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Let’s Call It My GRED Moment of Self-Acceptance

By Michelle Kerr Spry August 01, 2022 Mindset

This random train of thought started in January as I was planning a trip to Mexico, specifically Playa de Carmen, for my husband’s 60th birthday. While doing my research, I found that this little resort town was known for its lively night life, restaurant scene, and shopping experience; all the town’s offerings were right up our alley.

There was, however, one small thing that gave me pause – all the pictures were of the youngest, tightest, most beautiful bodies and faces that I’ve ever seen – 58-year-old yikes!

My Perceived Reality

My internal yikes was a new narrative for me. While I have always been pretty confident that I look good for my age, I knew I didn’t look as good compared with THEIR age. And then we have the gym honed body of my husband, who looks amazing for 60, in both body and unwrinkled face.

While I have very few wrinkles and a fairly slim body type, the menopausal girth is real, particularly around the middle. Had I really booked a trip to the land of youth and beauty? How will the environment affect my enjoyment of the trip? Have any of you had this kind of buyer’s remorse – planned a trip then went into beach-body freak-out mode?

Thinking Up the “Best” Solution

So, what did I do, you might ask? I went into food monitoring and walking daily to get as ready as I could. I also did something I said I would never do – I blonded my beautiful grey hair. To be frank, my hair is really gorgeous with its ombre from black to grey to a clear white that looks salon designed.

Regardless of what I previously saw as beautiful 365 days a year, in under an hour I destroyed that by bleaching and toning to an ash blond. I must tell you, it did look good and suited me, but I didn’t prepare myself for the inevitable – the sun bleached it more and fried it to death! More about that later…

I lost a few pounds; I think my waist reappeared momentarily throughout the trip if I didn’t eat bread and I got fabulous outfits to complete the transformation. I was ready to walk the streets with confidence and a little swagger.

How It Really Went Down

Then we got to our destination and not only was I reminded I looked good for my age, but the images that I was competing against were just that – images that were staged, photoshopped and unrealistic.

Here’s the rub, I knew that before I even looked at the marketing materials. I’m a reasonable, intelligent woman who understands the marketing and branding world.

So, what happened?

The honest answer is that I got scared that my handsome husband would be reminded of what I used to look like, and I would be found wanting. In his defense, he is not that guy, this is my projection of self onto his perspective; unfair and toxic.

Lessons Learned

Let’s wrap up this journey by sharing what I learned.

  • I learned that for someone who spouts what a gift it is to age, I let myself down by falling prey to societal ageism.
  • I didn’t trust that I was more than good enough.
  • But most importantly, my acts of “beautification” could teach my daughter the wrong message, that there was something wrong with getting mature and grey.

She was the first one to ask why I touched my hair color. She has watched me try to recapture my grey by coloring the fried blond to a morbid brown to several color removal processes that now has my hair an unintentional gred (an unnatural grey/red). It’s like a person is trying something new, it kind of works, but it’s not quite right.

A GRED Moment

This is now what I call the times when I doubt myself, I’m having a “gred” moment – but I know it will pass, and I sit still and wait because as a human, as an ageing woman, I’m allowed to have a GRED every now and then.

Share your thoughts with our community – let’s support each other and our moments of GRED! Do you, too, have GRED moments? If so, how do you get yourself out of them? Share a moment when you had “toxic comparison syndrome”. Did you learn anything about yourself through that moment? What do you think these moments say to our daughters, granddaughters, and other women? Do you hesitate in accepting the 60ish year-old self and all of its physical changes? Or are you that woman that accepts it all as a rite of passage, if you will?

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Michelle Kerr Spry is an educator and a married mother of three and the Founder and President of The Echo Collective. She is determined to develop a new generation of dynamic women. Her drive comes from her personal motto, “I have never believed that I can’t, so I only know that I can.”

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Kate

Thank you thank you for your honesty! We all talk the talk of aging with grace and positivity, but honestly, we are up against a huge marketing, social media and ‘in our face’ onslaught of constant images of youth and beauty. It helps to hear of others that slip into the comparison and you had the fortitude to be transparent! Keep the swagger when it hits, I like that word!

Terri

I don’t see anywhere in the article what GRED is an acronym for. Could you please say what it means?

Haller Chaney

Nice and honest. We all have those moments.

Barbara Catallo

I highly recommend Emma Thompson’s new movie called Good Luck to You Leo Grande! Brava Emma!!!
https://youtu.be/TJcbZoJFLTU

Cindy

Let’s love and accept ourselves for who we are – regardless of age. Avoid the marketing hype of anti-aging products and hearing that gray hair ages you.

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