Today, standing in the mirror, I was overwhelmed with the amount of gray hair on my head. I’m 26. Twenty-six. Still in the prime of my life, and yet, my hair is insisting I’m older. A little over a month ago, I stood in the mirror and did the same thing, that time horror struck. I’m 26! For the love of God! Today, as I braided my hair and exposed the underside, the gray side as I’ve come to think of it, I wondered: Am I the kind of person that gets upset over this? I still get mistaken for a teenager…frequently. Maybe my hair thought I needed to look more distinguished. Hell, I don’t know. Every year the high school principal mistakes me for one of the kids I coach. It’s comical, actually. Is it bad that a part of me is considering just letting it grow out gray? I wonder if it’ll turn white. I love white hair, would absolutely LOVE my hair if it turned all white. But because I want that to happen, it’ll probably turn a weird, ugly shade of gray.
I told my dad about all my gray hair and he seemed genuinely shocked. My father, who isn’t ruffled by anything. I told him I didn’t think I should have this much gray hair, but I guess my life had been kind of hard for the past few years. He agreed with that too.
Which got me thinking- is that how people see me? Nothing in my life has turned out how I thought it would. It hasn’t been easy and people I loved and trusted have hurt me in ways that I’ll never get over. But do people see that when they look at me? I’ve endeavored, especially since I started coaching, to be a positive person, someone trustworthy and dependable when others aren’t. I’m a fighter, though I’ve found it’s so much more rewarding to fight for others. I know that my middle schoolers and high schoolers look up to me, and I hope I’m instilling some sort of drive into them to want to better people, but what about the adults in my life, the ones who have been around from the beginning and seen my life unfold like some rare, beautiful but carnivorous flower? What do they think?
Life is a journey of self-discovery, and maybe that’s all this is. I’m just discovering things about myself that have been there all along but I never realized or recognized (like my gray hair). I don’t relish the thought of getting older, I work in a hospital, I see the effects, and it isn’t pleasant. I suppose I’ve earned all these gray hairs one way or another. But part of me senses an oncoming mid-life crisis. I did buy a sports car, after all.
Everything moves in the blink of an eye. We get one chance to have a lasting effect on the world- and that’s all I’ve ever wanted; to change someone in a positive and permanent manner. I think I’ve succeeded in some ways, in others I’m still working on it.
So, I guess to answer my question from earlier: Am I the kind of person that gets upset over this? The answer is no. I’m not. I don’t want to be.
I want to be the person that stands up and gives her gray hair a big EFF YOU. I’ve earned them, damn it. Who knows, maybe I’ll just put the hair color back in the cupboard and see what happens. Maybe I’ll give in and hide beneath my hair color genius again.
I just don’t know.
And maybe there’s beauty in not always knowing the outcome.