Like so much in life, my hair is a grey area
Like any job, it’s nice to get away from mine for at least one day a week. It’s pretty full on at the moment, and even though it’s been another rewarding 7 days job satisfaction wise, my girls certainly appreciate the slightly less stressed and rushed version of their dad on a Sunday morning!
With some friends yesterday, we were briefly talking about ageing and the new and exciting things (!) we have to look forward to, from eyesight correction to hair colour changes (and a few other things that I won’t mention here…)
My hair has been getting less colourful for a fair few years now, long before constantly legging it round after 2 young children in middle age accelerated the process. To be honest, I rarely think about it these days, although confess to a fleeting thought or two towards ‘Just For Men’ in the early 40’s. This passed, thankfully, and now I personally consider my ever ageing hair colour to be a ‘badge’, almost, a constant and timely reminder of the many experiences, good and bad, crazy and mundane, soaring and sinking, behind it.
This inevitably got me thinking deeper about how it’s way, way too easy to be unaware of those experiences both in ourselves and others. For instance, when I meet a new trainee, I know next to nothing about them other than what they or their parents have told me. This sometimes leads to a ‘wow, who’d have thought that?’ moment when at some point the calm, controlled, quietly spoken driver next to me tells me they are a kickboxer or drummer. With the best will in the world, it’s just too easy to make assumptions…
Do people make them about you? How much do they really know about you, when you think about it? In the social media age, where are our ‘real’ selves, on screen or off? If on screen, what about those who don’t put much detail on the profile page? Does that mean they are no longer valid, that because all the information isn’t out there, for anyone to use to learn about them, to assess – and possibly judge – them, there is not a lot to go on, so to speak? That the subject is obviously so devoid of interesting stuff to write about themselves that they are not worth bothering with..?
Or does it just mean that the Facebook profile reader is looking at someone who prefers to keep their lives more private, feels no need to publicise the details of their daily lives, or genuinely does have nothing of note in their back catalogue to talk about..? And who’s business is it anyway??!
And what about those who document their lives in regular updates? Are they inveterate attention seekers constantly looking for peer approval in the form of likes, sharing their lives for the genuine good of those who see it, or a bit of both..? And why shouldn’t they anyway, it’s up to you whether you read it or not!
Personally speaking, after 50 odd years I still have no idea where I stand on social interaction. Or rather, I do, but it could change tomorrow / next week / in an hour. I know my behaviour at work over the years has been different, as I adopt the shy-person tactic of ‘acting’ out whichever role I’m in. It pays to be aware that this can often spill over into everyday life, which can lead to some awkward social experiences (or, as my friend put it the other day, ‘I picked up on your personality quickly because you don’t have one’. Cheers mate! Maybe not, but I was always picked as a lead in school plays 😂)
So sometimes it pays to remember that we’ve all had millions of experiences, some life altering, some not worth mentioning, but all unique to us. They are what inform our actions, feelings and thoughts. Whether someone else knows about them or not is up to us – but they are still there.
As for me, in the last 10 years I’ve swapped restless roaming for devoted single parenthood and the longest stretch of domestic certainty since teenage years. The latter doesn’t cancel out the former, or vice versa, they are both ‘me’, confusing and confused 🙂