September 17, 2010

Aging Naturally

This week's Beauty of the Week is Gail Lewis Lord. As Lines of Beauty's second guest blogger, Gail has written a great piece for us about growing older:

Rarely do I believe I am “growing old gracefully.” I struggle with the same insecurities all women face when we look in the mirror and see our own mothers staring back at us.

I am a 63 year old, divorced mother of three grown children with three grandsons, who is retired but still not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life. Currently, I volunteer at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center, consult on marketing, keep up many friends, read and travel. Frankly, I do not know how I ever had time to work! But I treasure my alone and down time. Learning how to love my own company has been one of the greatest gifts in my process of maturing gracefully.

I have also learned there are no magic potions or bullets to change the course of time. We are all largely products of our genes and environments, whether we like it or not. For example, my genes dictated that I would turn gray in my 20s. At first, it just looked like my hair was heavily frosted -even my hairdressers thought so.

That first year I fought turning gray with every hair color product available until I turned my hair GREEN! Thankfully, a hairdresser was able to reverse my coloring disaster. But that experience cured me of trying again. My hair was even resistant to beauty parlor products. Forced to accept my silver locks, I embraced them, and never looked back. Friends say my hair is my crowning glory; I am blessed and grateful to have good hair. Complete strangers stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful they think it is. But life is full of good hair days and bad hair days.

Another lesson learned is that our emotions are inextricably connected to our bodies and that stress can kill. We can suit up and show up, and do our best, but that is all we can do. Trying to control how others think or act only causes us stress. Coping with this reality is an ongoing challenge, but I keep trying. I’m not as hard on myself anymore if I don’t succeed.

Over the years, I have been blessed with wonderful, supportive friends, without whom I probably would not have survived. For me, maturing gracefully is an ongoing process of appreciating those friends, self-discovery, acceptance, gratitude, and curiosity about life. And it doesn’t hurt to have good hair!