I think most of us view life in the form of black and white. There is right and wrong, right or left, up or down, and on or off. But what we often discover is that life is not always black and white, and we find comfort in the in between what we often refer to as gray. The area of gray allows us to retain most of our norms, but still gives us an out to the other side in certain circumstances. The color gray is a relatively safe color, and can be universally applied. Our fashion sense likes gray because it works well with just about any other color, and is a safe choice. But the one area where gray does not enjoy universal acceptance is in hair color. For some reason, the natural color changing of ones hair to gray has many stigmas associated with it. Women absolutely feel the worst part of aging has to do with gray hair, and while men are often more accepting of the inevitable, they still would prefer to not have to deal with the issue. This has become a topic for me, because like many others, I have tried to avoid what life has for me as well. Yes, the thought of having gray hair, has kept me on the edge, and indebted to the folks who make “Just For Men”.
There have been two things that have driven me with my desire to not have gray hair. The first is the notion that with gray hair comes the belief that you are getting old, and therefore life will not be as endearing as it is during younger years. The second was up until the day my dad passed away at 65, he maintained black hair without any evidence of gray hair. Somehow, I used his situation as a paradigm for my own, and when the gray started in my mid 40’s, I considered it a challenge, one that I was determined to beat. Even though it started as just a hint of gray appearing on the sides, nonetheless it was gray hair. Hiding it was relatively easy early on, just a few combs of the color on the sides, and it looked natural. Once a month this routine would be on schedule, and made for a relatively easy fix to pretend that I wasn’t aging. It helped that my daughters would remind me that I looked younger with my bottled natural hair color. I must admit that my natural hair color made me feel younger as well, so I went right along with my charade for over 10 years.
So what has led to a change that I now have decided to accept that my hair color is changing to more and more gray? As I am approaching my 55th year, I think the notion that I have aged fasting then I should has slowed down. The truth is I am more active at my age now and if anything, I feel younger than 10 years ago. Perhaps it is that society has dedicated the age 55 where many senior’s benefits kick in, and it seems more acceptable to have that “Senior” label attached to your personality. During the course of this never ending battle of the gray, I would often hear ladies talk about how distinguished men look with gray hair. Especially when getting a hair cut, as the fake brown fell to earth with each pass of the electric clippers. I think they just wanted me to come in more often for haircuts, because their reaction made it sound like Christian Gray was getting a haircut, and not me. All of this revelation has given me a new challenge, and that is to remain young and active despite the color of my hair. All the platitudes that are often mentioned surrounding gray hair, and wisdom etc., are just that, platitudes. The real wisdom comes from accepting whatever direction your life takes, and knowing that it could be worse. If life were simple, we would easily deal with just 50 shades of gray, but as we learn, there are truly infinite shades of gray.