London gave my my first grey hairs. Or the flight to London did. Or something. All I know is, at age 24 and a half, I arrived at the house I would be staying in the first three months of what was to turn into over five years, looked in the mirror, and there they were. There were four of them. Knowing better, and also because of being a contrarian, I did not pull them out. It was tempting, but . . . everybody freaks out about grey hair. Therefore, I wouldn’t.
Since then, the number has been steadily growing and as recently as just before the wedding, I discovered I was starting to get a concentration of them at the right and left of the top of my forehead. If my hair were black, it would be very Addams Family. I decided I liked it. Still, it came as something of a shock to find what can best be described as a stripe of grey/white in my hair when I pulled the front back this morning.
I guess my hair is trying to tell me something.
I knew, when I said yes to my Paul, that there would be some adjustments. You don’t go from being single and either dating or not dating (mostly not dating) for your entire adult life, and then suddenly promise yourself to someone for the rest of it and move in with him, and not expect to face some adjustments. There are some. Like–I have discovered my inner neatnik. I didn’t even know I had an inner neatnik. Compared to Mom, I still don’t. But let’s just say I’m acting a whole lot more domestic than I used to. All that was more or less to be expected, though. It’s going fine. But let’s be honest. They’re still adjustments. This, however, is the part I kind of forgot to think about:
My Paul is a youthful some-years-older-than-I. I guess I might have thought about that in terms of the potentially-having-to-take-care-of-him-when-he’s-old kind of thing. (On the other hand, I have a cancer history, so the chances of one of us taking care of the other are probably pretty even.) What I didn’t consider was the relative ages of the extended family.
Here’s what I mean:
TheBro and Sister-in-Lu have, as you know, two young and very beautiful children. (No, I’m not biased.) Paul, as one of the younger three of seven siblings, has bunches of nieces and nephews (some of whom I’ve still not met)–and they’re all adults. (They’re not bad-looking either, but it’s kind of weird to talk about them like that when they’re adults.) One of the nephews is, apparently, older than I am. On Sunday we went to the birthday party of one niece’s son. He’s a year younger than Smiley-Guy. I have a grand-nephew. My 40th birthday isn’t until July, guys. Can we slow this down a bit?
While I was processing this thought, my Paul and a few of his siblings were chattering away and following the sun’s movement on the porch. One of his brothers has bought a condo in their mother’s retirement community in the South. That didn’t really strike me as so alarming until they all started talking about it together–about retiring, and where they were planning on moving, and driving around in golf carts. I feel relatively safe because my Paul has enough plans for our house that I feel like we’re probably settled here for a while. But still! My nieces and nephews are my age, and my siblings are retiring? When did this happen? I was the oldest! I started imagining relocating to a community of white-haired people I don’t know when I’m only a little older than my Paul is now. I think I had got so used to being single that when I thought ahead to retirement–well, I didn’t expect ever to be able to retire, for one thing, but I guess I visualised turning into one of those snarky-yet-warm, independent New Englanders who lives on their own until someone finds them dead in their house a week after the fact.
Wait a second. That’s not such a cheery thought either.
Arizona with my Paul when I’m still too young to move there might not be such a bad idea. Maybe my hair knows the future, and is just trying to help me to catch up.