Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Going Gray

Ever since we bought this farm, my hair has been going gray at a much faster rate than before.

You think it's related?

Do you think that chronic worry, stress, and exhaustion really does make your hair go gray? Or is it just that I'm over 40 and would be going gray by now regardless of what I was doing for a living?

I discovered my first gray hair on my 17th birthday. By the time I was in my 30s, I still had less than a dozen. But now... they're everywhere! Not quite enough yet to change the visible color of my hair, but it's getting there.

My feelings about it have been interesting to observe. On the one hand, a woman's hair is a symbol of her youth---and when I was younger, my thick, curly, waist-length hair was always my one vanity. So naturally, I feel a pang at seeing the symbol of my youth morphing into a symbol of my age.

On the other hand, I've always admired those confident, all-natural women who let their hair go gray without fussing about it or covering it up with dye. These women are always so beautiful... in their confidence and simplicity, they usually end up looking younger than the women who fight the aging process with dyes and makeup and face lifts.

What's so bad about getting older, anyway? As the saying goes, it's better than the alternative!

The difficulty is that it's a transition, and transitions are hard. When we first admit that we're passing into a new era of our lives, we're not sure what our new role will be. What will people expect of us now? What should we expect of ourselves?

For me, it feels psychologically and spiritually healthier to keep the gray hair, so that it's there as a reminder of the stage of my life's journey that I have now reached.

Middle Age... If I tilt my head and squint just so, I can almost envision it as a magical Tolkien-esque land, filled with hobbits and elves. Oh. Wait. No, that's Middle EARTH. Darn!

Well, it'll be an adventure, just the same. Day-by-day, I'm building the person I'm going to be when I'm old. What will THAT be like? By the time my hair is fully gray, who will I be?

I won't know until I get there.

1 comment:

heather said...

Nancy:
Join me in many silver hairs! I'm proud of every one I have, and all the new ones that grow in all the time! My silver/grey won't take color! So I've coined a name for my hair color: "Tree Bark"....if you look at some trees, there is a silver, dull brown shade to them! Silver is sparkly! And yes, I do think it's age & stress, as my silver has dramamtically increased w/ two years of nursing school and one more to go! woo hoo - let's celebrate!
peace,
heather