Gray Hairs

{Remember how I used to respond to comments? Well I’m doing that again. I think/hope I responded to all the comments on the last two posts, and I plan to respond to every comment this summer. Just wanted to let you all know. Sorry I stopped doing that. I liked it so much better when I found time to reply to comments; I’m excited to be doing it again.}

I am generally the younger one when it comes to the people I consider friends. Sure I have friends from college that are my age, but they all live far away. At work, and with the moms of my daughter’s friends, I am always the youngest, usually by a good 5 years. I think this helps insulate me from thoughts about getting older. I can’t really bitch about nearing 40 to a friend who is already 43!

Lately I’ve been super cognizant of how old my kids seem. My daughter recently matured a lot, and not only does she look older, but she talks (and sometimes even acts!) older too. My son is a super verbal 3.5 year old, who learns everything from his sister; he acts much older at this age than I remember his sister acting. They both just seem… noticeably older these days. So much so that I was inspired to pull out my old computer and watch movies of them from two and three years ago, when my son was a baby and my daughter looked like one two. I can’t believe how much they’ve changed.

There are days I look at myself in the mirror and I have no idea who is staring back. But then other days I recognize myself in my own reflection, the 20-something I think I’ll always consider myself to be. In my mind I will always be my youngest “adult” me. I still dress the same as that 20-something. I still talk like her too. And even though I know I’ve grown up so much in the past 10-15 years, in some important part of my mind, I haven’t really changed.

Except I have. I look older than I did in my 20’s. A lot older. And last night I let my hair down in the bathroom and noticed not one or two, but a whole cluster of gray hairs on the top of my head. They were long, and so, so white. They must have been there for a long time, but I always wear my hair in a pony tail and the top gets a little blonde in the sun, so I hadn’t noticed. Seeing those gray hairs, so painfully obvious against the dark brown mop on the top of my head, was frankly, shocking.

Neither of my parents went gray very early and honestly I didn’t expect to either. And it’s not like I think a few gray hairs in my late 30’s assures I will be gray in the next decade. But I guess I could? I don’t know how I feel about that.

I think it’s just that gray hair is the first real sign that I’m really and truly getting older. My youth is behind me and I can only hope that I’ll grow old one day, the alternative is so much worse.

So yeah, nothing to see here, just an almost 37-year-old woman freaking out a little about her first cluster of gray hairs.

When did you see your first gray hairs (assuming you have some)? How did it makes you feel then? How do you feel about them now?

24 Comments

  1. I had my first gray hair when I was six years old (no joke). In high school when I was bored, I would pull out my gray hairs when I was in class. Now I have so much that I dye it every 6-8 weeks. I’m only 38.

    1. My aunt was that way, my father’s sister. She was completely grey by her mid-30’s. Their father’s side of the family goes basically white super early. Their mom didn’t go gray until she was much older. It seemed like my dad got his “his gray” from his mom’s side of the family and I suppose I must have too, or I’d already be gray now.

  2. I shall never forget the 50 -55 year old man at work who came into my HR office one day and announced with horror that he was dying. Right. He needed a root canal on a tooth because the nerve had died. Yes he was serious.
    I suggest loving every white hair and hoping it comes in streaked adding drama to your hair and appearance. IF you get enough to actually impact the color reading of your hair try hi or/and low lights to bridge the gap. Aging with beauty means aging and changing; hair color is NOT one of the real issues of aging. My older sister went totally white before 40 and I always wished I would too. (I ended up steel grey, she dyed it a terrible ashy color that was super aging on her.)
    And, yes, realizing you too will not always be 20 can be startling especially as so very many women (and men now too) color their hair so our expectations are set differently. Hang in, you are fine.
    Excited about your trip. Hope you are all set for packing and have your list made up and everything is ready to go in the suitcase.

    1. I think I will be okay once they are a staple, it’s at the beginning when they are randomly here or there, and have such a different consistency, that I’m not looking forward to. I have pretty dark hair so they will be VERY noticeable for a while. I guess we’ll see what happens!

