When poor health forced me to leave paid employment nearly two years ago, having a much smaller income forced me to make some big lifestyle choices.
And one of them has left me feeling happier with the savings I have made, and has also taken away some of the pressures of looking a certain way. Aging is one of those things that we cannot escape from. It happens to all of us, and how we age is up to us.
Many women choose to keep colouring their hair, and that is obviously a personal choice.
I had spent quite a bit whilst working having my hair re-coloured every six to eight weeks. As it got greyer, the roots started to show more frequently. I had a few brief skirmishes with supermarket dyes but the bathroom looked like the aftermath of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, my towels had permanent tie-dyed effects and the worst thing of all, my hair looked flat, lifeless and monochromatic. In fact, it aged me even more. The tired pale face underneath that flaming hair looked older than ever.
I had toyed with the idea of going grey for years, but realised that growing it out was going to be a big commitment, particularly as I am blessed with fine, straight, brown hair.
But I did begin, and initially it did look fairly obvious as the coloured skunk stripe grew away from my parting. But I persisted and I am glad that I did, as after nearly eighteen months, my hair has almost got rid of the last bit of colour on the tips. And I love my new look. I have to compromise with a more vivid lipstick colour and blusher, but I think it looks pretty good.
I also was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in that period of time, and one of the medications I am on makes my hair fall out. Going grey has made my hair change in texture, it is slightly coarser and seems to have more body, so the hair loss is less noticeable.
One of the best things I have found is that my local Tafe has a hair and beauty school, and for the princely sum of $10, I get a super cut and blow dry by the students. I haven’t had a dud yet, and the supervisors keep a close eye on the students. I also have the odd massage or facial for $25, which is wonderful when you are on a tight budget.
I have found a new freedom as I have moved away from dying my hair.
There is a type of tyranny in the quest for beauty, as women invest a lot of money in looking good. Instead, I am investing more in the quality of food that I eat and looking after my health so that my face and body shine with good health and energy.
I found a photo this morning of me with my previous gorgeous, foiled hair-do. I was working in a stressful job, and in spite of the gorgeous hair, my face looked tired and drawn. Working just to maintain a look that attempted to make me look younger and up-to-date was just not working.
Now, at 64, I enjoy and embrace my new look and friends and family have concurred that it really suits me.
For many going grey is a small thing, but for me it was quite a challenge as I knew I was letting go of an image I was trying to maintain. Somehow, though, I feel more authentic now as I am embracing a more holistic lifestyle and using far less chemicals for my beauty routine. It’s definitely a personal choice, and one that many women (and men) think about eventually.