The weekend before my 60th birthday is gray and cold for Florida. It is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a cup of jasmine tea and a good book. My friend, Danica, recently sent me Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters by Anne Kreamer.
Since this is the optimal time to reflect on six decades of life and ponder how I am doing at the living authentically thing…I studied the cover with the perfectly coiffed, gray-haired woman. I had to chuckle at myself for thinking that I wished my hair were graying..my family gets darker as we age. I would much prefer white or gray hair to the really dark blond (?) it has turned. Staying blond(er) is a real challenge and a huge money pit!!! So I opened the pages and began to read.
It felt like I was on a journey with a girlfriend…walking cautiously toward acceptance of whom we really are as wise women in 21st century America. Although I am a few years older than Anne, and I am nowhere near gray or about to be gray any time soon, I found the process enlightening.
My favorite chapter is, “French Women Do Go Gray.” In an e-mail conversation with Mireille Guiliano, author of French women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille writes:
It is not an outward patina that is attractive but a kind of inward one…a French woman is most defined by her ease at being herself and the attractiveness that comes from relishing her pleasures. French women achieve this state more intuitively than most...
Bravo! I love the thought of my inward patina and spend a few hours smiling about it as I continued to read. I created a little sign ‘inward patina’ and placed it on my computer screen so I would smile on a regular basis.
During a trip to Lily Dale spiritual community, Anne hears “live my life more in accordance with the truth.” That is a great mantra for me at this point in time. My truth seems to be that I am authentically quirky, unconventional and delightfully curious. I do not highlight my hair for anyone but me as it simply makes me feel better. I have just a few strands of gray sprinkled throughout this darkening hair. It is the dark part that bothers me, not the gray.
It was a good, quick read for a lazy weekend. I enjoyed the journey through Match.com, the image consultants and the survey. However, I do not seem to fit into any of her lifestyle groups, but I am accepting of that. And you’re looking pretty spiffy there girlfriend.
Anne Kreamer is the former executive vice-president and worldwide creative director of Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, and a co-founder of SPY magazine. She currently writes the monthly “American Treasures” column for Martha Stewart Living and is a former columnist for Fast Company. Kreamer lives in Brooklyn with her husband, novelist and journalist Kurt Andersen, and her two daughters. Fast Company.
Visit Anne’s Web site at www.annekreamer.com.