TO GREY OR NOT TO GREY – A Deeper Meaning

You choose.

I recently joined an online writing group. Each day a topic is shared that we all write about and comment on. When the topic of whether or not to show up in the world with grey hair or to keep coloring, it seemed to trigger some deeper emotion, but what?

When a woman changes her hair, it has significance. It’s usually an outside reflection of some inner change. By the time a woman reaches a certain age, she’s had some life experience and made some important decisions about what’s important. Maybe she’s tired of playing the “youth” game and just wants be her age. Perhaps she’s no longer wants to spend long hours sitting in the beauty parlor. She may even prefer to spend her money on something she deems more important. Retirement could cut off the supply of ready money to get her hair colored. Or she could simply want to make a statement: Accept me as I am or not at all. There are so many reasons why a woman might want to change her hair.


When we reach a certain stage in life, there’s a lot to deal with. The kids move out leaving us to wonder what to do with the rest of our life. Friends are having major health issues and we want to be strong to help them through it. We may even be dealing with our own major health issue, in which case, other things take priority over hair color. People sometimes move to new cities to be closer to their family because they can no longer manage alone. This leaves the ones left behind, and the one who has left, feeling like a limb has been removed. We have to scramble to get our bearings again.  People we love die. We may have been prepared, but it still hits hard. Or the notion of assisted living is now a factor in someone’s life. Things are falling away left and right and we’re in constant flux. It all feels like too much.


Clearly, there’s a lot is going on. Is it any wonder women are thinking, reflecting, and just plain trying to figure out what it all means? These types of changes, along with the greying hair, are a reminder that we’re getting older. The clock is ticking and we don’t know when it’s going to stop. It may be our last chance to make sense out of our own lives.

It’s a time to find forgiveness for ourselves and others. Time to say goodbye to those who have gone on ahead. It’s a time of letting go. Letting go of friends, our children, our worldly goods, things that no longer work in our lives. We’re waking up to what’s important to us and we’re trying to move forward in an authentic way. We no longer want to be a push over in the world. We want to make a stand here and now. We want to share what we have learned with the younger generation, so we become mentors. We are at a time in our lives when we reach outwards to make a difference in the world where we live. Whether it’s by writing a memoir that will help others to learn from our experiences, and understand our own, or get involved in some charitable function in our community. We may be able to put our formidable skills to good use in a larger format by helping to end world hunger.


The point is, women change, so do our priorities. Along with this may come the choice of whether to grey or not to grey. It doesn’t matter which we choose. And we shouldn’t judge the choice of another, even if it means they decide to keep coloring their hair. After all, true authenticity comes from within. We are simply searching for a deeper meaning to life. We want to understand why we made the choices we did, and how they have impacted on ourselves and others down the road. We want to make sense of everything before it’s too late. In the end, we want to rewrite the story of our life in the present moment by doing a life review. Much like writing a novel, we wonder whether our life story is good enough to send out into the world.





  • Wilda Bostwick

    This is beautiful, Gillian. You’ve got me thinking.
    My hair has been white since I developed an allergy to hair dye when I was 50. How people reacted revealed a lot!

    October 6, 2017 at 9:29 am Reply
    • Gillian Andrews

      Interesting. How did people react?

      October 6, 2017 at 1:20 pm Reply

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