Last night I took one of those Facebook quizzes – At What Age Will You Actually Be Before You are Old? The answer was 17. The answer came as a shock at first, but its validity is slowly becoming apparent to me.
As I face the mirror wondering whether I should continue coloring my hair or allow it to grow back into the shade of gray that it should be at my age, I am once again confronted with the fact that this time – I am actually old. As my sister-in-law said to my face: who are you trying to fool?
No one, really. Just my self. My vanities. Thinking of the young girl inside me who refuses to grow old and probably never will. The one who still dreams, still cries at sad movies and enjoys a naughty joke. The one who still believes in love and a God who made the world and who will eventually make things right.
And yet, my colleagues in school are even younger than my daughter; my visits to the doctor (and to the bathroom!) more frequent and the parties I go to are more likely to be golden anniversaries than weddings. Let’s not talk about the beautiful clothes still wrapped in drycleaner’s plastic that are hanging in my closet waiting to be worn when I go back to size 34!
When did I grow old?? Was it really at 17? Or was it at 22 when I learned of my father’s death from a letter sent by my best friend while sitting alone in a cold apartment in Amsterdam? Or at 51 when Louis lost his job and we had to readjust to a new reality and an uncertain future?
Funny that I equate growing old with dramatic life-changing incidents.
And yet, in my mind I associate coming of age with the joyful events in my life – the way my father made each birthday a family ritual; getting married at 21 in a simple church ceremony with my girlfriends singing my favorite Carpenters songs in the background; at 25, coming home to Manila to deliver our first born; the tears of joy when we found out that we were to have another child at 34…. The list, just like the years, goes on.
So should I turn gray or keep going different shades of brown? The action is still on hold. I have booked the appointment for the 16th of December. Then the expensive process of growing gray will officially take place. Until that day comes, I am taking a friendly survey – so far, half of my friends say, go for it! while the other half are screaming – oh, please don’t!
Meanwhile, I’m checking out wigs, make-up for white-haired (not gray for us dark-skinned folks!) women and the possibility of hibernating in some dark hole till all the roots come out.
Louis says: I’ll love you any way.
A reassuring sentiment; but … will I love me anyway in shades of gray?
I made this recipe a few days ago because I had some leftover vegetables and few other bits in the fridge. My grandson loved it!
1 big carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 onion, sliced fine
1 cup, shredded zucchini (for this recipe, I used leftover sautéed broccoli)
1 cup flour plus 1 tsp. baking powder or 1 cup self-raising flour
1 clove garlic, pressed
¼ cup water
salt and pepper
Procedure : Mix flour, baking powder, egg and water. Season with salt and pepper. Add all the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Chill till ready to fry.
To cook : Heat oil in a frying pan, drop the mixture by spoonfuls. Flatten each spoonful and cook till brown and crispy.
Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce : soy sauce with a touch of vinegar and spring onions, hot chili sauce, catsup or aioli.
Other vegetable options : canned or freshly grated corn, grated sweet or normal potatoes, finely sliced French beans. I think it is also a great way to use up those little bits of vegetables leftover from a meal. If you chop them up and mix them into the batter, they will come out crispy. No one will ever know it’s a leftover remake.