      1. My son said to me, fairly early in my greying process: “MOM!! You have GREY hairs, I never noticed that before!! They catch the light like diamonds.” The whole grey thing is filled with awkwardness and strangeness. It can help to stop and ask your self how much and how often you have historically noticed the occasional grey hairs on others. Right now you are way more sensitized to it for yourself and maybe others. Remember, you too can have diamonds in your hair.

  3. 26. It sucked. I’ve had to do my roots monthly since then. Now at 2-3 weeks I can’t wear my hair down and I have to use hair “mascara”. Sucks. I’m very sensitive to looking old, considering I’m an older mom. I’ve gotten asked several times whether my kids are my grandkids. Really? I don’t think I look *that* old. And if you don’t know people, think about it–keep the question to yourself! I’m already sensitive to this issue, having had my kids at 42 & 44. So those comments are like a hot knife twisted in my stomach. Therefore, I’m vigilant about doing my roots. I’m 100% certain that if I decided to stop dying my hair everyone would think I’m the grandma. At this point I’m 100% ugly gray.

    1. I’m surprised you get the “are those your grandkids” question on the California coast. Here in SF having your kids at 42 and 44 is very normal. I am the weird one for having my kids in my early 30s. Like I said, all my friends with kids my daughter’s age are a lot older than I am (by 10+ years, usually). I can’t imagine any mom is getting those questions up here, but maybe I’m wrong.
      Going gray that early would be rough. And it sounds like a lot of upkeep. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

      1. Yeah, it’s like these people have decided that their curiosity (am I the mom or grandma) is more important than my feelings.

        I remember when I was in my late 20s thinking that 50 would be a good age to stop coloring my hair. Of course, 50 sounded really old and was a long ways off. I turn 50 next year, so, uh, no. As long as I’m working and my kids are in school, I’ll keep dying. It’s a pain but it makes me feel better about myself.

  4. I’ve had gray hair since I was 24 and some family trauma is the cause, I’m almost positive. I just keep switching my part around to avoid the worst of them, lol. I don’t think about it much, even though they are very plentiful now. I don’t really mind getting old, and so far I haven’t been tempted to dye my hair. They are growing in streaks more than just out of the roots, though, so maybe I’d feel differently if I had silver roots and dark brown elsewhere.

    1. I am lucky because I wear my hair in a pony tail, so I think I’ll be able to “avoid” my grays for a long time. Much like “switching your part,” it’s a no-cost way of dealing with them. 😉

  5. It’s really hard for me to leave comments because I have to log in through your actual website rather than just on WP annnnd I get lazy.

    I turned 39 this year. And for the most part I don’t feel old. I was feeling really great.

    I have a couple of grey hairs that recently popped up but I could not dye my hair and no one would know so I am pretty lucky in that respect.

    However – eek! The wrinkles. They have really come out in the last few years. All those years of basking in the sun. For my 40th I am totally going to get botox and I don’t feel a tiny bit bad about it at all!!

    1. I wonder why you have to log in through my actual website?! How frustrating. I hate when commenting is a PITA. I’m sorry that is the case for you on my blog.

      And yes to the wrinkles. I seem to have inherited my mom’s amazing skin (which I think is a fair deal since I also inherited her DOR) so I’m still doing okay, but oh my the crow’s feet! I must furrow my brow a lot too because my forehead isn’t looking so great these days.

  6. I think I was in my early 30’s. I’ll be 39 at the end of the summer, and I have more gray hairs than I can count, but not a whole lot. I definitely don’t feel a need to dye it. I’m hoping that by the time I have a more significant amount of gray hairs, I will feel old enough to just leave it. At this rate I think it’ll happen.

    1. I hope that for me (and you!) too. I have no interest in needing to dye my hair. I totally understand why people do it, and would be doing it too if I had gone gray earlier, but I just hate any kind of upkeep on my body. I’m too lazy and just don’t care enough to spend the time and money on dying.

  7. My hair has been coming in more gray and I can’t afford to dye it so I’m been trying to figure out what I’m going to do. It doesn’t look good on me.

    I’m so envious that you’re the youngest of your friends with kids. I’m 41 with a 4 and 6 year-old and my friends are at least ten years younger than me and I hate it. Some are 15 years younger. I find my best friends to be the two who are older than me. It’s the community I’m in…a conservative church and homeschooling population. I wish I could find a little different community…not as conservative, not at young…but it’s eluding me right now.

