Growing Old Disgracefully • Not Your Grandma’s Grey

In less than a month I will be leaving my 40s behind and turning 50. Half a century. A big, decent, momentous birthday.

Rather than believing that my best days are in the past, I am looking forward to middle age. I don’t subscribe to the notion that joy belongs only to the young — in fact, I’m beginning to think that youth is highly overrated.

And I’m not the only one. I belong to a Facebook Group of women who have chosen to embrace their grey hair. They are a community of funny, sexy, beautiful, outspoken, sassy and kind women. I can’t wait to have a full head of long, white hair.

silver sisters

They (men, the media, our mothers, whomever) have conditioned us to believe that our greatest role in life is to have babies. Once that capacity is gone (or god forbid we’ve not been able or not been interested in having children) then we become invisible, washed out, used up. I say bollocks.

Older women are more powerful, more intuitive, more magical, and more creative than society leads us to believe. Perhaps they don’t want us to know this … perhaps it’s too scary.

As I grow older I care less about what others think, I don’t fuss over the small irritations of life, I’m more relaxed and peaceful, and I treasure each moment of each day. I’m a much nicer person than I was in my younger days — I’ve grown up and into my skin.

Hello 50s — here I am, ready to come into my full power as a wise old woman. I can’t wait!silver braid

What was/is your favourite age?
Do you enjoy getting older?


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

68 thoughts on “Growing Old Disgracefully • Not Your Grandma’s Grey

  1. “They (men, the media, our mothers, whomever) have conditioned us to believe that our greatest role in life is to have babies. Once that capacity is gone (or god forbid we’ve not been able or not been interested in having children) then we become invisible, washed out, used up. ” – so true, so hurtful, and what I’m fighting against. You don’t have to be older for that to be the case.

    My ‘age’ is going to be 41, I’ve decided – that’s when I’m going to have dealt with all the BS, have overcome my personal demons, and have become a well-rounded, capable, acceptable human being. I have 10 years to work on it. I hope that’s enough.

    As to your 50’s, salut! May they be as wonderful (and wonderfully white-haired) as you envision 🙂

    1. As a woman who is neither a wife nor a mother, I know what you mean. We should invent a new label for sexy, free, interesting woman…
      Enjoy your 30s — I can’t even remember mine, I think I was working.

    2. Well, I am a wife, mother and grandmother but I really like to think that these things are part of my life (an important part but still just a part) but they are not what defines who I am. I am a business woman, a woman who fights for what’s right and a woman of God.

      I am also a Cancer Survivor. I am part of an online support group of women of whom most are battling a very rare form of Cervical Cancer that is taking so many lives of so many beautiful young women. I had to have a radical hysterectomy but luckily for me I was done having children. Many of the women in my group never had the chance and who is society to tell them they are less than because they never got the chance.

      I think these days we just don’t have our priorities straight on what’s important. To me what is important is God, Family and Friends. With or without Children. May we all be blessed with amazing people in our lives and may we make the most of the life given to us!

      1. Thank you for sharing your story Sandy. May we all be blessed with amazing people in our lives and may we make the most of the life given to us! I totally agree.

      2. I can say Amen to your words. I also am a believer. And what I wish for, for the time I have left on this Earth is to serve others, as I serve my creator God. Today my prayer is to find that kind of work. I have aspirations of things that are at the very core of whom God has created in me. All expressions of joy, and love and forgiveness, love for others. I am very moved by all the notes here on this site. I am also going to let my hair be grey. You are all very beautiful women embarrassing our age. It is a time of life that I will cherish. I am turning 60 in a couple months. I don’t feel it in any way what so ever.
        Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love the pictures! If my grey hair was growing in lovely like the ladie’s hair in the pictures I might let it go but, it is all scraggly and witch-like so I continue to chase the roots. I left my 40’s so long ago I can’t recall them.

  3. Happy becoming fifty, Katie! I so enjoy your posts and daily food for thoight. I have pals and rellies in Aus and coming back to visit next March/April! I am 70….but I am not old. Aging disgracefully is a term just starting to appear here and I rather like it. Widowed a year ago, I’m with my husband’s best friend….also widowed. Disgraceful? Or perfect sense? WTH does it matter is how I feel. Thank you for cheering age, gray hair and life out loud!

