Scan of Contra article 1 - highlightsI stopped having my hair dyed when I was 45 because the process is time-consuming and expensive; even then, with a haircut, it cost about $100 a month. Then, within a few days, I needed a touch-up (which I never got), and it was obvious that I was no longer a brunette. What’s more, it was obvious I was trying to cover something up. Imagine Sisyphus with a bottle of hair dye.

So, with a great deal of confidence, I decided to stop that nonsense. A glamorous friend, my age,  had done the same thing and looked absolutely terrific. Furthermore, my husband was bald, and I figured if I loved his bald head, he would love mine in salt and pepper.

For a while, nothing much changed except that his head became gradually balder and mine went from salt and pepper to silver. Eventually, however, and probably inevitably, we did experience dramatic changes. Or I should say he did, in finding true love with a plump brunette dyed blonde. One day he and I were sharing a home, and the next we weren’t.

It’s true, of course, that one day I lived in Atlanta, and the next I lived in Homer, Alaska, but getting here took altogether about five years. And settling into this new home and lifestyle will take the rest of my life, which is a wonderfully exciting thought, because I have so much to learn.

For one thing, I had to figure out how to maintain regular vigorous exercise when temperature and road conditions aren’t conducive to running. So the immediate solution is the Bay Club, a smaller and locally owned version of L.A. Fitness, with a sweeping view of Kachemak Bay from the room with elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bicycles, and weight-training equipment.

Here I use the elliptical machines, take pilates and yoga classes, and three days a week participate in  Silver Waves, which is a water aerobics class. For a while, I resisted doing this because of the name of the class.  I have a strong aversion to groups and activities that are called something that is a reference to aging, in this case the hair color.

Just because I’m over that doesn’t mean I want to be reminded of it while I’m doing things in water that are difficult for a lot of people to do on dry land, regardless of age – like cheerleader kicks and suntan Superman. I still don’t know for sure what that is, and every time we do it I think about Christopher Reeve whose career and eventually his life were cut short by a horse riding accident.

I don’t let myself think about what the salt water and chlorine are doing to my skin. But I am just about euphoric when we do cross-country skiing, straight-leg marching, and helicoptering—all in water. And I love it when our instructor tells us to launching ourselves out of the water during high-legged jogging. Picture exuberant breaching whales.

The other day a silver-haired friend who was at the contra dance on New Year’s Eve told me that we were mentioned in an article about the dance in The Homer News. How can this be, I asked, because I’m a cheechako. No one knows me.

“We weren’t mentioned by name,” explained this long-timer, who knows the reporter. “We are the white-haired elders Michael mentions in the paragraph about range of ages at the dance. That had to be us, because we were the only people there with white hair.”

Me, a white-haired elder?  That was somebody else.  I have silver hair, and I’m a baby boomer.

Copyright 2013-2014 Genie Hambrick