A bit of history: Started March 2002 by back-combing and minimal use of wax. Did some palm-rolling on the tips when they were about 6-months old and trimmed some loose hairs at the ends after about a year. Other than that, they've been dreading on their own for the last 4 years, with a little help weaving-in loose hairs with a crochet hook every once in a while.
Another one of Merlyn, who hasn't shown any interest in playing with my hair since he was a kitten and the dreads were new. I know one Siamese cat who thinks they're the best thing since catnip, and will come up behind me and start batting and chewing.
View from the back. The shorter-looking ones in the middle are tied back from the front. Amazing how much lighter some of the ends are from being more exposed to sunlight over the years.
"What is that thing up there?"
Just to give you an idea of length. The one with the bead is now 24 inches from the root.
I haven't really had any headaches or neck problems from the weight of my dreads, but because I have very thick hair they are a bit too heavy to put up in a (very large!) bun for more than a couple hours, which makes the summer uncomfortable. This is the reason for contemplating a trim soon. I'm a little worried about how the new tips will hold up since the ends are pretty solid right now, but we'll see. Any tips for trimming and maintaining afterward are greatly appreciated, although they'll probably just do their own thing as usual.
Edit: Thanks for all the compliments and encouragement. I'm getting together some pictures of their early dread stage, as requested, but it's gonna take a little while to track them down and scan them.