  4. I am 100% with you on this! I love my silver locks, and I love being 50. I so love the women in our Silver group, they are so like minded. Not afraid to go against society norms and ditch the color. No more roots, ever! I feel like a rebel, and a good example for my daughters. I exercise, eat clean, and enjoy my life at this age. I get wayyyy more compliments from total strangers (male and female) about my silver hair than I ever got when it was colored. And as a bonus, since I had my children young, they are gone from the nest now for many years. College is nearly paid off, my husband is retired from the military after 30 long yrs and too many deployments, and it is now our opportunity to have a little more adventure! We took up riding motorcycles. I have in only 3 yrs moved up to a nice big touring HD Road King. I can’t wait to see what we get into next. It won’t be rocking chairs, that is for sure. Life is good at 50. Really good.

  5. Gorgeous! I have not yet seen many grey hairs (at 46), but I fully intend to leave them be when they arrive. And I’m not cutting my hair off, either. There seems to be a belief in our society that women of a certain age should not have long locks. I call BS on that.

    And my favorite age is the one I am right now. My 40s have been the best decade of my life. It just keeps getting better and better. I, too, look forward to what is to come! 🙂

  6. I’m just 2.5 years ahead of you, so let me welcome you to this new stage of growth and opportunity. I’m loving my 50s! I have friends who are in their 90s and one friend who is 104, so they tell me all the time that I’m just a baby, and I see that I have much to look forward to. The first half was just skill building. Now I can more deftly employ those skills and focus on making my values a reality. Great, upbeat post!

  7. What a great post! I’m on the other end of 50 and approaching 60. Boy, it isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure. But I have to admit that most days I have to remind myself that I’m a grown-up. It feels like I’ve earned the right to do exactly what I want now and be a kid who doesn’t take life so seriously. It’s actually GREAT. Loved the post! Virginia- FirstClassWoman

  8. 50 was a great decade for me—and good for you that you are embracing it. 60 is when all the chickens come home to roost for good or bad, so I see the 50s as a really big deal. Mine were so interesting! HEre’s to yours!

  9. I’m three years ahead of you, Katie. I’m enjoying my 50`s. I feel more able to connect with people older and younger than ever before. Having lived on the planet longer I no longer am bothered by many of the worries in my youth. I am learning who I am, and as part of that I no longer feel the need to cover up my natural hair. I’m not all white, more salt and pepper with white streaks, and have been growing it out since early January. I’m loving my natural hair, it’s not what I’d hoped for, but it’s my color, unique just like me! Best wishes as you enter a new decade!

    1. Thanks Sheri. My hair still looks like it’s growing out (even though it isn’t) because the back and underneath are brown. The exciting part is that it will continue to change so we never know where we’ll end up.

  10. I 51 and I STILL have very mixed feelings about the whole aging thing. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all, other times I can’t stand to look in the mirror. I hope you embrace 50 with a lot less a ambivalence than I did.

  11. great post ! I’m in my 4th month of growing out my silver (sounds better than grey…) and embracing 58 soon ! I am cherishing growing older and thankful for EVERY day of life because my twin sister died of brain tumor last year… we always talked about being old together ..:( SO I am embracing having that opportunity of growing older … and bolder ! ! I’m celebrating with my silver 😉

    1. Silver, yes, I love thinking of it in that way!
      I’m sorry to hear about your twin sister — how heartbreaking for you.
      Life is too short not to enjoy every moment.

  12. I’ve never been as happy as I am as a vibrant 60+ woman. I haven’t dyed my hair since July 16 and I’m loving the white that’s coming in. In fact I love it so much, I’m thinking why wait. Maybe I could have the dye removed and the white put in. Ooh, what fun that would be. White haired people rock!

  13. I’m lucky my gray is limited to random strands and if they get covered when the highlights are done, great. I always wanted that glorious white hair and wouldn’t have covered it for the world. My fifties have been great so far. Best decade ever! So just go for it Katie and live fully.

  14. I loved turning 50 — people actually took me seriously! LOL I was my skinniest during my 50’s and loved it. Now that I am pushing 70 I love food too much. My hairdresser is still looking for that first grey hair and she can’t find one so I doubt I will ever have those white locks. Everyone else in my family stayed blonde so I’m kinda glad!

  15. I love it!! I am dye free at 46 and love it. Great to see others celebrating their age. I feel more sexy and alive and free than I ever did in my younger days. I here it gets even better. At least from the chicks I hang around.

