Don’t worry… I’m not going to try and convince you that you should go grey. I know I couldn’t have convinced myself before I was ready. One day, I suddenly was, and I haven’t looked back. Here is my story…
When I was 22 years old, I started going grey. Let’s just say I was NOT HAVING IT.
It wasn’t long before I started coloring it back to blond. Then I started getting highlights to make it look “more natural”. This went on for a long time. 13 years to be exact.
Meanwhile, in those 13 years, so much changed. I met my wonderful husband and got married, became a teacher, moved cities, became a mama, and tried to deal with the stress of my father’s cancer diagnosis. During all those years, I never considered NOT dyeing my hair. Not even when we were trying to really cut costs.
Then two years ago, I was too busy taking the kids to the pool and loving summer to get to the salon. I ended up going an extra two months without dyeing my hair. When I finally got it done, I came home, looked in the mirror, and knew something had changed. Usually, I came home from those appointments feeling more like myself. This time, suddenly, I just knew it wasn’t me anymore.
It’s still hard to pinpoint exactly what had changed. I had thought about letting the grey go once I turning 50. MAYBE 45. But then one day, in my mid-thirties, I was just ready.
I know a big part of my decision is me wanting to EMBRACE… not just getting older, but embracing the whole process of this crazy life. You know, first you are young and hip and fun and happening, and you think growing older will be boring and quiet. But then you get older and yes, it is quiet but you like the quiet. And you were wrong about it being boring. It’s sometimes calmer (at least after the kids’ bedtime;) ) and it’s definitely more grounded and interesting and you wouldn’t trade it to go back to the bar scene for anything in the world.
To the great surprise of my 20-something self, I have loved getting older. It’s been painful at times, but with each passing year I learn so much. I experience so much. I love so deeply. I am figuring myself out. I’ve come to realize this thing called life is just so worth living. And I have also come to realize that part of living life is learning to embrace as much of it as you possibly can. The joy, the pain, the mess, the solitude, the wrinkles, the detours, the love, the loss, and yes… the grey.
Also, I want my daughter to see me embracing the hell out of this aging thing. I make it a point to admire my body in front of her… I will joyfully comment on how strong my muscles are or how my softer-than-it-used-to-be tummy makes a nice pillow for her. And she tells me how pretty my silver hair is and I smile big and thank her.
Still, there have been a few days where I have had my doubts. On those days I remember that my husband thinks I am beautiful, grey hair and all. And I remember that a few months after I stopped coloring my hair, I went out to dinner with my dad. Out of nowhere, he beamed at me and said, “Your hair looks so fantastic. I have always thought that women who have grey hair are so confident and beautiful.
And so, on the days where I look in the mirror and let the voices of society tell me that youth is the only beauty, I set them aside and instead, I listen to my husband, I listen to my dad, I listen to myself, and I see beauty.