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Embracing Grey

Embracing Grey

Gretchen Bossio

It has been a year now since I discovered my first grey hair. I probably had some before then, but I told myself they were simply a light blonde in contrast to my brunette locks, definitely not grey. Not yet. Surely, not yet.

But then another, and another. They seemed to pop up and become more noticeable every time I completed my morning routine – silver highlights in my long, dark hair.

I pulled a few. Cursing their appearance. Why me? Why now? My own mother hardly had greys. Was this real life? I already felt my age in restless nights, wrinkles, and cellulite that I swear has appeared despite having a more consistent workout routine than I have ever had. It was an internal battle, to note these changes and slowly accept them.

Better with Age

In a matter of months, I resigned myself to the fact that I was getting older. In many ways, that was more good than bad. Age has brought more confidence in myself, I have settled into my career, found immense joy in the bustle of family life, and I can now add to that list, that I am also accepting physical changes of getting old … including the grey highlights in my hair that will certainly gain momentum in the coming decades.

Now, the obvious answer to greying is to simply cover it up. Hair color is one of the very easy fixes to aging. The one no one bats and eye at. I mean, come on girl, just color those greys and never look back. You can get older without actually looking older, right? After all, it’s the 21st century!

In the last month, as my silvers have started to more prominently sparkle both my hairdresser and a few good-hearted friends have brought my greys to my attention. Never in an unkind way, but always in a pointed, “Time to color, isn’t it?” as if they are eager to help me choose a new highlight shade. A tint of red or perhaps some golden lowlights?

But covering my greys is not my intention. A hair appointment with cut and color is not on my agenda. In fact, I’m am fully embracing my greys and this is why:

Getting Older is a Gift

For a while now I have longingly looked ahead to the years in front of me. Being young is hard – school, debt, marriage, children. Not that being older will necessarily be easier, but it does come with an air of certainty. I am truly excited for the years to come and don’t intend to spend my time or energy trying to recreate my youth.

I’m Not Trying to Look 20

In my opinion, twenty-year-olds should look twenty. Thirty-year-olds should look thirty; and so on. The ideology that no matter our true age we should aim for a younger one is foolish. 

Grey is Not a Bad Color

Do a quick search for “grey hair” on Pinterest and you will see photo after photo of beautiful women with luscious grey manes with stylish cuts and bright smiles. Whether it is grey highlights or all over grey, grey is truly a gorgeous hue.

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Hair Maintenance is Expensive

There are plenty of line items on my budget and I just can’t fathom a hefty bill in our “hair, nails, and make-up” category thanks to a color every six weeks or so. Honestly, I would much rather save for a vacation, fund a child’s extracurricular activity, or donate to a nonprofit that is meaningful to our family.

I Want to Set an Example for my Kids

Day in and day out I drill into my kids that it is what’s inside that counts. Of course, we aim to keep up appearances, but I don’t want to encourage altering our appearance to conform to what the world deems as beautiful. That is not true beauty. That is not what we are striving for.

Instead of revolting against greys, grimacing at crow’s feet, and shying away from the extra pounds middle age brings, why not embrace these gifts of aging?

The Sparkly Years

Sparkles in our hair are just the beginning. They speak to a life well lived, to years passed, and memories made. We will spend many decades as “old women” – let’s make those years the best of our life. Normalize aging with me. Start by seeing your greying hair as a sign of wisdom, the beauty of your age, the shimmery sparkle that speaks to your life experience. No matter what you choose in regard to your hair (there truly is no right answer!), embrace this season of silvering in all its faucets. There is immense beauty in getting older.

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