FIRE Station Fun – Turning Back The Gray


We had a neighborhood Christmas party last week and somehow the conversation turned to the color of my hair. At age 50, it is hanging in there pretty well – hardly any gray right now – and has become an interesting microcosm of my early retirement so far.

I’ve read that most people’s hair turns gray 10-20% for each five years after they turn 25 years old.  I got my first single gray hair on 7/16/1996 when I was 30 years, 3 months and 2 days old. I know the date exactly because I was at a baseball game with my wife and she noticed it. I wrote it down on the ticket stub. Even then, I had friends who had asked how it was that I didn’t have any gray hair.

Jump forward 20 years and a couple people at the party this past weekend asked my wife if I dyed my hair. The answer is no. I did it once about 4 years ago at my wife’s prompting – when I started getting the gray in the temples ‘Mitt Romney look’ – but I thought it looked absolutely terrible. I have never done it since. What I have is 100% natural ‘me’ and I think I will leave it that way. Say what you will about gender expectations, but I think gray looks better on most men than dying their hair.

What’s interesting is that my hair has become noticeably LESS GRAY than it was a year ago. Sort of amazingly so. I really attribute it to having less stress and more freedom in my life since I retired. While they say that adjusting to retirement has it’s share of stress (which I wrote about in this post), I would say that I feel like I have adjusted pretty smoothly. I’m also eating and exercising a bit better, so that could be a contributor too.  (Smoking, by the way, is reported to be a major accelerator of gray hair).

While I don’t think my luck with my hair will continue for much longer (since I’m 50), it is nice to be ‘ahead of the game’ for a little while. It’s an unexpected benefit of retiring early and a real commentary on the stress we literally carry around on our heads when we are working.  What physiological signals of your work burdens do you think you carry with you? What happened/will happen when you retire?

Image Credit:

8 thoughts on “FIRE Station Fun – Turning Back The Gray

  1. My first gray? Age 26. First year of residency. Fifteen years later, I’ve got a little Salt & Pepa going on the sides, but not bad. BUT, definitely thinning on top, and more noticeable the last 2 to 3 years.

    If that trend would reverse in retirement, that would be pretty cool, I guess. I haven’t cared enough to do anything but let nature take it’s course, but I’d just as soon not go bald.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it’s significantly reduced it for now, but I don’t know if that’s a 6-12 month advantage, or how long. We’ll see.


  2. By the way, I got my first grey hair shortly after turning 18. I’ve found them off and on in the 8 years since, although I’ve noticed them a lot more since I started working and then even more after I started the process to buy my house :/ Fortunately I have a LOT of thick, dark hair so they’re not readily visible.


  3. I’m only reading this now (lost track of you – but hey, the upside is that I now have a nice stack of yummy blogposts to “bingeread!”). As someone working in a healthcare environment who measures a lot of blood pressures every day, I can tell you that I’ve met several people who had a significantly lower blood pressure after retiring. Even a few that were on blood pressure medication before retirement and could stop that or lower their dose. Others didn’t have medication but just got from “borderline healthy” to “rejuvenated” levels because of their lower stress levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear from you again! (It is hard to keep up with everything isn’t it?). Yes, it is amazing what a physiological toll stress takes – even without knowing it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s