  16. And it doesn’t matter what color grey you have, it will look gorgeous if you find a style that does it justice. Just because you stop coloring your hair, doesn’t mean you let go of yourself. Find an awesome hair stylist that knows how to “cut” hair, not just color. They make more money on the color, so often they have not perfected the art of cutting hair for a great style. My stylist is an artist with scissors.

    1. I agree Wendy – a good cut makes all the difference between dowdy and divine.
      Great to hear you’re rocking your 40s. It’s a lot more fun getting older than we were led to believe, don’t you think?

  17. Let me tell you I do not feel interesting or sexy anymore at 60 and don’t really care to….(I may well have felt that way at 50 though)…what I do feel is the freedom to own my thoughts, feelings and spirit…just wish I had the courage to embrace this freedom at a much younger age!… I really have no plans to age gracefully at this stage….do not like the white hair bit!

    1. Your comment intrigues me Lorraine. On the one hand you seem not to care too much about being ‘sexy’ but on the other hand you don’t like your white hair. If it’s not too personal, could you share what is it that bothers you about ageing?

      1. Katy, what bothers me is that I am not mentally ready to embrace less physical activities available to of those of us that are aging….alas, my body seems intent on limiting the activities that I can comfortably….or even uncomfortably, engage in. Thus I have to say, in some ways, I resent the approach of old age!

        1. I admit that a lack of physical agility worries me too and all those age related illnesses as well 🙁 I totally get that our bodies seem to wear out too quickly.

  18. I feel like now is it, not that it’s going to get worse but better. I feel like this is the beginning at 44. I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, now if only the world will agree. If not oh well to that too! I’m finally doing what I want not for somebody else although I do a lot of that but for me and I’ve never been happier.

  19. I’m 65, just dumped a loser guy and feel wonderful, sexy, pretty and smart. I have my own business, have my darling 93 yr old dad living with me and enjoy life every day! Just got a new, short inverted haircut (long in front, short in back). Rockin it! Don’t color, just looks like nstural highlites. Main thing is good healthly living, good spiritual program, good friends (weed out all who are not supportive and honest). Care for people and animals and mainly Have Fun!!!

  20. I’m still just a young thing clinging to my youth (I’ve decided to just keep turning 25 for a while hah) but I do look forward to being a lady with silver or white hair someday, this groovy woman with so much life under my belt and spunk in my soul. The only thing about aging that really bothers me is that you can’t get time back, if you wasted it it’s gone for good, and the older I get the more time I have to look back on and question how I used it.

    1. Ah – wasting time – I’m scared of it too. I think I wasted 15 years being married, but as they say, it’s made me who I am today.
      Enjoy your youth lovely girl x

  21. Thanks for the great post. I turned 50 this year and the last 12 months have been a time of great change for me. Shortly after my son moved out of the house, my husband and I went our separate ways which was extremely painful. We sold our house, I bought a new house and moved. Despite all that pain and turmoil, I absolutely love my life now. My housemate, who is half my age, is hilarious and I laugh out loud constantly. I have been working on growing out my natural hair for several years, and I think I am mostly done. It is dark in the back, salt and pepper on the sides, with white streaks in front. A lot of times I love it, sometimes honestly not so much, but I do feel authentic. I am working out three times a week with a personal trainer, once on my own and twice in a small group of sexy strong women my age or older, and I am in the best shape I’ve been since high school. I love my job, and I have good friends there as well as outside of work Oh, and I just started dating a woman. Life is really, really good at 5o for me. Rock on, silver sisters.

  22. I turned 60 in August, nothing different for me. I felt good in my 50s and I expect to feel even better in my 60s. I don’t color my hair, gave up the streaks/foiling in my early 40s due to the fuss and cost. My hair is now very long and probably 60-70% grey and I’m absolutely fine with it. If someone doesn’t like it or comments about the length I just laugh them off!

