Cool and balanced. That is as simple a description you can go. While there are many shades of gray, living with even just one can bring on a variety of feelings. Why then is society so obsessed with having gray hair? From the time we reach our mid 30s, slowly we become fascinated, curious, and even stressed out and begin a long period of going in search of gray. More precisely, anything gray that comes out of our heads.
Welcome to the aging you! This is your statement of acceptance!
As Old As Mankind Itself
Becoming older brings with it challenges, we all know that. For some reason, the change of a natural shade of hair color that is different from what we grew up with, stresses people out. The mere thought that we are aging, gaining weight, becoming wiser and more well-rounded as a person, that, we can deal with easily. To many, just the thought of looking aged is bothersome.
So it begins when a standalone gray hair is found, this is where the hunt begins. From this point on, up until the day that one finally accepts the fact that they are going gray, many plucked hairs and those found in hairbrushes will be thrown away anywhere that is deemed to be out of sight, only to leave one’s self wondering about how they, are beginning to age. That’s where the stress begins.
Never mind the job, home life, or health frustrations, this one little event alone is what changes how one perceives themselves from now on. Mankind is not the only species that grays as they age, but, you won’t see dogs, elephants, monkeys, chimpanzee’s or any of those species fret over something as silly as a gray hair (or two). After all, it is a visual way to see what is considered as maturing in life.
Getting To The Root Of It – In Search Of Gray
Change begins before you ever find that first stand out hair that tells you that getting older has set upon you. In reality, it all begins even before you were conceived. Your genes have an influence of how things will turn out and when those genes get passed on, there is a history in your lineage which will influence the DNA. It’s all relative matter (no pun intended but, reality is what it is) and does not mean that just because your parents went gray early, that you will. There are many factors that contribute to those tresses looking stressed out.
Diet can be a very big contributor to your changing season. The body’s need for vitamin B12 and what happens when there is an anemia from the lack of it can have an unhealthy effect in perhaps partially causing the gray conversion, Heredity, lack of Melanin, the role of Catalese and how it works in the body as an antioxidant.
A good diet means not only a healthier body, but possibly fewer gray hairs to worry about. Zinc, iron, and especially copper (found in B12), can balance out the body and give it the pigmentation needed for both healthy skin and hair.
Chicken, eggs, cheeses, seafood (oysters, clams, mussels), and milk are great sources of B12. Other foods that also contain B6 and Folic acids include broccoli, asparagus, lentils, peas, beef and walnuts are deemed rich in copper and that can play a role in controlling the gray.
Battle Of The Sexes – Why Color Matters
When it comes to the sexes, women seem to be much more concerned and they have plenty of reasons. It is a matter of perception. To an employer (or future employer) gray hair on a woman tells them they do not fit in with the now, but on the other hand, it might be the best thing that can make other employees feel more settled and confident in management.
Much depends on the industry. Fields such as education, medicine, law, and politics, a few gray hairs to even a full head of it that has gone through the inevitable change, this can be a boon as they are seen to have the experience needed. Younger generations will associate the color with trust, experience, and paternal properties of sorts. Yes even the “lunch lady” at the school cafeteria with gray hair is seen as someone you can trust with your food.
On the other hand, having a bit of the gray can be detrimental to industries that involve social medias, pharmaceuticals, clothing for younger generations and even entertainment. The perception is that they are out of touch with what ‘s hot today. Fashions and styles of communication have changed and someone with a bounty of gray is more thought of as, in this case, a grandma! But there are exceptions as several successful gray haired models are now the in thing of the times.
What about the men? Again here is another gray area (no pun intended again). How important are looks? Turns out that men have a love affair with looking younger more for ego than anything else. If you have gray hair in your 30s, you are deemed to be married, maybe a couple of kids, doldrum job and lots of stress. That fits a large majority of men in that age group and to them, that kind of perception is not cool.
In their 40’s & early 50s, here again, ego comes into play. Not having gray hair or even, having less of it means that they are able to land jobs easier, get more dates (if single) and appear to have a free and go lucky lifestyle. There is that male mentality that we don’t want to look old, past our prime, and that we are still “got it”.
Clothing styles come into play for men and with darker hair, darker colors can play a big role in looking professional. Again, to younger generations, and to employers, gray means old and that is not something men take lightly.
The other side of the equation has its place when it comes to values also. Having either just enough or all of the hair color in shades lighter that what one was born with, can bring the look of maturity, trust and knowledge of life. Doctors, lawyers, civic leaders and many more professions where a man with gray is deemed more mature and able to tackle just about anything that is thrown at them with promising leadership and advice.
Many women see men with gray hair as mature enough to handle their jobs, relationships and carry on great conversations that can have deeper meanings.
Are You In – Or Are You Out
OK, so here you are in your 60s and while standing in front of the mirror, in search of gray, you begin to ask yourself, in or out? No one can judge that better than your own self. While you can get it toned down, through diet or even chemicals, it is all a matter of perception of how you wish to be looked at by your peers, children, community.
Look around, what do you see at work, in public, church? Last summer my wife and I spent one night a week attending our local outdoor concert series by the river. These were shows that while attracting the younger generations, at least 90% of the attendees were sexagenarians, and yep, you guessed it – with gray hair.
Go ahead and talk to yourself while there at the mirror. Which is best, to look younger and try to fit in, or to be revered as someone that the younger generations can look up to with trust and admiration. Take your time, we’ll wait!
For those of us that have made up our minds already, while we wait for the others to catch up, here is some light reading for you to peruse and hopefully put a smile on your face.
Something New – Something Old
There’s a new fad going around. Yep, you guessed it, gray hair! As of this writing, it is in style and not just the older adults, but the younger set too. As sexagenarians have come to terms with aging, parts of the younger generations have decided that it is cool to have hair color that is associated with an older generation of folks.
Varying amounts of gray done tastefully seems to be keeping younger folk (especially women) busy trying to outdo each other. Some will have all gray or even silver, while others will blend in bands of other colors into the mix. Seems as though, they have caught onto the idea that gray can be cool and this is their statement of acceptance.
While we tend to think of ourselves as old, the younger set see’s it as a newness and something refreshing. What do you think? It is inevitable and unless you are into the wanting to keep it away, just accept it and life will be less stressful.
Look around and notice that society doesn’t care about your hair showing its maturity, after all, it was earned. Be proud of what you have and continue living the best you can.
Well that’s gonna do it as far dealing with the hair for now. I’m off to go find something else that can be colorful to write about and goodness knows, there’s plenty out there.
Leave a comment below to let me know where you stand on this subject. Maybe while I wait, I can go back and read some more of those jokes for a while. Thanks for stopping by.
So how did you earn those gray hairs, maybe life had it in store for you all along, find out here
That’s my show