I found my first gray hair at age 21, but unlike my mother and the entire Italian side of my family, I chose to not color my hair. I’d had fun-colored hair in college (when I was at an age where I got away with it easily) but didn’t like the constant upkeep. When I met my husband, he was 29 and half gray already (I was 22), and he always encouraged me to just let my hair do its thing — he thought it was kind of cool that my hair was always changing as I got more and more gray. His perspective helped me to have a great attitude about it when my hairdresser aunt would do that thing all beautician relatives do — when they rearrange your hair because they apparently don’t think you’ve done it well enough, and then talk about how they wish you’d just let them “do something” about the color. (That aunt is now in her late seventies and still has fire-red hair from a bottle, by the way.)
There’s a freedom in looking one’s age, and there shouldn’t be any shame in it. I think people who are willing to embrace that tend to be more secure in who they are. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. It simply means we like ourselves. Our real selves.