Silver and Black

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My hair is silver and black. I'm not some gonzo Raider's fan. That's just the natural color of my hair at this point in life. I say silver. Silver is the new gray.

About 10 years ago I stopped dying my hair to a darker color. I had taken a trip with my mother, her sister and my grandmother and admired the beauty of their varying degrees of silvery hair. It's a family trait. I was inspired to break away from hair coloring.

Before that decision, I was like a lot of women my age. Boomers. I colored my hair to try to look younger or at least not old. When you see couples our age, the women have dark hair and the men have salt and pepper hair. It's kind of weird.

Also, I am lucky to be healthy and physically fit, like a lot of my peers. With the exception of a couple of aches and pains -- and the need for stronger reading glasses -- I don't feel much different than I did 25 years ago.

So it came as a surprise to me when I realized some younger people think of me as, well, elderly. Maybe it was when the bagger offered to help me out with my groceries in a tone that sounded more sincere than routine. "I think I can handle it," I said, probably with a little attitude.


A young woman opened the door to a building and guided me through like I needed an arm to lean on. I noticed the kindly expression on a bank teller's face, as if she were talking to her elderly relative.

It hit me. These people think I'm old. I confess that now anyone under 35 looks to me like they're 15. But that doesn't mean I'm old. Just because my hair is silver.

Maybe it's the Boomer's Lament. We don't feel like senior citizens. The new 40 and all that. So we're criticized for refusing to accept our age. For being perpetual revelers at Woodstock. I think that's unfair. We grew up, had careers, raised children and are now doting grandparents.

Still, that doesn't make us old. And no matter what those young whippersnappers think, I'm not dying my hair.

With a Perspective, I'm Brenda Payton.