Time Is On My Side, Yes It Is. (I hope.)
I found my first grey hair yesterday morning. It’s really not a big deal, I know. A lot of people have grey hairs. And it was just one. But I stared at it for a long time, more in wonder than in horror. Where am I in life?
When I first graduated from college, something happened and I woke up one day totally consumed with getting wrinkles. I had NEVER thought about it before, and certainly never been worried about it before. And suddenly, there I was in CVS, combing the beauty aisles for a product that might stop the little crow’s feet in their tracks. I was only 22! I was just learning how to not take my body for granted!!! Don’t let me get wrinkles now!!! I bought something from Neutrogena-which somehow made me feel better about it, like it might actually be good for my skin. It burned. It was awful. I don’t even know if I made it through the whole bottle. And in the end, when I looked at my face up close (not really recommended in any situation), nothing had happened to those baby wrinkles. They were there and they were going to stay and probably get bigger and deeper and all I could do was pray for acceptance. After all, weren’t they really just reminders that I was alive? That I’d spent some glorious days in the sun? That I’d had the luxury of going to college and staring in frustration and panic at the computer screen trying to write final papers? Attitude is all in the gratitude right?
I think what was really at the heart of the wrinkle-terror was that I had just graduated from school and was out on my own, in my very first apartment, as yet unemployed, totally at the mercy of the big, bad world in a way I had never before experienced. Since those days I have indeed been diligent in taking care of my skin (probably having more to do with the aforementioned learning how to not take my body for granted than anything else) and some times when the light catches the mirror just so during make up application or I’m staying in a hotel and can’t resist that God-awful magnifying glass bathroom mirror, or someone takes a pic of me laughing reallllly hard, you can see them. But I don’t really care. I know I will just get creasier and creasier and it’s okay.
This brings me up to the grey hair. I’ve had about 7 years since graduating college to get used to the wrinkles and embrace them and celebrate the ways they remind me about my life. The grey hair is a new addition.
As I said, I’m not freaking out about this. If I go full headed grey tomorrow then so be it. But I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s like my body is not my own. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. But I swear I have a worthwhile point.
This is my last year of my twenties. I am thinking about the future a lot. I’m thinking about babies and buying a house and laying down roots. I’m thinking about my career and what I really want that to look like in the long run. I don’t even remember the exact moment that I felt it in my heart of hearts that I was meant to do music. But I’ve felt in my bones for as long as I can remember. Could I have heard wrong?
I think I have had a lot of successes in my musical journey thus far, but I haven’t accomplished everything I’ve set out to do. Far from it in fact. There is a part of me that feels like I don’t want to enter the next phase of my life until I have a little more to show for myself in that department. The grey hair is more of a reminder that being a starving artist doesn’t have the same romance that it did when I was in my early twenties. (Let’s be honest, mid to late twenties too). It has no romance to me anymore. I want to have some stability, I want to be a financially responsible partner to my boyfriend and come to the table with my ducks in a row. Am I running out of time?
I don’t really believe in that, I don’t. Everything in it’s own time, what’s meant to be will be. “To everything turn, turn, turn.” I believe that. I still get scared though. I don’t know if I ever really imagined myself growing old. I’ve imagined (daydreamed about) myself doing a lot of things; performing on stage at the Ryman, singing a duet with Patty or Lori or Amy or Emmylou, writing songs for other people, having enough money to do something really nice for my parents, being a mom, living in Kenya, and being a really great ballroom dancer (that’s more of a distant fantasy. AKA never gonna happen.) But for the former ones, I still feel young enough to dream that big. Lori McKenna had 5 kids and was in her 40’s when she got a Nashville publishing deal! Patty Griffin was 28 when she began to really pursue music and play live. I remind myself of these facts quite often-whew, age ain’t nothing but a number.
My brain often vacillates between the logical and the emotional. In the same beat I can feel totally enlightened and at ease and faithful that everything happens as it should and then also get a stressball in my stomach that I’m not working hard enough and I’m crazy for trying and I’m going to ultimately fail. Maybe that’s just the thought process of a creative person trying to make their art a business in some way, maybe that’s the woe of almost 30somethings everywhere; maybe I’m just nuts. Whatever the reason, the grey hair seemed a physical manifestation of my most recent psychological ponderings. I’m getting older. I wouldn’t turn back the clock. For as many things that freak me out, my life has never been better. I love where I live, I love my friends and family so dearly, I love my boyfriend so much, I love the kind of shows I’m getting to play and the musicians I get to hang out with. Life is good. I don’t care about getting old(er), I just want to make all those people who believed in me proud. I just want to be one of those people who never gave up.
I want to do the best with what I’m given, be brave, present and faithful. And if I really think about it, there is always enough time to work on that.