some interesting looking clouds that are remnants from yesterday's storm and maybe precursors of tomorrow's.

As I looked up at the clouds, I immediately heard a song in my head (of course I did, I can't think of many waking moments when I don't hear some lyrics to some song in my head). What I heard was the beautiful voice of Joni Mitchell singing "Both Sides Now."
"Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way"

I love studying clouds, I love to see what they form, and as far back as I can remember I have always loved it. And, living back where I spent my earliest years, in almost exactly the same spot, looking up at them, reminds me of when I was young and doing the same thing.

I remember looking at the clouds from the house, the park and the school, just as I did today. I always dreamt I could fly among them, like the birds did. And of course, I always wanted to float in them. But then, I think that's what most 7 and 8 year olds want to do.

Clouds never seemed dark to me, or ominous, they just seemed full of life and full of possibility. But, as I have gotten older, I now understand these lyrics in a way I didn't when I was a child:

"But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all"

But, that doesn't mean I now find clouds threatening, I have just come to realize that we create our own storms, raining down on our own clear skies with our own, dark clouds.

"I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 100: Learning The Hard Way

Day 100, it is hard to believe how fast this year is going and how much has changed in just 100 days. It is also hard to believe how much I still have to learn at age 50. While so much has changed, so much in me hasn't. Even at age 50, I always, always have to learn things the hard way.

I don't intentionally choose the hard road, it just seems that I don't know any other road to travel on. It is familiar, and oddly, it is very comfortable. I think I am this way because I am stubborn, or at the very least, I hold firmly to the things I believe.

Once I see things in a certain way, I am usually so convinced that my view is right, that I seem to dig my heels in, often at my own peril. I was so convinced that there's only one way to do things, to achieve success, to have happiness, that I couldn't see that some of those choices, ironically led me to have just the opposite.  

I am finally starting to learn that looking at life this way stops you from seeing that you have other options, that you can do things differently, and that you can change them.

But, it takes a lot of work to change a lifetime spent traveling down the same road. And, sometimes it takes something painful to make you really see that you need to choose another path. Life is hard enough, we don't need to make it harder by adding unnecessary obstacles as we travel through it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 99: Looking Beyond Labels

Ah, "Day 99" aka Easter Sunday and Passover (Day 2) and I am celebrating neither. Instead, I am celebrating spring so maybe I am a pagan after all. At least I celebrate something, that's progress for those who have been worrying about my soul for the past 50 years.

To celebrate this pagan occasion, I spent some time in the garden weeding. It is a never-ending task, and you can't ever tell that you have done it. But, the fact that the weeds along the back wall are literally thigh high make it a necessity. And, the threat of them being sprayed with Monsanto's evil Roundup by somebody else who lives here has spurred me into action. But yet again, I digress.

Whilst (oh yeah, apparently I am also now British) While I was weeding, I was thinking about lots of things (like that's a big surprise). Some of them big, some small, but always thinking.

One thing I thought about is what I have learned or discovered while gardening. I actually have learned a lot of valuable lessons via my garden, much like I do via my walks. In fact, I wrote 5 Simple Life Lessons From The Garden a couple of weeks ago for Care2 about how much I learn.

Today's big life lesson was how we (okay, I) tend to box things in by categorizing them, mainly I was thinking of how I do this with people. This came to me while weeding near the nasturtiums. Those of you who garden know that "Nasties" are either loved or hated because many gardeners think of them as nothing more than weeds, hence the "nasty" nickname. They reseed themselves year after year, popping up in places you would never expect to find them, just like other weeds do.

But, I love Nasties. I love the colors, I love the flavor in salads (once you get used to them) and I love that they are a much better looking weed than most of the others I have. I also love that once I start seeing them flower, I know that spring will soon be here.
Nasturtium aka Nasties

I was thinking about how they are so easily dismissed by people and are taken for granted or under-rated because they literally do not require any care. I also started thinking about what a weed is. A weed is something that is in your garden where it isn't supposed to be, where you don't want it, that grows without you wanting it to grow. It is something that you dismiss and that you don't think should be part of your garden, or at least in the part of the garden that it is in. But, if it was growing somewhere else, or you had intentionally planted it there, it would be cared for and nurtured.

I thought about how we all put labels on people, we may not admit we do it at age 50, and maybe we don't do it anymore, but we sure did it at 15, "The Jock," "The Nerd/Geek/Brainiac," "The Stoner," etc.. We use those labels to dismiss those who don't fit into the same category as we do, or, we don't think of as useful to us. In short, those who are the weeds in our garden.

I couldn't help but think about all of the people that I missed out on knowing because I dismissed them as nothing more than weeds in my garden. Like most people do with "nasties," I didn't look past my preconceived notions long enough to see the beauty that lies within them and all that they could offer me. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 96: "I Me Mine"

I have been pondering this for a long time and this morning when I was talking to my good friend, Pablo, it came up again. As I always write here, things just always repeat themselves, and keep appearing in your life.

So, what deep thing were we discussing? The fact that today is the official start of baseball season? No, but that is an exciting thing, especially since I am going to be seeing my Giants play in SF on my 50th birthday! The fact that the LA Kings only need one more point to ensure a playoff spot? Nah, but that's important too.

