“Time flows away like the water in the river. ” — Confucius
Until last year, I’d only ever had a half dozen gray hairs. They’d pop straight out from my part or my hairline shockingly white against the rest of my dark hair. And, because I don’t believe that weeding promotes propagation, I’d pluck them out.
Maybe it’s Covid, or starting a business, or having almost-teenagers, but over the last year I’ve grown over a dozen and decided to simply let them shine. There’s a cluster on the right side of my hairline just above my eyebrow, and I’m really hoping that they’ll come together as a shocking stripe of white.
A few days ago would have been my mom’s 65th birthday. Even though she only made it to 49, she gained enough wisdom in her short life to start going gray in her 20s. Maybe her hair knew something we couldn’t.
The funny thing about my own gray hairs is how continually shocked I am each time I notice them. It’s not that I lament aging, or even dislike gray hair, I just don’t like having another reminder of how quickly time is passing. I’ve been experiencing time lately as if someone hit fast forward on the VHS player of my perception. Years have gone by in an instant. And while they surely felt full, I didn’t manage to get all the things done that I hoped.
At the end of each day, seemingly without intention, I take stock of what I didn’t get done. My room still isn’t clean, I don’t know how to surf, I didn’t make a new playlist, nor did I close this fundraising round or book a trip to Europe. I still forgot to put your thank you note in the mail, by the way. When I wake up in the morning, sometimes it feels like a month has passed.
I want to fit in all of the living I can possibly cram into one life. I don’t think I’m asking for too much either, just a healthy mix of the mundane and the sublime. But I need more time. I hope that my hair being slow to gray is a sign. With any luck at all, I will get many more years to dedicate to the pursuit of experience and experience.
I want long enough to have a full head of gray hair, that’s all.