Whenever I started at any new school, one of the orientation checklist items was a tour of the library. Every time, the method the librarians would use to make sure everyone knew how to use the microfilm/microfiche was to find the front page of a newspaper from the day we were born. In my case, it wouldn't have mattered what newspaper I'd chosen, it was always the same thing: "Nixon in China." There have been stories this week about that historic trip to China, because it happened 35 years ago. It's been a reminder to me that I'm also coming up on a milestone birthday.
I love my birthday. I love being the center of attention (those who know me shouldn't be surprised), and I don't have any hangups about getting older. While still in high school I remember finding a couple of gray hairs, which I loved. I forgot about them when I dyed my hair black, so they disappeared. Nowadays, when my hairdresser finds a gray hair on my head, she'll stop mid-sentence, pull a tiny pair of scissors from her tray and snip it off at the root, whispering, "I'll just get rid of that for you..." The whispering reminds me of people who used to whisper the word "cancer" years ago.
Much of the hair on my head is now (and has been for quite awhile) artificially colored, so I'm sure I'll continue to have a majority of non-gray hair for a long time - and yet there's a part of me that is looking forward to the time when I've got a full head of long white-gray hair. When I put my hair up this morning, three days from my 35th birthday, I found three grays and just smiled. At some point, my hairdresser's clipping efforts are going to be futile.