Monday, August 29, 2016

What else is Gray and really Matters?

One final thought on "Gray Matter Matters":

Gray Hair Matters!

It just occured to me that there's another criterion that is used societally to carve the public in to distinct groups and create often unfair barriers between people. It is perhaps more spatially temporally relevant than skin hue or ethnic background, but nonetheless quality that is abused for the sake of the convenient categorization of people.

That is age!

Have you ever been discriminated against because of your age? Do you yourself have a negative view of aging, your own aging or that of others? Do you dye your hair to hide the gray?

Personally, I'd love to "dye and deny" my graying hair, but alas the Code of Jewish Law (Yoreh De'ah 182:6) prohibits Jewish males from doing so, so I'm stuck with it. And let me tell you, it isn't getting any less gray...

A close friend was visiting recently and asked my kids: "What's black and white, and red all over?" My kids didn't know.

"A newspaper!" he exclaimed.

My kids were trying to be polite and pretended to laugh, but I realized at the time that they had no clue what a newspaper was, or what the aliteration (red-read) meant! Their parents get news from the computer, smartphone and an occasional colorful magazine. What in the world is a newspaper?

After a few awkward moments, my daughter challenged our friend with a riddle of her own:

"What is black and white and gray all over?"

Our friend had no idea. "I give up. What?"

"My father!" she exclaimed, and everyone broke out in howls of laughter, everyone except for me, that is.

Well, after this Gray Matter Matters epiphany, it just occured to me that graying hair is nothing to be ashamed of! Gray may well be the greatest color of all! It's the color of the mind.

So it goes like this. Gray Matter Matters. And the older you get, the wiser you get, and the more your hair reflects the color of your wisening gray matter. So the more you matter!

Get it? If Gray Matter Matters, then gray hair matters most.

Your age and your life experiences ought to be celebrated as your greatest asset. If you are an "older" employee, you ought to be the most valued at work, the most respected and appreciated, etc.

Maybe that's why the Torah enjoins us to "Rise before the hoary head and show respect to the elderly." (Vayikra 19:32)

Maybe there's value in that graying hair of yours. Hold that hoary head high and be proud of your hoariness!

Disregard the gloomy figurative connotation of gray. Gray is beautiful! Gray is Grayt! Be Grayteful that you're Gray, because Grayness is Greatness! Wear it like a badge of pride. The valuable and priceless wisdom that comes with your life experiences.

Gray doesn't mean you're old or outdated. "Old" is another subjective or relative term that has no absolute meaning. "Old" and "young" are states of mind. In a temporal sense, being of advanced age means you're rich in life, rich in experience, rich in love, awe and maturity. It means you're seasoned and well-oiled. Like aged wine, your inherent value only increases with every gray hair on that beautiful head of yours, because it's filled with ever-youthful gray matter!

Instead of viewing old age like a liability, we ought to cherish it as a prized asset.

"Oldness" has the negative assocation of being passe or no longer relevant (i.e. the "milk is old," etc.), so we can refer to age as maturity.

That's right. Maturity Matters!

No comments: