On writing and aging

Sharpie permanent marker

Not really a greying writer’s best friend

Writing is a bit like exercise. There might a phase in your life when you’re at the gym three days a week, maybe running up and down hills or swimming lengths in the pool. But then you hit a slump and suddenly you fall out of the habit of doing it. It then becomes a struggle to get going again.

Writing can be like that. If it’s not a habit – a regular fixture in your week – something else will swallow up the time you set aside for it. It’s worse than writer’s block because you don’t even get the metaphorical blank page out to stare at it. You don’t even bother trying.

So that’s partly to explain why my blog has been frozen in July. I fell out of the habit of writing and couldn’t seem to get myself motivated.

In these two months I’ve been silent, not much of great consequence has happened. My life is a bit like Seinfeld. It’s a series of episodes about not very much. The only difference is that I’m not as funny as Jerry.

But I’ll relate this short, cautionary tale from a recent life episode.

It was an ordinary evening after work. The kids were sitting down to dinner. That is to say, one of the kids had practically inhaled her food while the other one was picking at it and claiming she wasn’t hungry.

I’m doing my best to ignore them because I’m smearing on some makeup before a night out with a group of friends. Looking in the mirror surprises me these days; I’m always mildly surprised not to look about 30. On this occasion my gaze zooms in on all the silvery strands of hair. If that gives you the impression they are silky, think again. These hairs are wiry. You could probably use them to scour a pan if you collected enough of them.

Yep, my grey hairs have ramped up some sort of military campaign – and they’ve reached the point of launching an assault on all fronts. It’s another joyous part of aging, a process that has picked up some pace in the last three or four years.

I haven’t quite decided what to do about all these white hairs. So far I’ve been yanking them out, which makes them come out even more wiry. They are now sticking out of my head at weird angles and looking more obvious than if I’d left them alone.

But I stumble upon what I think might be a solution, albeit a very temporary one. What if I used a black marker – my hair is black – to blend them in with the other hair? Yes, this is desperate.

I borrow a marker from the Chatterbox but it’s not really doing anything at all, so I trade up to the permanent marker. The results are marginally better, I note, but I don’t suddenly feel like a new woman with glossy hair.

The other thing I notice is that my head smells like permanent marker. I should have really foreseen this problem. Not that you’d ever be tempted to replicate this at home, but I’m just saying, don’t.



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6 responses to “On writing and aging

  1. The white hairs used to surprise me too, but not anymore. I’m beginning to like them actually. My mum is horrified though, every time I Skype with her, she actually notices them! She tells me to dye my hair, whatever for? I don’t go out – unless walking my 4-year-old to school counts? I think I’m okay with growing-old, it’s my daughter though who doesn’t seem okay with this. She doesn’t want me to grow old, because according to her, once you get-old, you die!

    • I do know exactly what you mean. The raging bull, now 5 years old, asked me today when I would die. I hope she’s not all that worried and is only naturally curious. But I will do something about my hair. Don’t think I am quite ready to go ‘au naturel’!

  2. Lmao!!! You are so silly. How long did the permanent marker last?

  3. It only lasted one wash. Luckily the smell didn’t last long either.

  4. Cousin

    There are no words. I laughed really LOUDLY in my apartment right now. I needed that, thank you. Miss you girls (and British husband).

  5. I’d prefer those hardened Irish drinkers, at least they are paying tax (as excise duty) unlike Starbucks who pay sweet fanny adams rounded up to the nearest farthing. But glad the neighbourhood is on the up.

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