“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” – Proverbs 16:31
My lovely niece, Nikki, was busy at work oiling my scalp when she yelled, ‘Aunty Emily, you have white hair!’ I didn’t think much about it at that point. I imagined that they were very few strands of the said white hair. After all, she must have spotted three perhaps. Later on, I started noticing some of those white strands on my hair. They were far wide and apart.
One of my colleagues mentioned that they could spot the white hair. My sister later mentioned that she could see long white strands at the back. We know what white hair signifies; growing old, ageing. I didn’t want to believe that my youthful self was growing older, despite this being a fact. But there’s something about people pointing it out to you. What are they really saying? Am I becoming irrelevant? I hope that’s not what this means.
“The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” Proverbs 20:29
I am at a stage called halftime. We know that halftime in a game of football or rugby or any other sport is a time of rest in between a game. According to the Halftime Institute, halftime is a time-out. It’s a time to pause, reflect on what you’ve accomplished, who you’ve become, and what will matter most to you in the next season of life. It’s an opportunity to make a course correction or commit to stay the course so that you are equipped to direct your time and resources purposefully.
Lately I have been asking myself a number of questions about my significance. What is my purpose? What am I here on earth for? When I die, will it be said of me that I lived my life to the fullest and lived out my purpose? Or is this purpose story a hoax?
It is easy to keep thinking or telling yourself that you are still young and have time to do what you want to do. I was in for a surprise. The statistics of a youthful country such as mine shows that persons under the age of 35 years comprised of 75% of the population as per Kenya’s 2019 census. That means, I am in the minority group at 43!
When you have children, the reality of you growing older is ever present. Our children always view us as being too old. No wonder we do not understand them and clearly, we are old-fashioned, they say. My son and husband were talking the other day about cars. What else do the male folk talk about? I digress. My son mentioned his dream car and hubby wanted to know when he would acquire it. Son tells hubby that he would own it in 20 years’ time. Hubby happily mentions that he would get a ride from this 5-year-old in the future. My son answered quickly and without hesitation that his father would be long gone by then. He sees his daddy as being too old!
But think about it. How much time is 20 years? It is a short time, though a period one can achieve quite a lot.
What are my few white hairs teaching me?
Accept. It is important for me to understand and accept that I am growing older. It is not a bad thing. Actually, it is part of life. I can do things differently owing to the wisdom I have acquired over the years. There are also things I cannot get myself to do. I cannot dance with vigor as I used to, my back, knees, hips, the panting may hinder such vigor. I can however still remain active and adjust my workouts accordingly. Accept that there will always be a younger person than you and that they may or will do things better than you could. Accept that we are all on a journey of ageing. There is a beginning and there is an end for each of us. What we do in the middle is what really matters.
Adapt. Where are you at in life? What new skills do you need to obtain in your older season? What good old skills and habits do you need to maintain and enhance? Which ones do you need to do away with? Listen to podcasts or read books that speak into where you are at. Change your lifestyle if possible. You cannot act as if you are in your heyday. Think through the suitability of your lifestyle – what you eat, how long to sleep or even what kind of exercise to do. I am now listening to stuff of women in their 40s because I want to get it right in my season. I am in a season of the Fabulous Forties, remember?
Just Do It. Cut yourself a lot of slack and just do it. We have heard this before, that the graves are the richest places on earth, filled with many dreams that people had but never actualized. I have found myself reminding me one very important question. What’s the worst that can happen if I try? Fail? Is that too bad? No, it isn’t. There are lessons that will come from that process. The best thing will be the fact that I tried.
Try and fail but don’t fail to try.John Quincy Adams
Seasons. We are all on a journey. Some started ahead of us, others after us. Run your race. Soak in the moment. Be present in your current circumstances. Keanu Reeves, in an interview with the Guardian recently, stated the following, which I picked from the article ‘What Keanu Said About Aging Beats The Crap Out Of Any Advice, Ever‘: Life, the actor says, reminds him of the turning wheel of an old audio tape. In the beginning, the tape is full, so it appears to move slowly. But as it runs out and there’s not much tape left, it seems to spin so much faster. He just wants to get as much done as he can before the reel runs out.
I am therefore encouraged to focus on doing the best at the moment. I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth. May I be a good steward of my time, resources and talents. I pray God allows my hair to gray graciously and that the graying will serve as a gentle reminder of the season I need to embrace and that He has been present all the while.
If you are struggling with growing older and that life is passing you by fast, take heart. The gray hairs may trigger you to regret what you did or did not do, or perhaps remind you that you don’t have all the time in the world. Spend time reflecting on what makes you fear growing older. Focus on your mindset and emotional wellbeing. Get rid of any negativity. Be thankful everyday for what life has to offer.
Accept. Adapt. Just Do It.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
PS: Let’s be clear, I don’t intend on dyeing my hair black. Not now, not ever.
Don’t give up at halftime. Concentrate on winning the second half.Bear Byrant