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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?

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What does GRED mean?


I’m definitely struggling. It just doesn’t feel real that I’m 65- inside my head I’m no different than I was at 40. I know I look good for my age. I work out, eat mostly healthy foods and I like to think I have a ‘young’ outlook because I am always open to learning new things.


I hope your hair is soon restored to its silver glory. I started going gray in my early 20s, guess there is a gene for that. I started coloring to hide the gray in my late 30s but then got tired of the need for frequent root touch ups. I grew out my natural color and my hair was beautiful, all the gray framed my face and there were strong “stripes” that looked like highlights. Then I overheard some comments like “oh you look so distinguished”, not sure that distinguished was the look that I was going for. And things like “oh you are so brave but aren’t you afraid people will think you look old”. I gave in to the subliminal ageism and colored my hair again. And grew it out again for the last time. Now gray/silver hair is fashionable and even if it weren’t I would never color over my hair again. I think it’s beautiful and if it makes me look old then that’s fine with me because I actually am getting to be an age that can objectively be considered old. I’ve come to consider my advancing age as a blessing, not something to be hidden.

Michelle Kerr-Spry

Cindy, you are absolutely right in sharing the message of acceptance for where we are at every beautiful stage of life!


Susan W.

Thanks so much for sharing this experience and honestly, I am sure that a majority of us have had such an experience. I myself had such an experience several years ago at a beach town in Southern California. The truth is, the bodies were perfect that were lazing around the pool and I felt so uncomfortable in my skin. Today, at age 71, I would feel very different. Reason being is that at the beginning of the year, I stopped making up excuses for the extra pounds that I picked up that were making me feel uncomfortable and not my best. I really hunkered down and got real and honest with myself. Today, 5 months later, I have ridded myself of 22 lbs. that really look great for my 5’2″ body. The confidence that I now have will take me comfortably to any beach or public place because I feel that at my age now, I am rocking it but it took some very big and difficult changes. Today, 15 years since that pool scene, I can cut through the superficiality and toxins of a poor self image, and feel that now, I am truly comfortable to be me and have no doubts. The fact that you stepped up your game and prepared, just proved that a reality check and a little self investing, proved to be a good thing even if you fell prey to marketing nonsense. Good for you!

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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