‘I’m in My 60s, Aging Feels Taboo Where I Live’

Bonnie Schneider-Priever

I was worried about aging long before I noticed a single silver strand of hair jumping out at me in the mirror in my early forties. But now, as I approach my mid 60’s, the term “mid-life crisis” is becoming increasingly relevant to me.

On a typical day, I wake up, and before I brush my teeth or wash my face, I immediately do my “mirror, mirror on the wall” routine, which involves plucking out yet another discovered gray hair—or two, or three. But, rather than pulling out my whole head of hair, or cutting it into a mohawk, I get a grip.

Living in Los Angeles, a place known as the “City of Angels” and synonymous with do-overs, I’m constantly concerned about aging as gracefully and as slowly as I can. To me, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and their environs have a deep, superficial, obsession with eternal youth—as reflected by the abundance of skin care and anti-aging products on the market in the area.

From DIY home microdermabrasion facial kits to glycolic chemical peels and Botox injections, supposed remedies for aging are all around me. Am I losing my mind, or is my onset of gray and daily memory lapses a normal, gradual, natural stage in my life?

Bonnie Schneider-Priever
Bonnie Schneider-Priever is a former freelance market researcher from Los Angeles. Bonnie told Newsweek about what it’s like to be in a woman in her 60s in LA.
Bonnie Schneider-Priever

Physical signs of aging

When I first started noticing my gray hairs, I immediately jotted down a “to-do” list for the day ahead, knowing I’d feel sparks of joy as I tick each item off. Firstly, I would make an appointment for highlights or maybe a semi-permanent full color coverage.

Secondly, I would consult with my hairdresser about the ‘normal’ age range when graying begins, to validate my sanity and peace of mind. Next on the list, buy multi-colored headbands, scarves, and hats to hide my aging hair.

Finally, look on the internet to see if graying is actually caused by excessive stress and worry—after all, several high-powered women turned all white, way before their time. Not to mention, many a United States president.

I have been writing regular “to do” lists ever since and go to my hairdresser every six weeks to maintain a “blonde is beautiful” color. Though many friends and colleagues have chosen to embrace the gray and actually look quite lovely, I have never felt ready to do the same.

Experiencing lapses in memory

Bonnie Priever
Bonnie maintains her blonde hair with regular hairdresser appointments and frequently writes “do not” forget lists.
Bonnie Schneider-Priever

Another note I have been scrawling since my early forties is a “don’t forget” checklist; Where did I last put my car keys? TV remote? Cell phone? Around two years ago I began experiencing mild brain fog and more recently, lapses in my memory.

While I never forget essential things, like the need to eat three square meals a day, somehow I find myself blurry when it comes to less significant matters. For example, walking into the kitchen for a cup of tea, and forgetting why I’m there in the first place.

For me, one of the most troubling scenarios of all is parking at the urban American shopping mall. Even with the brilliantly designed, color coated spaces, markers, numbers and letters on each level, I somehow lose my way. It never ceases to amaze me how easily I get lost there.

Is it my lot in life to aimlessly search for my car after a tiring day of shopping and unnecessary splurging? My 31-year-old son cheers me up, by reminding me of the beauty and convenience of the cell phone camera, to snap a photo reminder of where I parked. Or a car beep alarm system on my keys, if only mine worked. Ah, the miracles of modern technology.

Then, there’s the consolation of having mall security drive me around in a Disney-like trolley cart, transporting me aisle by aisle until we locate my car, and the sigh with relief that it’s not been stolen, thank God!

I find that playing games like Wordle, doing crossword puzzles, word searches and reading, everyday, helps exercise my mental muscles. I feel it keeps me more alert and helps maintain my cognitive memory skills.

Embracing my age

Bonnie Priever
Bonnie does mental exercises to maintain her cognitive memory skills.
Bonnie Schneider-Priever

Rather than looking at my graying plight and midlife memory lapse with gloom and doom, beating myself up for a situation beyond my control, I take a deep breath and embrace the blessings I do have: good health, a quick mind, a special son, steady work, and loving, supportive friends, family, and community.

Friends and family seem to love the natural me. They enjoy my quirky personality and spontaneous sense of humor, with or without gray hairs or a touch of makeup .

I would advise embracing whatever blessings you have in your life, at whatever stage of life you’re at. To me, age is just merely a number, not an attitude; all the accouterments that come along with it are beyond my control.

This perspective has allowed me to face my inevitable stage of aging with a mental state of grace, dignity, strength, and maturity. I feel more confident, comfortable and even complacent about my aging process, as I realize I can’t go backward but only look ahead.

So for now, I’ll indulge in some chocolate chip cookie dough and rocky road ice cream, to face and conquer potential rocky roads and slippery slopes ahead. I’ll wallow in my self-sorrow on this gray day pity party, until the sun and blue sky comes up tomorrow. And, as Annie sings, it always does.

Bonnie Schneider-Priever is a former freelance market researcher from Los Angeles. She has a keen interest in travel, literature and theatre and you can find latest theatre reviews on curtainup.com.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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