Mid-life Crisis and the Kool-Aid Dye

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I’m sitting here trying to sum up my latest identity/midlife crisis into a succinct paragraph and I’m at a complete loss for words. Remember when I used to write daily and the words just flowed out of me like rainwater out of a downspout? I miss those days. I want them back but I don’t have a clue how to get back on track.

I can share my latest hair news however. That’s kind of exciting and it’s also a tiny bit symbolic of what’s going on with me. I always change my hair when I want change in my life.

This big change wasn’t really planned though. It just happened.  Bug had Crazy Hair Day at school last week. We thought it would be fun to dye her hair with kool-aid again. It’s semi-permanent but we live in an age where it’s perfectly acceptable for eight-year-olds to walk around with green hair.  It’ll last a month and compared to the dreads of summer, it’s really no big deal.

Then, without much thought at all,  I jumped on the bandwagon and dyed my hair right along with Bug and her friend next door. They chose green. I chose red.

Who am I? Crazy, punk, middle-aged, gray-haired, mom-lady?

Part of me loves it. It’s like a rebellion against old age saying, I’m just as cool as I was back in the day! Hear me roar! The other part of me is freaked out  by the juxtaposition of my gray hair against this bright, vibrant, youthful color that just doesn’t look very classy at all.

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This half-and-half, old-with-new state of my hair kind of encapsulates my struggle with myself right now. I’m young and I’m old at the same time. I don’t belong with the hipsters who shop at Whole Foods and get tattoos all over their bodies (though I could if I tried a little harder and made a lot more money) but I’m not really ready to wear a track suit and play shuffleboard either.  I’m still beautiful, dammit! Let me hold onto my youthful good looks with every claw I have…

I am forty-one and I’m determined to love being this age. I’m not riddled with arthritis, I can still run and jump. I have a kid who makes everyday exciting. I don’t hurt in the morning when I get up. I just don’t always love who I see in the mirror. And don’t even get me started on how challenging it is to take a self-portrait without the use of instagram filters. Sheesh.

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So this is me looking myself right in the face and saying, I’m okay with being middle aged!!!  I can make it cool. I can embrace wrinkles and gray hair.

There is no going back, only forward.

Or maybe I should find a way to dunk my whole head in that pitcher of kool-aid…

32 Comments Mid-life Crisis and the Kool-Aid Dye

  1. Jen Wilson

    Can I just add a big ME TOO to this? Except I usually dye my hair black when I have an identity crisis, which, the last one was about an inch and a half ago according to my roots.

    You ARE beautiful. And young. And I love the red against the grey. :)

    Reply
  2. Nina

    I have one of the sweetest, most positive and cheerful neighbors. He has tattoos. And a piercing. And he loves to show me his new jewelry.

    He’s 83.

    I’m in my 50s and I swear I feel no different than my 20s.

    Love the hair dye. And I think having a young daughter makes you youthful.

    Reply
  3. Jill

    I think it looks great. I’ve wanted to do a pink ombre… but when I started to think about it I had a meeting with the new president at my work, so I held off. Then I had my mom’s wedding and didn’t think she’d want me to have pink hair in her photos… but now, maybe now I can!

    Reply
  4. Beth

    I so wish I had the nerve to do that! we are only as old as we feel! somedays 102 somedays 3! all depends on life :) you ARE beautiful <3

    Reply
  5. Jody

    Okay, I say this with all the love I can muster in words on a screen – but oh for pete’s sake. Stop whining. :) You are ONLY 41. That’s too young to feel old. I realize that it’s all perspective – to you, 55 is probably *really* getting old. Well, I am 55. I am leaving tomorrow to go out of the country, to a remote area in Guatemala, to help provide dental care to those who have no access. I have a grandchild whom I chase around the playground at the park, climbing the monkey bars and sliding on the slides.

    PLEASE, please do not think you are ‘old.’

    You are beautiful. Live it. For Bug.

    PS – I know you don’t know me, and I don’t really know you although I follow your blog and have prayed for you. But my heart just hurts for women who are judging themselves based on a false definition of beauty.

    Reply
    1. SAJ

      I totally agree. This is an awful navel-gazing post that I’m almost so embarrassed of, I’m thinking of rolling it off my blog. But the thing is, I can’t write about what I really want to write about and until I can, this is all I got.

