Sunday, July 3, 2022
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Sarah Jessica Parker: I Have Gray Hair. Please Stop Saying It Makes Me ‘Brave’

Some of the results were, to put it very un-scientifically, a real bummer. Like this: 90 percent of women feel anxious about aging, and the number-one driver of that anxiety is related to the way they look. And this: More women (60 percent) are worried about their aging appearance than about having enough money for retirement (43 percent). The Look Forward resource hub will include research on the proven difference that a positive outlook can have on your life, and your body, and your mind, as well as practical advice on how to practice optimism.

A solid place to start is with some good old-fashioned gratitude. And Parker has a laundry list of all the things that get better with age. “We spend so much time talking about the accumulation of time spent adding up in wrinkles, and it’s the weirdest thing that we don’t say it adds up to being better at your job, better as a friend, better as a daughter, better as a partner, better as a caregiver, better as a sister,” says Parker. “Instead it’s: ‘How do we suspend the exterior? How do we apologize for it? How do we fix it?'”

And to be clear, these are the questions we ask of the aging woman. “We never talk about that with the other sex,” says Parker. “We don’t say to them: ‘Here’s a cream to pretend this didn’t happen.'” Remember that photo of “gray-haired Sarah Jessica Parker” bravely dining in public last summer? At the same table was her dear friend Andy Cohen, three years younger than she. “Andy has a full head of beautiful gray hair. But no one mentioned him, sitting right next to me,” she says. “Not a soul.”

“I’m not angry, it’s just an observation,” she says with a smile (see? optimist). But headlines picking apart the state of your hair or your face or your hands can bring down even the most positive thinker. “I try to not see it, but sometimes it penetrates beyond, you know, the blackout,” says Parker. “And some of it hurts for a minute, it smarts. And some of it confounds me because of the double standard that is so plainly illustrated. It’s just not a great use of time, of ink, of anybody’s attention. We all need distractions, to take ourselves away from the headlines that are devastating, unthinkable. But is this the distraction we want? Or do you want to read a book or do a crossword puzzle or talk to a friend. I think we can do better.”

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