I seem to have moved from finding my first grey hair to rapidly going grey over the past year or two.
I was excited to find my first grey hair – or white, really, though it’s hard to tell against my medium brown. It felt like something concrete to demonstrate my adulthood. Like people can’t necessarily see my decade-old marriage or my little girl, the house we own together, my degrees and job experience. But a person can see the grey at my temples and judge that I have a bit of life experience.
But now that the greys are coming swiftly, and I know that I likely won’t dye it away, I am concerned about not recognizing myself.
I have always had dark hair. Even when it lightened up a bit over summers it was dark. When I was in my 20s I had a habit of dying it an even darker brown (and got many a compliment). Once I dyed it purple, but never bleached it beforehand.
I have never, ever seen myself with light hair and I seem to be going the way of my Tutu (mother’s mother) and turning not just grey but bright white.
I find it so strange. I’m not particularly afraid of dying, but I am afraid of what aging will do to me. Will I get cancer like several members of my family, will I get Alzheimers and will they have a good treatment for it by that time, will I have a massive heart attack one day like my father.
I’ve done a few 5k races over the past couple of years – I’m doing another on Sunday – and I have found that when it gets really tough, when my hips hurt and it’s hot and my feet are cement, then my brain starts thinking more about what I’m doing to it and why, and my brain answers: I will not age like my mother. I will not. Age has not been kind to her, though in a lot of ways life just hasn’t been kind. But there are health issues that I’m dealing with right now that I do not want to be dealing with in half a lifetime. If I make it that far.
I know people who relish each and every sign of aging, because it means they are still here. Lord knows the thought of missing any little bit of my daughter’s life hurts my heart.
I’m not afraid of getting old, but realizing how fast life moves gives me pause. I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m afraid of missing out.