Every health or beauty website I’ve ever consulted has given (roughly) the same statistic: on average, most people begin to go gray during their mid-to-late 30s. In some people, premature graying may begin around the age of 20.
When my hairdresser plucked the first gray hair from my head at the ancient age of 8, no one in the room expected that it was truly a sign of any change to my chocolate locks. When a few more were visible by age 12, I didn’t think that it would escalate any further. When a group of teenage boys were gathered around me to examine my curiously salt-and-peppered hair during my 11th grade trigonometry class, I finally knew: I was remarkably gray.
In any grieving process, acceptance is a pivotal final step. By 16, I knew that I would be a young woman with old hair. I expected to answer many questions about my conspicuously lacking pigment. I realized that gray hair would come with me as I moved into my freshman dorm room and attended my first frat party. Fortunately, I also knew that I would rock it.
Being young and looking old has come with a host of awkward questions and borderline-offensive comments. More importantly, it has come with hugely entertaining and adventurous opportunities. Here are 3 reasons why I love being gray-haired in my twenties.
1. I have a free pass to do something crazy with my hair. Most middle-agers turn to hair dye to halt nature’s course. The idea has been proposed to me numerous times by hairdressers and family members hoping to keep me wading in the fountain of youth. I’m looking to follow their suggestion any day now. Maybe I’ll accept fate and go from salt-and-pepper to full-on silver fox a la Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Maybe I’ll take the lacking natural pigment as a suggestion to substitute with something exotic. Think lilac, coral, periwinkle. Perhaps I’ll commit half of my hair and call myself Cruella. Any decision made in the name of anti-aging can’t be considered rebellious, right?
2. I’m perceived with far more maturity than I deserve. In reality, I’m just a college student. I’m hardly clinging to the branches of adulthood, yet somehow I am misidentified as university faculty and other authority figures on the regular. Some days I have been the student activities coordinator. Once I was the administrative assistant for residence life. Other days, I’ve been an admissions counselor. Each misattribution has preceded an awkward admittance that I’m just a student (Well, maybe I played along once or twice). Still, this penchant for passing as more mature can only help me in the future. People may accept my advice as if from a world-wise sage. Plus, I can openly enjoy my old-soul tendencies with no judgment.
3. I have a calling card. It is endlessly frustrating to end up in some icebreaker activity and not have an “interesting fact about you.” Luckily for me, my extremely premature graying always proves to be interesting enough to please. Friends and family know and love my distinctive trait. My hair is something special about me, even in the face of awkward moments and snide comments. When I see the silver strands shining amid the brunette curls, I can’t help but smile.
Maggie Surdovel is a Music Education student from Pennsylvania. She enjoys desserts, RomComs, and singing opera. She hopes to one day play maracas and sing folk songs with children on a daily basis. In addition to drinking coffee and avoiding schoolwork, she spends her time buying shoes and tweeting at celebrities. For her favorite movie quotes and classical music puns, you can follow her on Twitter @MagSurd.