My curiousity about aging began 2 years ago while traveling upon a Toronto city bus. I was at that time, a healthy and agile, vibrant and capable 47 year old who had just recently let her hair grow out after years of dyeing it various shades of brunette. Admittedly, I was still adjusting to the silver and grey locks that toppled from my crown, but otherwise felt unchanged in my appearance, my capabilities, my intellect, or my stamina. So, I was completely unprepared for the kind albeit surprising act of one passenger who felt it necessary to relinquish her seat to me. At first I thought it was just a courtesy, as she had indicated she was getting off at the next stop. However, after several stops had passed and she was still on the bus, I began to wonder what exactly had prompted her action. It struck me rather suddenly as I pondered this question, that perhaps it was the colour of my hair. I did not take offense but rather found myself immersed in the energy of what that meant. I had crossed some kind of line that I had not seen before me. I had unknowingly been ushered across a threshold into another realm marked by behaviours I was not accustomed to. In fact, it was I who stood for those who I considered elderly and yet, here I was, faced suddenly with a reflection that I did not recognize as my own. I struggled to know how to be with this new status - one where social convention (albeit waning convention) dictates that those most frail among us should be garnered special attention. I am not frail, nor am I old. I am aging, and I embrace this reality, fully. Perhaps the entire point of that experience was to awaken me to my own reality, providing an opportunity to examine more consciously, the nature of my own aging process. Rather than entering it unconsciously, as though slowly falling to sleep, I am provided now, with the opportunity to revisit, redefine, and rebirth what it means to be an aging woman in our society. More than youth, I have the wisdom of my years to guide me now and I relish in that truth.
Perhaps this is my work then… to transcend the colour of my hair, and to be the strength and the wisdom that define the second half of life.