Upon getting out of the shower yesterday, I brushed the remaining knots out of my long hair, dried it . . . and for the first time in months, didn’t reach for the root touch-up spray in my toiletries cabinet to cover up my grays. After five months away, it was finally my day to get back in the salon chair.

I took a picture of my roots to text to my amazing stylist to jokingly warn her of the palette with which she was about to work. But as I looked at my all-natural look on my screen, I realized I was having a little bit of a moment about saying goodbye to the grays.

“That’s odd,” I thoughtknowing I had been so excited to finally get back into the self-care, me-time salon chair that is one of my favorite places to be. But odd or not, I couldn’t deny I was feeling . . . SAD. In a way, I kind of loved how we all connected over our quarantine hair.

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I loved how my kids asked if that was what my hair would look like when I’m a grandma.

I loved how some just OWNED their natural, make-up-and-hair-color-free selves.

I loved how spouses were hilariously taking their try at cutting their partner’s hair when they just couldn’t take it anymore.

I loved when I saw my dad for the first time during quarantine and felt like I got a glimpse into what he looked like in-person in his long-hair, hippie-era days.

Although something small, it was just one of the things on which we have all connected over the last several months.

But as I was driving to the salon, I knew what my heart was feeling wasn’t about hair at all.

These last few months have been some of the more challenging in my life, but along this journey of having our lives completely altered, I also found a lot of joy in the silver linings.

I loved how staying at home forced our family to slow down and find different ways to connect.

I loved how I had more meaningful conversations with friends because we weren’t just catching each other on the go.

I loved how I got to look my kids in the eyes more.

I loved how my husband and I were forced to have conversations that the “busy” always kept at bay.

I loved how we all realized just how much hugs mean to us.

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I loved having virtual game nights with my family.

I think the idea of going to get my hair doneand having a tiny sense of my old life come backtriggered that fear I’ve had all along.

Will I lose all of these silver-lining moments when signs of pre-March life come back?

Will we go back to worrying about our appearance all of the time?

Will we go back to surface-level conversations?

Will I go back to being busy and not looking my kids in the eyes enough?

Will my husband and I go back to being too tired or too busy to talk about important things?

Will we stop finding ways to creatively connect with people from college, our hometowns, or our industry circles the way we did when this whole thing started?

Will we stop having important conversations about how we treat each other?

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I thought about it the entire time my hair was in foils. But when my stylist turned my chair around and showed me the magic she workedI felt beautiful. And happy.

And on the drive home, I realized that just like I had a choice about whether or not to cover up the silver in my quarantine hair, I also get to choose whether or not those silver-lining lessons from these last couple of months get covered up, too.

I have a CHOICE about whether they become a part of the history of this time, or if I will find a way to make the lessons a part of whatever my future looks like.

Because while so much of this has been hard, some of it has been beautiful too.

So when the chair spins around and we see what we look like on the other side of this thing one dayno matter if we’re choosing to still rock our natural, gorgeous grays or we decide that playing with color makes us feel our best on the outsideI hope we ALL choose to carry the beautiful silver linings of this season inside of us and use them to make life feel beautiful too . . . whatever life might look like.

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.