Why Those Grey Hairs are Good News

A couple of days ago, scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post from a lovely young friend. I’ve known her since she was four years old. She grew up with my daughter.

The post was celebrating her gorgeous new headshots. That girl was looking hot. But in her comment she wrote, “All I can think of is, is that a grey hair I’m seeing there?”

My young friend turns 27 this month and, yes, she’s a jokester. The comment was partially tongue in cheek. But… also not…

The sad truth is that our culture teaches us women that at around age 25 it starts to go downhill. We begin to lose that skin elasticity, it might be easier to pack on a little padding if we go overboard at the buffet on vacation, tiny fine lines just might begin to show up… and all of that basically means we’re no longer as hot, sexy, or attractive.

The subtext being: if you’re not young, hot and sexy you are no longer worthy.

And forget about it once you hit 40 or 50. Then it’s really over. I can’t count how many clients and friends that have lamented to me that they feel invisible. Forget, ugly or old or wrinkled. They literally feel like they are no longer seen.

And, I have to admit, I’ve occasionally experienced this myself. I remember one particular time walking down a busy street and this young man rudely pushing me aside in his hurry as if I was some sort of inanimate obstacle in his way. It sure brought up that “I’m old and invisible” narrative.

So, as much as I’d like to say that these perceptions are all in the head of the person experiencing them… it’s a real thing that they are culturally reinforced and a lot of people fall prey to this glorification of youth.

This is a fraught topic for sure — one that reeks of sexism and an incredible fear of the power that a mature woman can wield. Let’s just bombard her with images and messages that she’d better spend at least 85% of her time and energy on trying to appear more youthful than she is because God forbid she actually spent that energy on doing her powerful work in the world.

Now, I’m 56 and my hair is blonde — that don’t come naturally anymore. ‘Nuff said.

I’m not trying to tell every women ‘of a certain age’ that they need to completely to surrender to entropy and shrug off the ravages of time. Attention to our appearance, pampering our skin, and, yes–even dying our greying locks to our preferred color, can all be nourishing self-care rituals.

That’s totally up to the individual woman.

But, I do want to challenge you to ask yourself WHY you are engaging in these rituals. Do you love them? Is it enjoyable and fun? (Or, said another way, is the result enjoyable because YOU love it — rather than because you expect someone else will love you more because of it?)

The Role of the Wise Woman

It’s a fairly recent phenomenon that elder women find themselves invisible and even reviled. This is not the way humans have lived for millennia. Many cultures still revere the grandmothers and wise woman in their communities. Far from being invisible, she is consulted, honored and respected.

If this piques your interest you might like to read more about reclaiming this power HERE.

What if we could step into that Wise Woman role in today’s world? What might change?

What if those grey hairs are a symbol for our spiritual and emotional growth as human beings? (Even if the silver is covered up with a fun color.) What if they are permission and encouragement to share our hard-earned wisdom and knowledge. An invitation to unleash our brilliance?

What if you could learn to look in the mirror and say, “Look how hot you are!” despite a bit of wrinkled cleavage or droopy triceps?

What if you made your lifestyle choices based on how they make you feel, rather than how they might make you look?

It’s not just your own health and well-being that’s counting on you and those choices. It’s the health and well-being of our entire planet. Unleash your Wise Woman brilliance! Celebrate the passage of the years. And watch how good it feels!

(Originally posted on Confluence Daily)