This part of a random “series” of my thoughts on turning/being 39, that began here.
I started coloring my hair 3 years ago for fun. I started just playing around with highlights, and then decided to have fun playing up the red in my hair, and deepening the brown a bit. It was fun! Then, last winter, to save money, I went longer than normal between colors. And suddenly, hair coloring went from just fun to “Holy Cow! When I did get gray hair!?”
I was 7 or 8 months away from turning 39, and suddenly I was struggling with “why am I coloring my hair?” For fun? Or to look younger? And most importantly, what message does that send to my daughters in this age when the importance of the outside is way out of proportion with the importance of internal beauty?
I definitely felt concern at the idea of no longer coloring my hair. Why? Well, I inherited young-looking cheekbones from my mother, who got them from her mother. (Seriously, when my grandmother died last spring, she had hardly any wrinkles!) And yes, I do enjoy being thought I am younger than my license says. (Just like people said I would, when I was irritated at being thought I was younger than my age in my teens and early 20’s). The gray would now be a total giveaway!
Of course, if you are going to entertain these kinds of questions with total honesty, you then have to proceed on to “Why do I wear makeup?” Am I vain? Am I overly concerned with how I appear to people? Am I afraid of getting older?
To be completely honest, there was some fear there. And I think it is a healthy fear as we approach 40. I think it is good to evaluate how far we’ve come. How do I feel about the way I have spent the time I’ve been given? How does that make me want to live the next half of my life?
And so, I spent the next 2+ months processing those questions, internally and out loud with friends. (Thank God for friends who get your verbal-processing-needs!) And I continued to let the gray hair grow in. I decided that even if I decided to color my hair eventually, I needed to make peace with the gray. With what it signifies.
Experience. Struggle. And victory. Seventeen years of marriage, and fourteen years of parenting. Broken relationships. Illness. Healing. Church planting. God. My own God-story, the story He is telling with my life. How blessed am I to be given the years I have been given.
I want to celebrate the path I have been on up until now. I want to anticipate with excitement and joy, the path still laid out in front of me. And for now, I’ll be doing it with colored hair.