Grey Hairs and Why No One Should Aspire to Age Gracefully

I found my first grey hair at the ripe old age of 17.

Wiry and coarse, I discovered it one morning when I emerged from the shower. Like a defiant toddler, it stood straight as a board, arms crossed daring me to acknowledge its unexpected arrival. And I did, quickly grabbing a pair of tweezers to swiftly remove its unwanted presence from my thick head of honey blonde hair.

Except, as any woman will tell you, there is no such thing as one grey hair. Oh no, these infuriating intruders travel in packs, peppering your part and creeping into your cowlick without any regard for your vanity or self esteem. Messengers of time, they fortify their position with surprising speed. It’s been a little more than ten years since I found that first grey hair, and though my stylist does her best to banish their existence, millions more have managed to find their way into my unruly mane.

After countless dye jobs and scalp massages, expensive salon visits and sophisticated styling products, I think I’ve finally realized the reason behind my premature greying. It’s simple, really.

You can’t erase experience.

After ten years of dying my hair like clockwork every six weeks, I missed my last appointment. My stylist had the flu, and I was forced to push my hair treatment an additional two weeks.

And there I was this morning, staring in the mirror, face-to-face with my past.

I was, quite literally, staring at my roots.

I was shocked, certainly. But it didn’t take long for that despair to turn into something almost akin to pride. There’s a grizzled grey hair up there that represents my divorce. There’s a cluster that captures every emotion I felt when I made the decision to move out west. There’s a grey hair for every glass of wine I’ve shared with my best friend; one for every heartfelt goodbye and unexpected encounter. There’s one that reminds me of worn leather jackets, another that’s as taunt as the strings of his beloved old guitar. To be perfectly honest, after 28 insane years of life, love, loss and laughter, I’m surprised that my whole head isn’t whitewashed with memory.

That being said, I look forward to the day when I’ll no longer require the dye. The day when every single hair on my head will have been transformed from its original golden luster to a stark white statement of experience.

Until then, I’ll continue to watch as my memories manifest themselves in my mane. And to every balding eldery individual who’s ashamed of their receeding hairline, know that I salute you.

Something tells me you’ve had one hell of a ride.

    Chantielle MacFarlane

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    If you have no baggage, you have no story.