On Over-Grown Hair, Growing Old and Living Forward

It's spring, it's raining, the greens are growing and I feel brand new. Well, my hair is. I chopped them off.

I had grown tired of my long, wavy mane after I had to fight with it every time I take a bath. It clutched and it clung at me like sea anemones. Also, the baby often tugs at the little that is left of it when she feels like riding a horsey. Most of my hair is in a habit of doing a free-fall. It is everywhere. I got so tired of it one evening that I took one of the kids' scissors and cut it myself.

But this kind of thing called hair just keeps growing if you happen to notice at all. Mine did and by the time I grew so frustrated, it had grown again resembling the appearance of a broom, but bushier and gristly. So they had to go.

I went to a hair shop. Or so it said in Russian in front of the place. But after a few weird stares of the people who were there as I walked around trying to find the one who mans the counter, I figured out that it was a man's world. A barbershop. Feeling like the village idiot, I exited.

Next, I saw beautiful pictures of women getting some beauty treatment, from massage to some hair dyeing or designing, at another place I surmised must be a beauty salon. I walked in. I found myself in a posh spa and beauty salon, with gleaming modern decors and fragrant smell. I seldom find myself in such places as I'm not often comfortable in such surroundings, but I badly needed a haircut so I walked on. A cleaning lady stopped me by saying something I couldn't quite understand but idiotically nodded to, and for which she pointed to the direction of the door. Even cleaning women know I don't belong there. I turned back in the way I went with my head hung in embarrassment and my tail tucked between my legs, if I got one, when I heard someone speak to me in English, "May I help you, ma'am?" In English! Hallelujah!

Before me was a sleek lady dressed for business. I was so excited at having been spoken to, in a language I could understand and respond in ease, that I spoke rapidly telling her about looking-for -a-place-where-they-cut-hair and about me-needing-a-haircut-badly. I knew I was babbling but couldn't stop it. Then she put me back in place when she asked, "Can you please say it again?" This time I did with just two words. I mean, one--- haircut.

Sadly, though, the place was too posh that they couldn't be bothered with cleaning after cut hair. They do other things but that. So I walked home with the same broom of a hair. That night, as my people slept, the scissors snipped away as I cut my overgrown hair with a triumphant expression on my face.

I tied my hair at first after I had cut it, but now that I'm used to seeing my face with it. They seem to go along well together. My hair in it's choppy style and my face which had grown quite old in the past few months.

* * * * *

Ha! This business of growing old is tough. One moment I look like any teenager and the next I am anything but that. Gone is the fresh face. In its place, instead, is a wiser and older version-- with red-veined eyes from the lack of sleep, looser skin from all the emotional facial exercise, wrinkles here and there to show an active life (if only in the face), and facial hair that grows without end. I am fervently hoping they are all signs of maturity and wisdom.

I may not be looking like a teenager, but this process of growing old is much like it. There's the surprise of finding you are not in a familiar territory and you are on a different terrain--- much like finding hair growing in your armpits. But this time, you find yourself in a place that's calmer, saner and, you have to admit it, much boring, until you find out there's more to it. It becomes reflective. You find yourself choosing to stay home napping or doing (of all things!) chores than going out to mingle, bump and talk. Because the talk part sometimes takes effort, especially when the topic of babies and their toilet habits is not included. Also, wall climbing and cliff jumping are not that attractive anymore compared to an afternoon nap or (horrors!) onions and garlic growing freely in your backyard!

I am very reluctant to admit that older also means quiet--- quieter social life--- which means the increasing likelihood of talking more to yourself and your shadow rather than to real people. But when the only companions that you have are little midgets that are like ricocheting balls, then, maybe it's no wonder quiet is more preferred.

But isn't it true that real growth happens in the quiet? Because it is where our experiences and emotions are being processed? See? Wisdom. (Haha!) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).  Having more quiet time gives us many opportunities to sit at Jesus' feet and learn the wisdom of heaven. Paradoxically, I seem to still be in a phase where I am waiting to grow up as opposed to growing old. I have a feeling I just had my adolescence and still have a lot to learn. And even if menopause is just around the corner, who can stop me from growing?

* * * * *

There are many who can do that. I mean, stop us from growing. For one, there are prickly sea urchins in this beach of a life. One moment you're having the best time of your life, and the next, somebody is trying to prick your bubble of joy.

They are those whose only goal is to ruin your day and, when you allow them and they succeed, even your life. Flee from them and leave them to eat the dust you leave behind. (Okay, that is, if you are some sort of vehicle. I often walk so it's quite normal for me to eat dust that some car has left behind.) Don't waste a single minute on why they exist because, you may be older, but you're no God. Leave them to Him. He created them and He only knows why they exist. Don't bother yourself. Live forward. Don't let the past, hatred, jealousy and mischief drag you behind. You were made to live without chains. To move only forward. To do that is to allow God to unchain you from unforgiveness.

Plead with Him to help you forgive. You'll be amazed at what He can do for you. You'll feel like a different person, because you ARE a better person. Gone is the sour expression on your face that comes from toxic emotions kept like they're treasure instead of poison. Your heart is lighter. You are free. You can forgive as you are forgiven.

Then, take a step. Everyday is new and should be lived to its fullest potential. Choose love. Choose growth. Just like spring, and the green grasses, and new hair. Don't be afraid to grow old. There's wisdom there. Live forward.

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

(Psalm 90:12, 16-17)

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