Right around the time I entered my 40s, I noticed a single silvery strand of hair nestled amongst my mop of black. I didn’t dare pull it, for fear that pulling this one would result in several more growing in its place. In the years following, this single strand stood strong and alone, the one that didn’t belong, so different from the others.
This morning as I got ready, I noticed more white hairs on the top right side of my head. A gang of them mocking me, reminding me they were here to stay and that more like them were coming.
For a second I was immobilized by a rush of panic then immediately plucked them all out, at least the ones I could see.
Take that, unwanted signs of my aging. You are not the boss of me.
Even though I won this battle, I’m no fool. I know in time, the greys will come roaring back like unwanted house guests and there’s nothing I could do about it. The best I could do is welcome them, embrace them and know they are not the enemy.
Easier said than done, I would say. Here I stand, well into the middle ages of my life, quite literally in the middle. On one side of me is my mother who just turned 86 and right on the opposite is the First-Born, who will be turning 18 at the end of this year when she’s many miles away (we are all hoping) at the college of her choice.
Picture yourself in my place for a second and imagine the range of emotions someone like me might go through: Watching your now elderly mother have difficulty walking without her cane when she once traipsed around many a dance floor in her 3-inch heels. Experiencing your baby girl who has blossomed into a beautiful young lady planning her exit from high school and from her childhood home to enter her college years.
Wasn’t this just me? Wasn’t it just yesterday that my parents were dropping me off at my college dorm?
On top of all this, feel the highs and lows of the physical changes that your own body is going through not to mention the emotional ups and downs of the thoughts racing through your head as if they’re on a never-ending roller coaster ride. If you’re not being careful, all of this can mentally and physically drain you.
Can you feel the overwhelm yet?
Since there’s no way for me to stop Father Time or turn back the hands of the clock, there’s only one thing for me to do: grab this season of my life by its horns, look at it in the eyes and say, “Come at me. I’m ready for you.” Then figure out how to handle this aging process that I’m going through with style and grace. Here’s a plan I think will work:
I’m pretty sure that if I’m able to do these things then my mental state will be in just the right shape for handling any negative thoughts of aging. My aging, my parents’ aging, my kids’ aging. Aging in general. Bring it.
And on days when I wake up to a fresh patch of white adorning my head, I won’t hyper-ventilate like I did this morning. I’ll be able to look at my hair knowing it’s just a part of who I am now in this season of my life which is not necessarily a bad thing.
I’ll also be calm enough to remember that my hairstylist, Eva, is just a phone call away. Highlights are always an option.