Mid-life Crisis

Vanity of Vanities

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

I’ll admit it. I have grey hair (despite Phantom’s claim to the contrary). I’ve been coloring it for years. I found my first grey hairs when I was 24 and pregnant with #1 Son. He’s 19 now. Feel free to do the math. I was in my early 30’s when it seemed like there was enough to make it worth covering. For a long time I colored it myself, but then came a time when I began to pay others to do it.

What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. (Ecclesiastes 1:15)

What is grey, however, can be colored. I spent a fortune on my hair. I justified it as self-care. Then a day came when I actually thought about how much money I was handing over, and it made me feel a little sick.

I changed hairdressers.

Last fall I missed an appointment due to illness, and then it was Christmas and I was both too busy and too poor to make another one. I colored it myself. And then I did it again early this year. And then I let an extra month go by, and I thought, “Hey, it’s not so bad to be grey!” I thought about how good it would feel to save the money, and how hard the color is on my hair’s texture and what a good example it would set for The Princess to accept aging gracefully.

I mentioned this to my husband. He has heard this all before. The proof is on my driver’s license picture, taken two years ago in between hairdressers, when I was growing my grey out, really I was. It’s just that I fell into a hairdresser’s hands, and —

Sigh.

Next week I’m going to Virginia to visit my family. I’ve been thinking about clothes and what to pack, and I got a sharp look at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw. My hair is long, mid-shoulder blade long, and it’s a thing my husband really loves, although I don’t know if it’s as beautiful as “a flock of goats moving down the slopes of Gilead.” He says he doesn’t care about the grey.

It takes a long time for grey to grow out to that length.

So I’ve been pulling it back, thinking that at least then there’s less of a contrast. Most of what you see just looking at my face is fairly grey, and all that brown is in a braid or a ponytail.

Consider the work of God; who can make straight what he has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Well, sure. But anyone with $15 and 45 minutes can make grey hair brown again.

Is it wrong of me to care so much? I bought the stuff from the health food store. They don’t even test it on animals.

What bothers me is knowing that it’s the trip to Virginia that has brought me to this point. My relatives there, the ones who thought selling real estate would be a better career for me than ministry, will look at the grey and they won’t see a hip individualist. They’ll see a middle-aged woman who “has let herself go.”

Friends, what do you think? Am I making this too hard for myself? The box of hair color wants to know.

All this I have tested by wisdom; I said, ‘I will be wise’, but it was far from me. (Ecclesiastes 7:23)

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