In Search of the Fountain of Life (Day 1)

(Photo credit: Ross Fountain, Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Photo taken by Martin LaBar. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.)

 

I don’t know exactly how much of my hair would be gray if I didn’t color it, but I’ve got to guess it is somewhere between 50 and 75 percent. As shocking as that sounds, I’m guessing that the hair grayness of many women my age would also be in that range. But it sounds crazy, since so few of us dare to go au natural.

Every single month, I choose to put chemicals in my hair because I don’t want others to view me as older than I am. I know that I shouldn’t be bothered by this perception, but the truth is that in our culture, to actually look your age once you reach middle age is cause for shame among most of us.

There are many things we have control over in our lives, but aging isn’t one of them. Even so, we exert tremendous amounts of energy and spend billions of dollars not just trying to turn back time but creating a culture where the benefits of aging (which in my opinion are far greater than the handicaps) are grossly ignored and overshadowed.

While I have great respect for those who’ve come before me, and believe more and more as I age that the best is yet to come, I’m as guilty as the next person of perpetuating the notion that to be vital in the world, we need to appear youthful long past the years of our youth. Like most of the people I know, I try to teach my children that what is inside them is much more important than what is on the outside, yet my actions undoubtedly speak louder than my words.

Which is why I’m making some changes here on the blog.

You may have noticed already the new design and the new title. For the next 365 days (today included,) my blog will be called “FIFTY” because for the next 365 days, I will be fifty years old.

As a gift to myself for my 50th birthday, I am setting out to write a journal about all of those benefits of aging, which get pushed aside while we work so hard on changing our outsides to look different (younger) than our insides.

It has taken me a long time to learn how to love myself, to gain the wisdom to trust my instincts, to take my passions seriously, and to respect others for their whole beings, not just the parts I understand. This kind of beauty comes with age and it’s a beauty that cannot be faked with potions or therapies or surgery.

By focusing more attention on the details of my life as a woman of 50, I hope that I can move closer toward living the truths about life that are in my heart. On the way, I hope you’ll join the discussion about all of the wonderful parts of growing older and maybe together we can impact cultural expectations a bit as well.

My friend’s grandmother died recently at age 104. She was completely lucid and functioning well until a month before she died. With the possibility of 54 more years of active living, I am not interested in looking backward, searching for the Fountain of Youth. What I am in search of is far more valuable: the Fountain of Life.

 

Sara

Sara

I write about daily life, arts & culture, food, books, nature, animals, parenting, relationships, self-discovery, & more.

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26 thoughts on “In Search of the Fountain of Life (Day 1)

  1. As one who is facing this milestone, I am excited to read your thoughts on the road ahead. Fifty is the new…. Fifty?!

  2. I love it, finding the “fountain of life!” That fountain is all of ours to find if we want to. I couldn’t be more inspired in the middle of my life. Fifty is truly a celebration, as some people don’t get the chance to make it to this milestone. I am very excited about the next 365 days, your blog and finding inspiration on this page. Cheers to 50 and Happy Birthday Sara! May the next 50 be even better then the first! xoxo

  3. Happy middle age, Sara. All I can say is that for most of us aging is a blessedly slow and easy process. May the Spanish Inquisition not intervene too often.

  4. HAPPY 50 Sara, I am coming with you and graciously appreciate you calling me and the others “BRave” (funky computer here). I went au-naturel a few months ago, and as a licensed stylist, yep-nearly 50% silver. Your words so comforting, I am a little terrified of this phase and looking forward to your reminders of the benefits of 50!

    1. I’m excited about turning 50. Not quite comfortable enough with myself to let the gray through yet, though. I hope you’ll continue to read and comment and get something out of the blog!

  5. I, too, face a milestone in June…one a bit removed from yours and more daunting for me personally. But, I have learned along the way that the only opinion of you that matters is your own and the opinions of those you RESPECT. Everyone else is entitled to his/her opinion of me, but it probably won’t cause me to change something important to me. I have acquaintences who worried about others’ opinions in anticipation of our 50th high school reunion!

    1. 55, right? 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly about who’s opinions really matter. Sometimes, I forget though and need to be brought back from the dark side.

  6. Happy birthday Sara! I’m loving the look and topic of this new blog.

    I am way past 50 and I’m just not ready to let more gray hairs show through. I colour portions of my hair (called ‘highlighting’) so as I am ready I will highlight less and let more gray be.

    This 104-year-old gives us perspective, doesn’t she? There is still so much of life out there. I am finding that it’s harder to get up when I fall skiing and the bruises take a bit longer to fade, but I would not trade places with my twenty-year-old self. Or my thirty- or forty-year-old self.

    Looking forward to following your 50th year!

    1. Thanks Suzanne! I would not trade places with my younger self either. At times, though, I think I’d trade places with my kids. They’ve got it pretty good!

  7. Sara, This is a very exciting writing –and living– challenge! I look forward to seeing your take on the road ahead of us, and sharing the experience of 50 with you. Happy birthday! May the year be even better than you imagined!

  8. I started coloring my hair in my twenties, and was able to do the ‘let it go gray’ thing in my late 30s – early 40s, and I’ll tell you what, I’ve never felt so invisible in my life. Now my hair is is a mash-up of gray, blond, and brown, and it’s longer than age-appropriate, but I love it. And I LOVE the new look and theme of your blog. This is going to be a fun year!

  9. Yay, Sara! I love the blog. I love that you’re celebrating you and reminding us that it’s life and not youth that is valuable.

    My mother has always been obsessed with her appearance and her age. She lied about her age for years, and now, at 86, she still gets her hair frosted quarterly, and is forever on some diet. She spends money on creams to get rid of the bags under her eyes, and other creams to fade the brown spots…

    And she’s obsessed with my appearance too. Last week, she put her hand on my hair and said, “Oh, I wish you would take care of all that gray! You would look so much prettier and younger.”

    Sigh.

    I told her, “Those are my highlights! I like them.”

  10. Thanks Trish! We are inundated with messages about how aging is a bad thing, primarily because you are no longer young, and I find that to be a ridiculous message that I can’t help but be pulled into believing, at times. I hope that this blog can be part of the campaign to alter our perspectives about aging, so we can enjoy ourselves and our lives while we are alive!

  11. Love this, Sara! Such a great idea. I’m stumbling into my mid-40’s and am trying to get a grip on all that entails. Looking forward to reading your adventures this coming year.

So what do you think?