Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Today I’m 21 July 6, 2010

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:47 am
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To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent -that is to triumph over old age.
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich

It is my birthday. Today I am 21.  Again. I’ve been 21 quite a few times. I’ve also been 29 and 35. I’ve been older, too, but not often. Age depends on attitude more than number. A cheerful, fun loving way of enjoying life keeps us youthful.  Today I’m full of all the things that 21 has always been for me: Joyful. Full of anticipation for opportunities unfolding ahead.  Appreciative of the wonderful people in my life. Thankful an amazing year just past.

In New Moon, Jacob tells Bella, “Age is just a number, baby.” He’s right. One can re-define the parameters for new numbers. Is my dog 10? Or 70? Or some other age? My mom is 80, but apparently she is far too young to go to activities at the Seniors’ Centre, because “those are for old people.” Contrarily, I attend a lot of activities where I am the youngest person there. I’m frequently the youngest person in my Rotary Club, for example. I am often the only woman with natural hair, though.

J.. P. Senn advised, “Let us respect gray hairs, especially our own.” I couldn’t agree more. I was 35 and completely ‘platinum blonde’ on top when I chose to embrace the natural look rather than continuing with society’s pressure to spend a fortune to colour my hair every couple of weeks I figure I’ve saved well over a thousand dollars in home colour kits since I did. (I’ve spent it in jewelery, another natural adornment for a woman!) It was fascinating to be in Italy and to not see a single Italian feminine grey head in two weeks. Black hair everywhere, and to be honest, not too many touch up lines in evidence, so they were obviously really diligent about it. Our society is afraid to accept change. Grey hair is assumed to suggest incapacity, lack of virility, and nostalgia. What happened to wisdom, experience, knowledge?

Is it ironic that my students think that I bleach my hair this colour, because they don’t think it can possibly be natural? They’ve so rarely seen naturally silver hair that they don’t understand that it can occur on a youthful face. No wrinkles, but silver hair. How old is she? Is she 50? 40? 30?

Today, I’m 21 and there’s a splash of pink in my hair.  Who says I don’t colour my hair?

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2 Responses to “Today I’m 21”

  1. wanda Says:

    ur a wonderful writer, and a beautiful YA…21 right?

  2. […] Tuesday morning link: My high school classmate, Shawn Bird, is a real writer, teacher and a blogger. Shawn also has a birthday today! I invite you to read her latest post, Today I’m 21. […]


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