The Strand Keeping Me Up At Night.
Discoveries are a good thing. Mostly. Virtually, everything we have right now as the Cosmos was discovered at one point.
We have heard wild stories on discoveries with some being utterly hilarious like the apple that fell on Sir Isaac Newton’s head in 1665, and subsequently, sparked his curiosity on why the fruit did not go upwards or sideways. This ‘lucky’ apple inspired the man to discover gravitational force. Well, it existed but Sir Isaac Newton helped package it to our understanding as the force that brings things — with energy or mass — together.
We’ve all made discoveries. Some existed before us, which does not warrant them the word ‘per se’ but we call them that anyway because the idea is very exciting. Maybe you are in class learning about genetic traits and discover that your macho friend cannot roll his tongue, something you have been doing since you can remember. While they may not be worthy ones, we pride ourselves in such small fetes majorly because not all of us can discover gravity, the worm hole, or the not-so-simple fact that the world is round.
Well, recently, my wife discovered something as she was playing with my head. The one with the medulla (She was probably looking out for a stray whitehead to pop.)
Here’s a snippet of our conversation.
Her: Uh oh! Beb, I think you have gray hair.
Me: (Alarmed) No way!
Her: Yes way. There’s a very long strand right here at the temple.
Me: (Still skeptical) Show me.
Her: Hand me your phone.
She proceeded to take an up-close photo of my left temple region and zoomed it. Standing ominously on squid-ink black strands of hairs was an out-of-place gray one. I thought I was dreaming. Never have I thought that I would see my gray hair this young.
I am not young though but I like to think of myself as that. 30 years is not young. You want to know how I found out that I am not young? No? I’ll tell you anyway.
Sometime back, a group of kids kicked their ball into my compound while they were playing. I picked it up and handed it back to one of them. As I was closing the gate, I heard one ask the kid with the ball who had given it to him. He brazenly replied that some elderly man had. That elderly man was yours truly. I am not young but I am not that old either. I should sue those kids for all they have, including those small balls they play with.
Anyway, ever since the discovery of the unwelcome strand of hair on my head, things have not been the same. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t think clearly. I lie. I can do all these things but it’s a highly disconcerting revelation.
The irony is that as I was celebrating my 30th birthday an year ago, I wrote a very long post to share on Instagram and Facebook. I read it twice and decided that it was not appropriate and deleted it instead. I felt that at 30, I ought to have achieved more. Maybe I should have more money. More wealth to show, one or two more kids, more experience or expertise in my profession and so forth.
I felt that I was unworthy of a post that long while my achievements were quite limited. Nonetheless, I promised myself that I would have a better story to tell for my 31st birthday but it appears that some man in China had other plans. Wuhan, bat/pangolin, soup, sneeze…catch the drift? Covid-19 happened.
A few days ago, I celebrated my 31st birthday. No solid achievement (among what I had envisioned). Maybe my 2020 resolutions’ outline was an overly ambitious one. I should have toned down on the dreams. Maybe I should have anticipated the pandemic but I was pretty-certain I would crush em’ goals.
Now, my graying hair makes me an old man. Ever since I saw it, I am having illusions. I have read that this hair-graying thing is caused by overthinking. At times, when I am thinking hard about a solution to a problem. I can literally feel melanin dissipate from my hair follicles. I am almost sure that the hairs around the temples are turning gray each second and I am really fighting the urge to move my work desk to the washroom where I can keep stealing sneaky glances at my temples to catch them on the act.
The anxiety made me research graying hair and I realized that I was not the only one fighting this enemy of youthfulness. I have so far determined that there is a graying-hair rule known as the 50–50–50 rule. Apparently, 50% of humans are bound to have 50% gray hair by the time they hit 50 years. What is the percentage of a single hair strand over millions you ask? I know its negligible. Don’t tell me to calm down.
More baffling demographic statistics on graying hair show that whites start the phenomenon in mid-thirties, Asians in their late thirties, while Africans begin graying hair in their mid-forties. My million-dollar question, how comes I have beat 99.99% of Africans to have graying hair at 30? Can’t it be something else worthy like running a marathon or venture capitalism.
Anyway, it’s not my intention to make my graying hair a big issue. Will Smith beat me to it. I remember when his hair started graying and the whole world went gaga about it. Ladies, specifically, couldn’t get enough of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. You don’t believe me? Google search the term ‘Sexy Gray Hair Men’ and see for yourself.
The discovery of my graying head is a major one. I can feel the pressure to be, to love, to actualize, to commit, to live, to learn, to fight, to rise, to defend, to create, to nurture, to mobilize, to feel, to laugh, to embrace, to shed, to sustain, to move, to trust, to mend, to re-assure, to ascertain, and to empathize. All in no particular order.
While I am not sure how to channel this new found energy, I know it will give. One of these days, and I shall be able to conquer all the fears and live a life where gray hairs cajole me to slumberland. So help me God.