Do we age gracefully, or do we fight it kicking and screaming? This is my current dilemma. I’m at that time in my life where I’ve noticed a few gray hairs. Now, I’m not young by any means, and I’m probably lucky that I’m over 50 and I’m just now seeing some gray. Many women just dye their hair without giving it another thought. So am I over-thinking this?
I met a woman recently who complained that in her favorite sport, she didn’t get the deference she thought that she deserved as an older competitor. She felt punished for looking so young. As I noticed her gray roots and dark hair, an obvious dye job, I wondered what was going on. She was trying to look young and then complaining that her age wasn’t considered. This just didn’t make sense to me, but it started me thinking.
If I present myself as one thing, rather than whom I know myself to be, am I failing to be authentic? Some people may think nothing of misrepresenting themselves in hopes of impressing others, but is that the way I want to live? I’m finally beginning to integrate all the different parts of my life into a complete, unified and authentic person, would dying my hair be a step away from authenticity and a move toward misrepresentation of myself?
When quartz crystals are flawed, they sometimes develop a rainbow of color, visible in the right light. They’re prized for that quality. Could my new gray hair be my own “rainbow?” Could it be my own way of incorporating my experience? Should I consider growing old gracefully? Letting the gray show is a little scary. On the other hand, I won’t waste money on root touch-ups or have to worry about two-tone hair if I ever stop coloring it. Acknowledging my age and experience in a culture that honors and worships youth is a bit of a rebel move. Am I up to it?
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton