Another birthday has come and gone. The day before was spent in the city, but it was relaxed because there was no pressuring to-do list attached to our wanderings. We did the flea market circuit and added some more books to my library. Who wouldn’t love a mint 99-cent copy of the 2010 Giller prizewinner The Sentimentalists? We then had a nice meal with Hilary before she went out to an event at the art gallery. We spent a quiet evening at ?Hotel Hilary? before heading to bed much earlier than usual. Was it because she doesn’t have TV and we didn’t get sucked into staying up much later than makes sense?
The next morning, my actual birthday, was spent with a little hair experiment. With two different products (a curl enhancer and styling mud), clips, and a hair dryer with a diffuser, Hilary created the Hazel version of the curly look. Curls are supposedly replacing all the sleek styles created with the damaging heat of a flatiron. When the laughter finally subsided, I decided to go with it, knowing that gravity and the weight of the product would tame the tangles. They did and I love it. Whether I would do all that work is another question.
Which brings me to the issue of maintenance. Women notoriously spend a great deal of time primping and preening. The young ones spend time, energy, and money ?getting ready,? usually in the hopes of mate attraction. Older ones are intent on fighting the ravages of time.
That’s why we colour our grey hair. And experiment with styles and cuts that guarantee to make us look younger and slimmer and to shave hours off our beauty regime. We pluck the unwanted shoots sprouting up in unexpected places. In other places, we fill in what’s missing. We augment our lashes with mascara and our brows with pencil strokes. We conceal the dark circles beneath our eyes. We use cold compresses to reduce the swelling beneath those same eyes that now need progressive lenses to carry us through the day.
We regret the lines etched in our faces by years of grimacing, scowling, and worrying. We wish we had worn sunscreen, smiled more, and taken our makeup off every single night of our lives. We wish we had exercised more, eaten less and better, and gotten more sleep. We wish we had taken notes during What Not To Wear. We curse or thank the genes that formed our very foundation. We see ourselves turning into our mothers, which may or may not be a good thing.
And then when sanity returns, we thank the good Lord that we lived to see another birthday. We are grateful for our straight/curly/grey/coarse/fine hair and lumpy/too big/too small breasts because cancer treatments can take it all away. We are grateful for full hips and strong legs that take us where wheelchairs and canes can’t go. We grab our glasses, thankful that macular degeneration has bypassed us. Perspective saves the day again, from where I sit.