Since becoming a legal adult just a few years ago I thought I was impervious to most of the outward signs of aging. Wear sunscreen? Hell no, I look good with a tan. Who cares if my skin looks like an unloved piece of leather when I’m 35. I’m forever young! You only live once! ETC.
To be fair, I wasn’t entirely ignorant to the fact that time must progress and my body is going to go along with that – I’ve been using an anti-wrinkle night cream since I was 20! So of course, a daily $20.00 cream is enough to preserve my youthful face for the next 20-30 years (ummm, right? I mean, it’s 20 dollars…)
I guess after discovering this Christmas that I still fit into my high school prom dress, I figured I really was immune to aging. Haha, Mother Nature, YOU’VE BEEN SERVED! I thought. I must have unknowingly drank from the fountain of youth somewhere in my life! My skin will never wrinkle, my memory will never fade! I’ll be sharp as a tack until my death age of 93 and then I’ll pass peacefully onto the after life without every having a single gray hair.
You’ll never guess it, but OH BOY, I WAS SO WRONG ABOUT ALL OF THAT. This weekend while getting a haircut at One Block Barbershop(great spot, by the way, I highly recommend it!), Michael (the stylist), brought me way back down to Earth about the reality of aging. You know how it is when you’re getting a haircut, you’re chatting making small talk, nothing too serious, drinking a cup of tea, having a nice laugh, etc. Then Michael says, “So how old were you when you found your first gray hair?”
I think my heart momentarily stopped for a second and then started again going double time. My mind had like a jillion thoughts running through it: My first gray hair? I HAVEN’T FOUND MY FIRST GRAY HAIR? But he’s here looking at all my hairs so he must have seen one. There must be more than one, there must be like hundreds because he’s assuming that I’ve already found one!
So it went down a little like this:
ME: Oh, I haven’t found one yet, so….
ME: So I guess I have a few then. Oh god I had no idea.
HIM: Well there was only one or two in the back…
HIM: Actually I think it was just one, come to think of it.
ME: SHOW ME. I NEED TO SEE IT.
HIM: (picking through my scalp he isolates the gray hair and pulls it up in front of the mirror so I can see it) It’s pretty long, so you’ve had it for a while.
ME: OH MY GOD, OH GOD, NO.
At this point I start laughing. But then I feel my face get really warm and my whole body start to overheat and then all of the sudden there are tears pouring out of my eyes.
ME: OH GOD, I am not crying, I swear!!!
I managed to keep the majority of my composure until after I left the Barbershop, but I was way too emotionally overwhelmed for a Saturday morning. As soon as I got to Ryan’s house so we could go for breakfast, some MAJOR waterworks started. I knew I was being really superficial and actually ridiculous, at 22 I am obviously NOT OLD. Anyways, I started telling Ryan the story while he looked at me as if I was a crazy person, then I started laughing/crying so hard that I couldn’t really form words or complete thoughts anymore and all I could do was wail, “BUT I’M OLLLDDDDDDDDDD NAAAAOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!”
The point of this little anecdote is that this moment was so much more than discovering my first gray hair, it was also the first time that I realized that life can go pretty darn fast sometimes. I moved here almost 5 years ago just days before my 18th birthday and SO nervous about starting university, and it seems like it was so recent. Now here I am finished a degree and gray haired. It also reminded me that I need to take things a little less seriously sometimes. Gray hair? Who cares. Calm down. I’m going to live to be 93 and by that time gray haired will be the least of my worries when I have at least one prosthetic hip.
You can read more from Gab White on her blog.