  23. I am nearly 54, and FINALLY (I think–I HOPE) finally all the way through “the change”. It was an extremely rough road physically. Peri menopause started when I was 37, and from then up till about 6 months ago, I have been up and down the avenue and all around the square, with all the symptoms, which changed, switched, stopped and started. The only one I didn’t have much trouble with was the one everyone else complains about the most–hot flashes. I just warmed up to blast-furnace temp, and I generally stay that way.
    I’m still coloring my hair, because ten years ago, when I quit smoking, I decided to create a whole new me to go along with my new smoke-free self. The new me has a bolder way of dressing than ever before, and has red hair, which I have always wanted. Since becoming a redhead, I have become a lot freer about saying what I think and feel, I finally learned to let go and cry when I’m sad (AND often when I’m happy) with wild abandon and without apology.
    Though I’m carrying more weight than I would like to be, and I often feel awkward and clumsy, I am doing my best to accept myself and not dwell on it. I’m healthy and I’m finally living the life I’ve been working toward all my life–making a living solely as an artist. I make jewelry and all sorts of wearable things. I paint, sculpt, make mosaics and mobiles, I write, take photographs, write music, and I have also done theater and a bit of standup comedy in the past, which I might revisit. I like to say I have multiple personalities, and they are ALL artists! Financially, it leaves a lot to be desired, but that just provides the challenge that keeps me trying new things. I’m too tenacious or too dumb to give up. I’ve never been sure which!

  24. Hi-I’m 60 years young and after seeing so many pictures of women with beautiful grey hair, have decided to let mine grow out also. I can’t wait for my ‘transformation’ to be complete! To me, it will be the final step to accepting myself, my age and the person I have become after many years of not really knowing who I truly was.

  25. I will turn 60 this year. I do embrace my age. I am also a breast cancer survivor. A wife, mother, grandmother and business owner. I have very long, thick hair. Almost to waist. When I start to let the roots grow out, I am at about 2″ grow out right now, I give in and get colored. I just can’t imagine with my hair being so long how it will look as the grey starts going halfway thru. I don’t want to cut my hair yet. My husband of 41 years loves the grey growth and keeps telling me to let it grow out. And yes what about that long hair and age thing who ever started that? Thanks for the posts. Enjoyed reading everyone’s.

  26. I’m a 37 year old single Mama to four kids, I’m self employed, I run a house, look after a dog, 3 snakes a rat and a tarantula. I enjoy cheesecake a lot and have the body to prove it. I refuse to wear make-up. I wear black ALL THE TIME. My silver streaks are now starting to out number my brown ones and I have zero intention of dyeing them. I WILL NOT buy into the media perception of beauty. Of what, as women, we supposedly ‘should’ aspire to. I refuse to let others determine my value as a person, my worth as a woman or my desirability as a partner. I’m a mother-f*cking warrior Goddess, as are all women! No longer will we shrink from who we are. No longer will we sit and be the good little women we’re supposed to be. More and more women are becoming empowered to be whoever the f*ck they want to be and to not feel bad about it in any way, shape or form. Long may we rise!

  27. From 50-56 were rough years. Health issues and fighting age turned those years into a struggle. However, the last couple of years are proving that the 60’s are going to be my best ever. My grey/white mane is just one way that I feel totally authentic now. I’m post menopausal and sex is the best, I know what I’m doing for me and for him. I’m post menopausal so the crazies and hot flashes are long gone, my hormones have evened out. I’m feeling real, honest, healthy, and unencumbered.

  28. I’m growing my very short sassy cut out and do braids and twists and curls again. I’m 60 and I just can’t believe it when I say it. I pierced my nose a few years back so I’m just happy doing my thing. Cheers!

  29. I just turned 50 last November. I don’t have grey hair yet. Just a few white hairs here and there. I wish my hair long, grey and gorgeous! I think I’d like to feel good about my age, the way I am now. It’s been hard to with all the ageism in my community.

    Anyway, I’m keeping my hair long, staying active, and finding wonderful role models through the Internet. I do things I love now, like paint and will be taking a jewelry class this fall. I’m glad to see there are other women my age who think like me.

  30. I will be 71 in December, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Although I have some grey hairs I am still mainly naturally brunette, unfortunately, although I do have long hair. This year has been a rollercoaster for me, the death of my mother and my husband of more than 50 years within a period of ten days have been very difficult to cope with. On the plus side I am now in a relationship with a man who adores me and we have an amazingly similar outlook on life. Sex is the best it has ever been and we are both looking forward to the future. I loved my husband very much but realise now that I was playing a different role then, one that was not truly me, I am now more honest and outspoken. The grief will not go away but can be compartmentalised in order to enjoy the adventure of the life that is left to me.

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