June 7 – 50 shades of grey

318/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I’m a bit vain.  Yes, I said a bit 😉  It took a lot and a long time to get there but yeah, obsessed with my appearance as an adult is all I can remember.  I definitely know it’s because of the ugly duckling syndrome that I endured as a child and I’m definitely not complaining these days – aren’t I subtle about being the swan today? LOL  But seriously, I have always worried about how I present myself to others and anything to draw a little attention to myself as an adult – in a good way – I did as I was used to drawing attention as a child for the wrong reasons.  Just before the new millennium, I decided to go blonde.  Those of you who know me witnessed that look for a good decade and a half.  I was nervous in the beginning – caramel skinned brown guy going blonde but I went for it and well, strangely it worked for me!  I changed shades – sometimes silver (well before it was a thing), sometimes platinum, sometimes ash – but I kept the blonde as my signature look.  In my 49th year (just under two years ago), I got tired of the trips to the hairdresser for maintenance.  I don’t recall making a conscious effort but just thought I’d let it grow out to see what it looked like.  I cut it short to help the process.  I hated it.  I thought it aged me.  I was forgetting that chronologically, I had already aged.  I remember to this day when the last bit of blonde was cut off the tips and I was fully grey.  Yes, I had gotten used to the grey but I wasn’t happy to have to give up on my wilder ways – I supposed I thought grey meant maturing in personality too, thankfully it didn’t mean that!  The people around me though were great for my ego.  Not a single person told me that grey did not suit me.  I received and still do to this day how my grey flatters me and I need this as on a subconscious level, I wanted to be accepted by others for my appearance and I can admit that. Presently, I have grown out my hair on a dare and have a full on man-bun or a mess of grey curls – sometimes looking like that crazy uncle, or that eccentric, crazy man down the block so I can’t wait to shear it down but I have to thank each and every person who has complimented me on this grey mane.  I know they say that men can rock the grey but I think you also have to accept the grey.  Each of you has made me accept it and allowed me to move into my 50s with dignity and not trying to look like I was desperately trying to hang on to my youth by continuing to dye it blonde.  Thanks for the love!

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April 17 – to new friends

267/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.   Contrary to what you see these days, I wasn’t the carefree, confident, out there guy growing up.  I wasn’t shy in the true sense of the word but rather unsure of myself and how people would take me.  I was nervous that people would judge me because I was too intense, didn’t watch sports, had a fairly unconventional look – almost anything possible that I could find negative about myself, I used as a protective tool not to have to open up to people and be shunned.  That changed sometime in my 20s where I allowed myself to just be me and not care as much about how I am perceived and have been that way ever since.  This past weekend, I met about half a dozen new people at a couple of social gatherings.  Every single one of them younger than me from a few years to more than a few years and we connected – not saying we will be lifelong friends or even acquaintances but who’s to say what develops.   This is the thing that surprises me often – that regardless of age, people connect – I expect new people to be scared off when I reveal I’m 50 but that is not the case and I also believe that making friends in later life is harder to do which is clearly not the case.   I think I’m probably the ageist in that I expect to have nothing in common with people outside my age range but as I have learned from all the new people who have come into my life over the last few years, age is not a defining factor in friendships but it’s more about commonalities and connections.  To all of the new people in the last few years who I have met and maintained friendships with, I am very grateful as each of you in your own ways has brought out good in me and I am hoping that I have also done something for you as well.  I look forward to getting to know you or getting to know you even better!  Thank you for giving this old man a chance 🙂

March 31 – this is how you do 50

250/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  As I’ve mentioned several times before, as a young person, I had difficulty making friends and having friendships.  I was not comfortable with myself I suppose and this was easily read by others (let’s leave all the bullying to the side and focus on my personality rather than my looks way back then).  I didn’t have opportunities to make friendships until I was able to shed all the weight, gain some confidence and grow into my looks.  Over the years, I have made good friendships but the thing about most of them is that my friends are my junior by a few years to a couple of decades.  Initially, I wondered about myself and also about them as to why they wanted to be my friend but to quote Aaliyah “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” and I am so okay with it now.  However, making friends, lasting friends later on in one’s life (remember I am 50!!) is a tough thing to do.  Even harder is making friends who are your age-mates.  Hockey dadding has helped but I have also made friends outside of teaching and parenting.  Dean is one of those friends.  We met a few years ago and we had an instant chemistry and friendship.  A couple of months older than me, he was working at UBC while I had just finished my stint there.  Initially, I just thought this was just like many people you meet and might friend on Facebook but rarely talk to afterwards but we have maintained our friendship.  We are yin and yang as friends:  me, the wild man-bun sporting, loud, out there guy and him, the reserved, GQish, intellect.  However, despite our differences, we are friends and in two years, we have created a great friendship and he becomes another shoulder to lean on.  He also inspires me – running his first marathon to celebrate his 50th while I ran a marathon as well – partying for 7 days straight with various friends.  As well, I want to have a refined fashion sense for a 50 year old man.  I don’t!  He does!  Yes, Dean is probably how 50 should be done!  I do question the gin martinis and have yet to convince him of the merits of craft beer but I can forgive that one difference in our tastes.  So glad we met and yes, I raise a gin martini (reluctantly) in your honour!  You rock!