Sarah Simpson column: Grey hairs are a badge of honour I’m willing to accept

I was reminded recently that life is far too short to be worrying about such trivial things.

I’m all for getting older. I’m trying to wear it like a badge of honour. The wrinkles, the stretch marks, all of it.

I’ve had some grey hair for more than 10 years. It happens. I dyed my hair for years but I stopped once I was pregnant with my first child and I never went back.

The other day I popped out of bed (more like scowled and sat up cautiously, pausing to ensure my feet were under me before I committed to a full stand) so that I could get an early morning walk in. Like any parent does when trying to escape their sleeping children, I attempted to ninja creep to my bathroom to brush my teeth before I went out, except I don’t think ninjas’ knees and ankles take turns cracking like mine do. It’s not such a big deal during the hustle and bustle of the daytime but in the quiet of the early mornings at home, it’s loud enough to wake the dead. Or worse, the children.

Nevertheless, I made it to the bathroom without being detected. With a dab of toothpaste, a drop of water and a little scrubbing, I was well underway to starting my day. I looked in the mirror at my just-rolled-out-of-bed reflection — my mouth now full of bubbles — and contemplated handing back in my badges of honour. I looked like one of those caricatures of frazzled moms.

And that’s when I saw it.

Never mind the wrinkles and dark circles still under my eyes. Lines from my pillow pressed into my still puffy face aside, I saw a three-inch, straight as an arrow strand of grey hair trying to get as far away from my scalp as possible despite being stuck to it. You know the ones. They’re obnoxious.

It’s probably just post-children regrowth. I’m glad my hair wants to grow back, I lost enough of it during those pregnancy and nursing years and likely even more now that the kids know how to jump off tall things and talk back to their mother. In fact, I could probably make a really off-putting human-hair-type animal doll with all the hair my scalp has released over the last six years. (Don’t worry, I haven’t. I’ll leave that to the strange people of the internet.)

Anyway, this little grey hair was taunting me.

I pulled my hair back into it’s customary ponytail and that three-inch hair stuck out like a sore thumb. You know what I did? I put my ball hat on because A.) that’s what I do and B.) because I was reminded recently that life is far too short to be worrying about such trivial things.

The publisher who gave me my first proper job used to dye her hair all the time. Thinking about it makes me smile. You never really knew what shade of brown or red or blonde it would be from month to month. I wish I had that kind of chutzpah.

That publisher, Shirley Skolos, died the other day after being ill for some time. Without even really knowing it at the time, Shirley played a huge role in the direction of my life, in where I chose to put down roots, and in the formation of my family.

She hired me back in 2004 and I lasted two years before I headed off to the Lower Mainland to pursue other opportunities and what I naively thought would be greener pastures. She hired me back two years later when I returned, tail between my legs, begging to be rescued from the rat-race that is the Big City. Shortly thereafter I met my husband…at work. She didn’t scold us for a workplace relationship. She was just happy we were happy. She was happy when we married. She was happy with each child we had. She left the Citizen roughly two years ago. She left for good last week. I’ll miss her.

I’ll continue to accept my grey hairs as they arrive — or hey, maybe I’ll opt to dye them again. All I know is how fortunate I am to still have the opportunity to decide.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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