      Reply
      1. Jody

        You should not apologize, nor should you be embarrassed. It’s YOUR blog. We’ve all been at a point in life where we are a little more focused on ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you don’t stay stuck. As for me, your life is so different from mine, I just love reading about your normal, every-day routine.

        Reply
    2. Jo Ann Pratt Grey

      Hello Ladies of all ages! My name is Jo Ann and Imm 54. When I was in my 20’s I swore I wasnt going to dye my hair on the bssis that I earned every grey hair I was going to get from raising my 2 alcoholic parents and 8 children. That didnt last?. My granddaughter died herhair with Koolaid and it looks great. Im thinking of blue or purple? I too to this day swing on the swings and slide down the slides. It pleases my innner child ?that didnt get to be one! Enjoy every day, you never know when you will get called away

      Reply
  6. Susan H.

    We all get to that stage when we look older than we feel, and it feels like you were 25 just a few weeks ago, not years ago. It takes some adjusting of perspective. Yes, you are 41, but a lovely (and loving) 41 year old mother with a wonderful child. It’s perfectly normal to have those moments when you feel “old” and if you want to share them on your blog, that’s your right! It’s not navel-gazing, it’s the realization that time flies faster than we think and then one day you look up and whoa…how did I get here (to quote the Talking Heads). I can’t believe I’m 57 when I feel more like 40 inside, but the mirror doesn’t lie, unfortunately! That said, your attitude and inner beauty are the two things that really reflect your age, and you have those down in spades.

    Reply
  7. mamalang

    I had a realization last spring that I spent my 30’s trying to look like what I thought I was supposed to look like. Cute but not long hair. Jeans and tshirts are okay, but skip the hoodies and try to look nice most days.

    Then I realized, while I do like wearing a dress for work, that’s not my style. I don’t want to look “professional” and mom like all the time. I love hoodies. I love jeans. I love earrings, and crazy handmade bracelets and colored hair and tattoos. And so I started working my way back to those.

    I was struck again when you said that your hair doesn’t look very classy. Unless you are about to get married or are a model/actress where that matters, who cares? It doesn’t look trashy, it looks fun. I get so many comments from all ranges of people with my colored hair now, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

    I’m probably coming off as preachy, and that’s not what I’m trying for. I’m trying to say, I understand. I don’t know what exactly you can’t talk about right now, but I really do understand. And I’m fist bumping you to say keep up with what you already do…be true to you.

    Reply
  8. Susan:)

    I think the hair looks cool. And I think most women have those days where they think they’re getting old but still feel young and whatnot. And it’s hard when you are a people pleaser and have spent your whole life trying to make others happy or do what you think is acceptable. I’ve been trying to get away from worrying about what others think of me and embracing my pent up wild side (in a very mild way!). Last year, when I was 33, I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for years: I got my nose pierced! And I absolutely love it! And believe me when I say I’m one of the least wild people in the world. But I’ve always admired certain nose rings and thought it would be cool. Didn’t have the guts, what would people think, etc. Well so far, everyone seems to like it or not care about it. I’ve gotten compliments on it and no negative opinions. Most importantly, I like it and it feels like me! I’ve still got a loooong way to go when it comes to feeling free to be however I like, but it feels like progress.

    Brenda, I do miss your posts. But I figure you’ve got life going on and hopefully you’ll check in once in awhile and let us know how you’re doing. We may never have met in person, but I do care about you and your family that I’ve gotten to know from reading your blog for years! So do pop in and keep in touch whenever you can!

    Reply
  9. Jen

    Your hair looks great. Do what you want. That’s the good side of getting older, right?

    And age is so relative. My mom in Pennsylvania is 67 and seems so much older than similarly-aged people in NorCal. i.e. I can’t imagine her running a marathon or mountain biking like people I know here.

    Reply
  10. Kuky

    I’m trying to get back on track too. I don’t know how. We’re on some weird 40 year old slump which by the way is young, YOUNG I TELL YA!! I can’t remember the last time I’ve commented. And I thought: oh cool I’ll write something today, it’ll be nice hearing a new comment on an old post saying, “you’re beautiful!” But duh this is a new post! I’m not weeks and weeks behind on it. :D

    Reply
  11. Anita

    I think you look gorgeous. I think your 40s is about saying ‘stuff it’ & doing what you want with your hair, clothes etc. I am loving the mix of the grey & pink. I have a tonne of grey hair which I HATE (crappest part of getting older) & I spend lots of time & money covering it up.
    Have loved your blog for many year, hope you start writing again more regularly when you feel up to it. x

    Reply
  12. KA

    Please don’t take this off! I thought your post was funny and pleasantly self deprecating. Nobody can be worthy all the time – thankfully. But what is Kool Aid?!? Can you tell I’m a foreigner?