    1. Hey lady! It’s been a long time! So great to hear from you! I miss you a ton. You are one of the reasons I sometimes consider going back onto FB, but sadly the negatives still outweigh the positives for me… I wish there were some other way for me to keep abreast of your life and what the kids are up to!

      I have been lucky to have found a community that I feel comfortable in. I guess that is one of the really good things about living in the city (and it’s so easy to focus on the frustrations), I really need to remember to be grateful. I know how hard it is to find a new community. It can be damn near impossible.

      I hope you have a friend or two that can be there in the ways your younger, more conservative, homeschooling population is not. One or two good friends can make a big difference. That is why I’m always looking for them in my life!

      1. I miss you too! But I’m still reading so I feel like I still get to “see you.” We just moved to Temecula Valley so I have a new start. A new chance to meet other people but I have a feeling it will be very similar because of the homeschooling amd church thing. Whenever I meet older moms I latch onto them, lol!

        You are so smart for staying away from fb. I so would if I could. I’m writing a blog for a curriculum company now so I have to be on there. But I’ve thought so many times about getting off. I’m addicted really and I don’t think it does me much good.

        I would send you to my blog to read about my life but it’s only a teeny tiny glimpse into it…not the real stuff of life. Maybe I will do another update on my main one. I’ll let you know if I do. <3

        1. You’re blog is in my reader so if you post, I’ll know right away! So fun to exchange a couple of comments! Good luck in the new area!

  8. So I’ve had grey hair a long time and I am enjoying it. I think the first few were in my mid-20s after we were homeless briefly. As a young person I had natural blonde highlights in dark hair and now in my early 30s, all the blonde is grey. Racing stripes! I hope my face stays put about here in terms of wrinkles. My face moves like one side of my family and my features look like the other so it’s been a fun game to see whose wrinkles I get.

  9. I literally always feel like I look the same as my 21 year old self, and it’s only when I see side-by-side photos that I go WOW, I’ve aged. No gray hairs here yet, but I don’t *think* they’d freak me out. But maybe that’s a lie, I dunno. 🙂

    1. I really did not think I cared about going gray! I did not think I would freak out. But it was really weird to see those super long, SUPER WHITE hairs all mixed up in my own. I was like, who the fuck’s head is that?! I think part of it is my hair has always been kind of a source of pride, which is weird because I don’t do ANYTHING with it, I seriously put it up EVERY DAY, but when I do take it down people ALWAYS comment on how pretty it is (which is only because it’s nice right when I take it out of a pony tail, give it 15 minutes and it will be a frizzy, poofy disaster). I’ve been complimented on my hair since I was young (it had these gorgeous blonde streaks, which I didn’t understand as being amazing back then, but now that my daughter has them I get it, her hair is amazing and I would comment too if I were an adult). So yeah, I think it’s just realizing that this part of me that was always complimented is now changing. It’s definitely harder for me to come to terms with than I thought it would be.

  10. I’m like Working Mom of 2. I started going gray in my 20’s and it’s been a progression of highlights then semi permanent color and now permanent color that I have to touch up every 3-4 weeks, and even using 2 boxes of root touch up to save on salon costs doesn’t cut it anymore. I’m. probably going to have to get it professionally done every month from here until I’m mentally ready to transition. I’m easily 50% – 75% gray and I’m 43. I have a target age of 50 in mind to transition to natural, but I can’t embrace it yet. I look young, I feel young, and letting it go will age me immediately.

  11. Started growing grey in my mid-late 20s. My father’s side of the family all went grey early. I’ve been colouring my hair since my early-mid 30s. I’m in my early (mid? gulp!) 50s, and still colouring, and I’m too scared to be fully grey, as I am kind of in the job market, and it’s hard enough without looking old(er). I’m thinking in my 60s I’ll go natural?! Or if I managed to establish a business before then.

  12. Just this summer I have noticed a patch of silver at my right temple. I am 41, so it’s definitely not early. I kind of love it – I love love love silver hair and think it’s so beautiful! – but it’s also really jarring. I find myself staring at it a lot.

    (Also: hi! I am slowly catching up on my blog reading and am trying to comment more, especially on the ones that are important to me. 💖)

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