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Young and grey

I found my first grey hair today. And I got excited.

Is that weird?

I suppose it is in a world where youth is seemingly everlasting. Every product sold to women to appear younger. Women should not age. They should lather themselves in lotions, potions drawn from the pain of other creatures to make our skin plumper, glowier, healthier, more desirable.

Aging is something to be stopped. 80 is the new 60, 50 is the new 30, 25 is the new 18. We're gaining years but reversing time.

We carry our lives in our bodies. Those stretchmarks you tell me I should want to banish? These battlescars tell their own story. I grew two humans from cells to people, and my body warred and fought and stretched and tore and brought forth life. Why should I want to erase that?

Anti-wrinkle cream? But you can see how often I've smiled! My eyes crinkle, my mouth dimples. My forehead shows how often the laughter warred with worry. Frowning when I stressed, when I lost someone, when I spent long nights unable to sleep. But the smiles seem to have won their war on my face. There is still time for these lines to write a different story.

As a teenager I was always told I'm an 'old soul'. Too wise, too sensible, too different from my peers. I preferred reading Jane Austen to socialising, and even when I did discover booze and boys I did everything in moderation. I knew my limits. But I was still just a hormonal mess of self-doubt and people pleasing.

I wanted to be older than I was, to achieve the state of adulthood that matched the image other people had of me. I wanted to reach that perfect age, the one that I had been told matched my mature mind. I wanted to feel like the optimal me.

When I saw my first grey hair, short, wavy and sticking straight up out of my head like a beacon of age and wisdom, I smiled. A familiar pattern of lines appeared.

I am only 32. I am still young. But I have lived, and experienced life, and it has changed me.

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