For 4 years I wore that white hair as my mark of shame. It was as brutal a marking as the scarlet letter in colonial times. And I accepted it as my punishment for "getting old."
That ugly 4 year saga started when I was based in Manhattan. That's no country for old women and men who don't have wealth.
At social events in Manhattan people regrouped themselves, their conversations and eye contact around Millennials. For pitching for new accounts, when I entered the room, jaws dropped. On line to buy a Diet Coke before I boarded the commuter train I was ignored. The clerk served the pretty young thing next to me.
Tail between my legs, I crawled off to become old. That was then.
Then, after 14 months here in the Southwest, which is less caught up with youth, I climbed out of the old box. The first shock was: It's possible to un-old.
Today, I spent three hours in a beauty salon and a hefty investment in self having my hair transformed into light ash brown.
Immediate was the result.
In the supermarket on the line, I was not invisible. A check-out clerk started a conversation about healthy food. In my residential complex, two men offered to help me with my groceries. The email pitches I sent to prospects for freelance assignments took a whole new angle. I did less about thought leadership and more about rebranding. Will it be effective? That's not the point. The point is that I am trying new things.
Rebranding. That's it, isn't it. First we have to get it that we are no longer young and will only get older. Then we have to fall apart about that. For a while we lay low. And, one day we become tired of acting old. We do what it takes to have the same shot at a fulfilling career and personal life as do Generations X, Y and Z.