I found my first grey hair recently. I didn’t freak out, I was delighted. It’s so shiny and silvery. In my head I call it my ‘unicorn’ hair because it is unique. I worry for it though, I can imagine a well meaning friend, or my mum, telling me I have ‘something in my hair’ and pulling it out to destroy the evidence “before I notice it”. In a society obsessed with staying young I’ve enjoyed getting older, not having children yet does play on my mind, but as far as everything else goes, it’s all good. I wasn’t a very ‘typical’ teenager; I think I’ll fit much more comfortably into society as a 30-year-old. Hence my joy at my grey hair, now my mind and my body match.
it’s unsurprisingly hard to get a good focus on a short pale hair when holding the camera yourself, but I think you can see it here.
Isn’t it odd how as we get older we stop celebrating physical development milestones and start fearing them? I’m not talking about cognitive/learnt milestones, these get due celebration whatever age you are, learning to speak and getting a promotion are celebrated, and rightly so, but not so the physical milestones, these are to be feared and evidence erased if possible. It seems to me like a continuum:
Baby’s first tooth – a cause for celebration and many photos
Child’s first lost tooth – celebration! Money! Tooth fairies!
Children getting taller – “look how much you’ve grown!”, marks on the wall, expressions of joy and admiration
Girl’s first period – becoming a woman, in many cultures a cause for a ceremony or celebration
Wisdom teeth – unless they have to be removed (cue sympathy), completely ignored
First wrinkle/grey hair – the world is ending, I’m old, I’m going to die
First evidence of memory loss – this is it, the end is nigh
I was hoping a search for ‘ageing’ on Google images would support my argument, actually the results are pretty heartening, apart from the fact that all these people are white (because we’re the only ones who age…), these are pretty factual, unjudgemental images:
I just feel like the proliferation of anti-aging treatments and lotions tells a different story… but perhaps not, what do you think?
Anyway, the whole thing made me think about the tooth fairy. Without explanations loosing teeth is scary, it’s a bit painful and without adults to tell you what will happen, you might be left wondering if they will ever grow back, but with money and fairies the process can be fun (and lucrative!).
And I was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a grey hair fairy, a sweet little old lady fairy who visited in the night and turned your hair to silver – wouldn’t that just make everything more friendly for those who value their youth? I think she’d look a bit like Flora from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
So, to sum up. I have a grey hair. I’m happy, and like a kid loosing her first tooth, I’d quite like some congratulations, and perhaps some money please, if that’s all the same to you…