I’d always wanted to dye my hair red, but had been too afraid of doing it until I began my nursing home career. Seeing residents at the end of their lives and young people suddenly disabled, their lives changed forever, caused me to question my cautious approach to even minor decisions. With a few gray strands beginning to show, I started with a rinse, changed my color multiple times, and settled on a permanent “fire red” that was brilliant in the sun but more subdued by the light of the nursing home.
Now, many years into long term care, I’ve decided to let myself go gray. Or at least see what’s under there. While keeping a box of fire red in the closet. Upon reflection, perhaps my dive into hair color was motivated at least as much by the fear of aging as it was by a sense that I had to take chances and live life while I could because, well, you never know. On the other hand, maybe showing the gray is another way of taking a chance.