While it wasn't something we talked about a lot, it was something that we have both noticed. That is the seemingly endless tendency of some people in our lives to be completely and utterly narcissistic, and to drone on and on about themselves, as if we didn't even matter.

After we talked and I took my walk, I was thinking about how every time I talk to somebody like this, all I can hear in my head is George Harrison singing "I Me Mine."

"I Me Mine" (Let It Be Naked") Version

All I can hear I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.
Even those tears I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.
No one's frightened of playing it
Everyone's saying it,
Flowing more freely than wine,
All thru' Your life, I me mine.

I-I-me-me mine,
I-I-me-me mine,
I-I-me-me mine,
I-I-me-me mine.

Now I realize that this is an ironic observation considering that I am writing this on a completely self-absorbed, "I Me Mine" blog about how hard it seems to be for me to turn 50. But at least I am aware that I do this and I consciously try to stop doing it. 
I realize if I don't, people get tired of having one-sided friendships and won't want to be your friend. They start to pull back. If you wonder why they don't talk to you as much, this is why. You aren't giving them anything in return, only taking.
I want to be the kind of friend that listens and supports, and that you don't feel is going to "one up" you when you tell them how bad (or even how good) your life is. I think that's the kind of friend we are all looking for. I know it's the kind of friend that I strive to be. If I fall short at times, I am counting on my friends to tell me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 94: Bad Karma or Just A Bad Time?

For the past two weeks I have walked around feeling like Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strip. But, instead of a big dust and dirt cloud following me around, there seems to be a big cloud of bad karmic payback or disaster following me around.

I think he's very cute, even with all that dirt. But the hair; now that I look at him closely, my hair does look like his!
In yet another example of how my life has been going, last night I was flossing my teeth, doing what the dentist and my hygienist want me to do. In short, I was doing the right thing. Or, so I thought. As I moved to the top left side of my mouth, the floss got stuck in one of my teeth, which it has been kind of doing the past few weeks, but this time it got REALLY stuck.

So, being the Einstein that I am, I pulled it out and hard. The next thing I heard was the sound of half of my tooth falling into the sink. Following that was the sound of my own voice, nearly screaming, "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit." This was almost immediately followed by the sound of Danny's footsteps running to me in the bathroom to see what all the "oh shitting" was about, and then agreeing with me that yes, in fact my tooth did break in half. 

The good news is that they got me in this morning, and that it was a clean break and that the 20+-year-old filling in that tooth needed replacing anyway. I got fitted for a crown and am now sporting a temporary crown. The bad news is of course the $1,200 price tag for my lovely new dental hardware. We have been shopping for new insurance but weren't fast enough in choosing it. Sigh....

I know that "bad things happen to good people" (hey, my first tired cliché in a long time) and things just happen. But, I also can't help but wonder why bad things seem to happen all at once. I know in the bigger picture they haven't been that bad. It's just that I feel like I am spiraling out of control and am desperately trying to find the center in my karmic dust cloud so that I am reassured that I have not completely lost control of my own life.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 93: Does She Or Doesn't She?

It is funny that I seem to get most of my inspiration for writing this blog from my Facebook feed. Like today's post for instance.

I had no intention of writing about gray hair, or my graying hair, even though this is something that has been bothering me for a long time. And, when I saw this: Gray Hair On Women Hits The Workplace on my Facebook feed, I just decided I needed to write about it.

Now most people would think that what bothers me is the fact that I am going gray. I would be lying to say that it doesn't bother me at all, or that it doesn't make me feel like I am getting older. I AM getting older, and ironically, my hair is getting darker as it gets grayer.

But, that's not what bothers me the most. What bothers me the most is that there's this assumption that I should be coloring it and hiding the fact that this perfectly natural part of aging is happening to me so that I can keep looking younger.

Why do I feel this way? Well this quote from the article helps explain it: "In 1950, 7 percent of women dyed their hair, she said. Today, it's closer to 95 percent or more, depending on geographic location. In the `60s, easy, affordable hair dye in a box hit store shelves, changing the follicle landscape for good."

This is true, most of the women in my life, my friends, my family, all color their hair, and most of them have done it since way before they started turning gray. I have never colored my hair, not even highlights, and have often been quizzed about why this is, or even pressured to do it. 

As I wrote about when talking about my eye color and my glasses, I appreciate that other people have good intentions and have a different idea of beauty, or what makes somebody look beautiful. But, I am perfectly content with what nature gave me, and I like my hair color. Even though I might bitch sometimes that I am graying and wrinkling, I bitch about everything else why should that be any different? I have lived 50 years, and I have earned each and every gray hair and line on my face. Like my eye color, they are what make me, me.

I can't speak for anyone else, nor would I ever want to make somebody else feel like they shouldn't do it, just like I hate it when they tell me I should do it.

But for me, another quote in this story really hits at the heart of it for me, "I felt like I had sold my soul and betrayed myself."

As with most things in life, I can always change my mind and my hair color. But, to me, what's more important is what's on the inside, that I become beautiful there because that's where it really counts. I can always get a new hair color, or new glasses, or new clothes. But is that really where true beauty lies?