Saturday, April 14, 2018

I Did a Thing: A Post on (Hopefully) Aging Gracefully

I'm turning 40 in a few months. I know, I know. I'm actually really okay with it, much more okay than I was with turning 30. I feel like I'm at a place in my life where I know myself. I like myself. I'm comfortable in my own skin.
So maybe what happened yesterday should come as no surprise.
I've had short hair for the better part of 20 years. Occasionally, I'll get the bug to have long, luscious locks, which results in me spending a year growing out my hair only to discover that A) I don't have luscious locks and B) I don't like hair. Oh well. Back to the salon I go, have a years worth of growth sheared off, sport some short looks for a few years, lather, rinse, repeat. But this isn't really about that.
I started coloring my hair the night before my high school graduation and except for the times I've been pregnant, I have consistently colored since. And mostly, I enjoyed it. I've been every normal color...and a few not found in nature and it was fun. But my end game was to always stop coloring and go gray naturally. Of course, I didn't expect to start going gray at 27. At that time, the magic age was 50. Then it was 45. And now, here I am on the cusp of the big 4-0 and I said, "Maybe the time is now."
And then I second guessed and third guessed it and fourth guessed it because chronic overthinker in the house.
I asked my husband his opinion. And then my 17 year old son. And my mom. And my best friend. And then I over thought it some more. And then I just made an appointment. I figured if I hated it, I'd color it and no one ever needed to know.
Since I'm not afraid of short hair (and honestly, I don't know why anyone is, it's literally just hair), I decided to cut out all the old color and just embrace the gray.



And from that shot, you're probably like, "Ummm.." because from far away, it doesn't look like I had a whole lot of grey to worry about, but let's take a closer look.


Those aren't highlights and my natural hair has never been that ashen or light before. There are just a whole lot of grays sprinkled around.
The verdict? So far, I love it. It's different and fun and I feel, I don't know, free, maybe? I haven't done any crazy hair colors in a while, so I plan to just keep changing up the cut while I accumulate more gray hair. It's only been about 24 hours, do I plan to update this in three months. And since I know someone will ask, my husband loves it. As soon as I brought it up, he was 100% behind the idea. He's my biggest cheerleader.
In the end, the decision wasn't really about bucking any beauty standards or challenging the system that says women shouldn't show their age. It was more about putting less of my time, energy, and money into the things that are going to make me look young and more of those resources into the things that will actually make me feel young.
Going gray at this age is not right for everyone and I don't expect kudos for doing it. The whole reason for writing this post is because I couldn't find any info on graying at 40 and I don't want anyone who is considering this to feel alone. I'm doing what is right for my life right now and if you are reading this and you get anything from this post, please get that point. Do what is right for your life right now. Freely. Unapologetically. But the shoes, eat the cake, say no to the things you don't want to do. You only die once, but you live everyday. Isn't it time to make your own rules?

Choosing Joy,
Jen




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Word of the Year {2017}

She loves the smell of
warm coffees,
bloomed roses
and new beginnings.

~ S.A.
 
Wow, it's been over a year since I said I'd be better about blogging.  Oops.  Life happened, but I guess that's everyone's excuse, am I right?  I promise I might try to think about doing better maybe.  😉

I put a lot of thought into choosing my one word.  It's a daunting challenge.  This one word acts as your lighthouse for 365 days.  The temptation was there to choose a big, beautiful word, something that people would read and think, "My gosh, that woman is a genius.  Let us bow at her feet." 

Then something happened. 

I made a post on Facebook about how I've gotten to the point where I really don't enjoy the Christmas season anymore.  Overwhelmingly, the advice I got was to "learn to say no."  But when I analyzed myself, I realized that it's not "no" I have a problem with.  I'm great at saying "no".  I could be the great curator of the no museum. No, no, no, no, no.

I also say "yes" a lot, lest you think I'm some kind of Negative Nancy.  I say yes so much that I am frequently overextended.

But back to no.

I've always suffered from a bit of mild social anxiety.  I'm also a closet introvert.  If you know me in real life, you're probably like

but it's true.  For a while after my sister died, I suffered from a more generalized anxiety and panic attacks.  For someone who already felt anxiety in social situations, it was really terrifying.  I stopped accepting invitations to go places unless my husband went with me.  I didn't attend birthday parties, even for my own nieces and nephews, unless I had somewhere to escape.  And if I had to drive more than 15 or 20 minutes, forget about it.  Not happening.  If you wondered why I fell off the face of the earth from 2012-2014, there you go.  I liked people, I probably needed to be around those people but I couldn't face the possible humiliation of a breakdown, even though I had a whole one episode in public.  That's my deep, dark secret.  (I am better now, so if you still love me and want to see me, I will make an effort if you promise not to judge me if I start getting nervous.  😊 ) 

So, all of that was to say this.  I am really great at no.

What I discovered though, was that I'm not so great at "why."  And I don't mean in the "let me justify why I just told you no" kind of way.  I already do that, even when I don't want to.  I'm working on it.

My One Word for 2017 will be WHY.  #oneword365

Finding my why.  Remembering my why.  Justifying myself to no one but myself. 

365 days to discover who I am as a person and to grow from it.

365 days to learn to be as purposeful as possible.

I'm excited for the journey.

Jen