You’ve decided to do what?

Every time I think that I’m going to blog on a more regular basis, life gets in the way and I don’t get around to it. Then, so many things change and it is hard to catch up in one post. When I last posted, I had this idea that I would run 5, 5Ks this year. Well, it turns out that I neither like running in the gym, nor outside when it is over 80 degrees. Thanks to climate change (or for those traditional folks, just a fluke of nature), we have had days and days of 95+ degree weather (very abnormal for this time of year). So, I have only been running on Saturday mornings. This week I got in two runs thanks to the 3 day weekend. I am taking circuit training and spinning/circuit training classes on other days. So, that goal of 5, 5Ks in my 55th year will not be achieved.

So what am I doing? Well, I have been learning a lot about autoimmune illnesses (my two are Ulcerative Colitis and Reynaud’s Disease). And, I have been reading all about how diet, exposure to toxins, leaky gut, etc. are related to autoimmune illness. You think Nightmare on Elm Street is scary, you should read this stuff. In my reading, I came across studies that indicate that continuing to dye my hair (brown) actually increases my risk of developing Lupus threefold. I know people with Lupus. It is not something I want to experience.

Here I am, almost 22 months post surgery to repair my thoracic aortic aneurysm. I’m still here and while I long ago cut out fast foods and many packaged meals, I have continued to use products, eat foods, and do things that put my health in danger. My thoughts:

If I’m gonna hang around for a while, I might as well be healthy and make choices to support my health.

What does that mean? It means that, while I have always been mindful of labels, I am scrutinizing labels for toxic ingredients. I am avoiding GMOs. I am eating fewer animal products and when I do, I am buying organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, free-range, small farm raised products. I go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. I try to buy organic wines. We are using cast iron skillets and have gotten rid of our nonstick pans. Our saucepans are stainless steel. I threw out some of my anti-aging creams. And…I have dyed my hair for the last time. What?

I am going to let my beautiful gray, silver, white hair grow out uncolored.

Last weekend, I had my hair stylist/colorist put in hundreds of platinum blonde highlights so that the process of growing in my silvery, gray and white hair will be more subtle. So here is the interesting part. I had very positive feedback from many women when I announced this. And of the men who were brave enough to opine – one was completely on board, one was happy once he knew I wasn’t going to stay blonde, one came around, and one said I shouldn’t do it.

I have thought about this a lot, in particular my thoughts have turned to our culture and its issues with aging. So many people over the age of 35 spend their time trying to look young or younger. There are creams, dyes, surgeries, Spanx, clothing with hidden support panels, push-up bras, etc. How many products are there that support aging in a healthy, happy, and beautiful way? Have you seen any commercials for shampoos that enhance the silver in your hair? Since when did it become a crime to age? Didn’t cultures of the past honor and respect the elders in their communities?

I apologize for the mini-rant, but as a healthy, relatively young 55 year old, I am offended by a society that tells me I should try to look younger rather than celebrate who I am. I came by the lines on my face and the silver in my hair while serving the the U.S. Navy, raising a daughter while her father was away at sea (Navy) much of the time, finishing a BA, MS, and Ph.D. in clinical psychology, serving as Ombudsman on one of my ex-husband’s ships, being a Daisy Girl Scout leader, and working as a psychotherapist for more than 20 years. And all the while, struggling with Ulcerative Colitis.

So as the silver and white hairs gradually show themselves, if you see me run by you in the neighborhood, or if I’m on a cycle next to you in spinning class, or maybe we bump into each other at the farmer’s market or we’re seated near one another at a local restaurant that serves meat and produce from area farms, say hi, smile, admire the light shining off of my locks, but don’t you dare suggest that I could look younger if I did this or that!

 

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