When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
John Keats, “Ode to a Grecian Urn”
I remember reading Keats’s famous poem ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’. Somehow it seemed to speak to me of beauty when I was 17 years old. Now at 68, it seems to say something else.
Signs of aging happens to the best of us. Some accept it and carry on not giving it another thought. Some not so much.
I am in the latter group. While I don’t obsess over it, I do try to slow the process a little.
Some people seem to find a sense of superiority in not doing anything to help their appearance. A lot of those people wore the latest clothes, dyed their hair, put on the make-up, and always tried to keep up. Now, it seems to be the thing to not do any of these things.
I have been working hard to follow my mantra for this year which is ‘You do you and I’ll do me’. COVID-19 has caused most of us to not worry about how we look since we can’t go out so much anymore.
For quite some time my hairdresser, Cindy, was closed, so my hair grew and grew. I have always been blessed with hair that grows rather fast and is quite thick. Normally I would have my hair thinned every 3–4 weeks and then a complete cut every other month. Now no cuts, and no dye or highlights. Yikes!
A lot of neighbors and friends said don’t bother with dye and highlights you look fine. Now, when anyone says to me, ‘You look fine.’ I am always suspicious.
I definitely don’t have delusions of grandeur but every time I looked in the mirror I saw this old lady staring back at me. What happened is I stopped looking in the mirror.
When Cindy was able to take clients I was never so glad to see someone as I was to see her. My hair isn’t going to make me look fabulous but I feel like myself once more.
Julia Roberts once said ‘ Good looks fade but a good heart keeps you beautiful forever.’ I know, I know, it’s Julia ‘freakin’ Roberts but still. The point is that everyone’s looks will fade at some point. While some of us try a little harder to beat Father Time, only the lucky ones will see him at the end.
You must be the one to know what will make you feel good and when or if you want to change your mind. Another way to look at beauty is the way Tina Fey does. She says, ‘If you retain nothing else always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: ‘Who cares?’
I think of my favorite aunt that I met when I was just 13 years old. We met this woman right after my uncle had married her. Being 13, the excitement of a wedding superseded her looks. Besides, she was 22 at the time, so essentially old!
Because she was such a great person I never even saw her looks. I was showing some pictures of my aunt and uncle to friends when they said ‘She is as homely as a mud fence.’ I was shocked but when I looked at her objectively they were right. I couldn’t see her that way though. I just saw her as my very favorite aunt and a beautiful person. She remains this way today at 77 years old.
Living a life of truth is a beautiful thing. Trying to be honest and truthful brings a beauty that doesn’t fade.
So, what to do? That is the question. Well, I think the answer is quite clear. You’re old enough. The truth is you get to decide what you want to do. If you’re happy that’s the key. Carry on and enjoy your life, one hairdressing appointment at a time.