    Reply
  13. Hil

    Thank you for writing this. It brings up several points for me-
    1. The silver in your hair looks beautiful. For real. Not just saying.
    2. I’m surprised the Kool-Aid took so well. I tried it on my minion, and it just looked kind of grey instead of purple.
    3. I just turned 34 and I got wrinkles this year. That’s a big yay. Also, my hair went from wavy to CURLY spontaneously. How does it do that?
    4. I want tattoos and dreadlocks and more piercings and I don’t care how old I am. I was way too uptight when I was younger. I know I’m getting cooler with age.
    5. Don’t you ever totally abandon this blog. I will be VERY cross.
    6. Please stop by my place because I think you are just fabulous.

    Reply
  14. Katie

    I love your hair. It looks awesome and fun. I am also running into the how old I feel vs. how old I am thing and wondering how to dress for it. For someone with no sense of style this is an issue – I don’t want to look like I’m trying to be 25 when I’m not (I’m 38) but I don’t want to look like I’ve given up on life either…first world problem!

    As to blogging I hope you are writing about what you want to be writing about and just not publishing it. Maybe the act of writing will inspire other topics or anecdotes that you are able to share!

    Reply
  15. Cathy

    Love the red! (Kool-aid, really? Who knew!) And eh, what’s grey hair (or hair itself for that matter) but to play and have fun with! I’m 49 and plan to wear it long and wavy for as long as I can. And for my 50th at the end of this year I want to get my first tattoo! Subtle and a little hidden probably, but fun.
    I think you should keep this post up…you’ll look back on it one day and say “if I only knew how young I was then!” And, I hope you’ll share with us (do one of those password protected posts for the girlies!) what’s going on with you…I have a guess…and I want to be happy for you!
    p.s. my daughter still gives me back massages and they are the best!

    Reply
  16. Christine

    You are beautiful and real and brave and you inspire me. I’m 40 and have been having some back problems lately that mean I sit in waiting rooms feeling like a fraud, surrounded by old(er) people who have real pain in their lives. I haven’t even taken an Advil yet for mine. How we look on the outside is such a tiny part of us, and yet we let it take over disproportionately.

    Bug has the coolest mom around, that’s for sure.

    Reply
  17. Amy

    I just saw a woman today in her 70s with long white-gray hair in a loose bun that had the whole underside dyed purple. She looked fantastic. I decided right there that when my hair goes white (which I’m actually looking forward to) I’m going to do that. Or I could do it now! And then I saw this post and now I’m inspired. I love your red kool-aid hair.

    Reply
  18. BeachMama

    Dear Sweet Brenda! You ARE SO Beautiful!!!! Your natural grey is awesome and you wear it very well. No need to think you are middle aged, you are still a few years on this side of young, both of heart and mind, it is only our bodies telling us we are aging and we can fight that with plenty of exercise and lots of water! And remember I am older than you so you can’t argue ;). xo

    Reply
  19. Becca

    I love the hair! It’s so bright and fun -and I think it fits you very nicely.

    And I like your grey hairs – aging gracefully :)

    How did you get the Kool-aid to be so bright?

    Reply
  20. Amy

    I am 47 and soon to be 48. I hate to admit but 47 has been the hardest age. Turning 30? No worries! 40? Still all good (although I did buy that Jeep I always wanted ;) Considered it my mid life crisis..

    But you know what? I may almost be 48 but I am here, alive! I have learned to enjoy each day and make it how I want to live as best I can. Understand totally where you are coming from but also hope you yearn for tomorrow as much as you appreciate TODAY!

    Reply
  21. Christina N Hines

    I found this b/c 50 is creeping around the corner and will catch me finally in December. I am dyeing literally to color my gray streaks blue. My hair grows so slowly that I fear it will permanently stain my otherwise silver locks. .. Hmnmn to jump or not to jump. Your stunning btw. Your smile lights up the page! I love your red.

    Reply

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