Having turned 35 years-old back in April, I needed to briefly confront an internal issue by asking myself a question: Will I eventually start dying my gray hairs as I get older?
I immediately thought of the 2001 Tom Cruise movie, Vanilla Sky, where his character is seen plucking a few gray hairs while standing in front of the bathroom mirror, on his 35th birthday. Similarly, I pluck a couple gray hairs each week and therefore easily maintain my dark brown hair.
But a month ago, when my daughter was born, I accidentally and by default ended up growing what I call a postpartum beard; out of lack of time or inspiration to shave in the midst of caring for an infant.
It became clear that I now contain more gray hairs in my beard than I am willing to count. Back in my late 20s, those same hairs had turned red, and then blonde… now they are undeniably gray.
The longer my postpartum beard has grown, the less I care about those gray hairs that stick straight out. So then I asked myself, “Why don’t I care?”
Here’s my answer:
Gray hair is seen as a trait that makes a man appear to be “distinguished”. I am now at a point in my life where I see distinguished as a positive trait.
That’s because I feel like I’ve earned it. The gray in my beard holds a story. It indicates that I have life experience and maturity that I never did have up until now.
At age 35, I am settled. I am comfortable and confident in my lifestyle.
I have been married for nearly 8 years. Together, my wife and I have gotten out of debt and built our savings. We’ve raised a 5 and a half year old-son and now have a 1 month-old daughter. As if I needed to explain that raising children makes you a different person…
At my office, I now have many people who look to me for answers and wisdom. And I instantly have the answers. Naturally, the newer 25 year-old office workers call me sir when they meet me; they recognize my confidence and life experience simply how I carry myself; which is what I will self-identify as calm-assertive.
I like this. I like being 35. It sure beats 20 or 25 or 30.
Back when I had no gray hairs, I didn’t have that confidence, nor or the emotional intelligence I now have. So I won’t complain about gray hairs.
With that being said, after I press “publish” on this blog post, I’m going directly downstairs to shave off this beard; not because I am internally inspired to do so, but because my wife wants me to.
But even without my gray hairs after this, my wisdom will still show in the fact I cared more about making my wife happy they continuing to grow a novelty beard.
This is 35.