I have gray hair. Not a lot, but a few. But finding those gray hairs immediately brings up the question: now what? Am I going to dye my hair? Am I going to allow myself to go gray? If I do, will it change how people view me?
I always said that I would never dye my hair. A very easy statement to make when I was twenty. But as I looked in the mirror and saw the kinky gray hair staring back at me, I had to reevaluate that statement. How do I feel about growing older? Or, the even more important question to ask, especially in this country, what is wrong with growing older?
In our culture, we idolize the young. We seemed to have forgotten our elders and all the lessons that they may offer us. Now, let’s stop and think for a minute. How many of us thought that we knew everything at the age of twenty? We were young and invincible. We were also incredibly naive and, not unusually, made very bad decisions. How many of us would want to go back to that stage in our lives? Think how much we have learned in the intervening years. What exactly does a twenty year old have that a forty or fifty or sixty year old does not? A firm body? Okay, nice, but, really, anything else? That body does not make us happy, does not improve our relationships, does not make us better parents or employees, or anything else. We look better. All right, we do have less aches and pains, but still, does that make me a better person?
What these years have brought me is experience and perhaps some wisdom. I have much better understanding of how the world works. I have a better perspective of the world and people than when I was in my twenties. I know myself better. I am happier. Frankly, I am in better shape even with the aches and pains.
That’s it, I decided: growing older is to be celebrated and respected and honored. The gray hair stays!