Yesterday I had my first haircut in 24 years.
Since 1990 I have kept my hair in a braid that was probably 18 inches long, for all kinds of reasons. Yesterday, for all kinds of reasons, it was time for that braid to come off.
It’s been a bit of a conversation on my facebook page and folks here on Bowen Island are starting to get a look at my new head. News travels fast in small communities.
And commonly I am asked, does it feel lighter? And surprisingly, the answer is no.
Because when you chop off your hair that you have grown for 24 years, you do a lot of work before hand, and I would say close to three years of work went into this decision. It involved me asking myself some fundamental questions about who I am and where I am and what matters to me and how I choose to present my identity in the world. It was not an easy decision, and it took me all that time to think about it and work with it from many different angles.
But I didn’t engage in that work so that I could chop off my hair. I engaged in it because that is what we do as middle aged men in this culture. In your mid forties (I am 46) you have enough distance from both your past and projected future to think about what’s up. Questions of identity and meaning, both personal and professional present themselves. If you have a good practice and good and supportive friends, crossing this thresh hold is made easier. It has largely been easy so far, with no major crises other than some occasional dark and sad times.
So the truth is that much has already been chopped away in my life over the last three years, but nearly none of it has resulted in a change to my outward appearance. Cutting my hair yesterday was not the act that shed a lot of stuff, it was an act born of a new lightness. A little tender, but stable enough that it felt right to cut my hair.
Someone asked me why I chose yesterday to do this. My reply was that, because January 27, 2015 was the day I was ready to do it.
Shortly you will see another shift born of this lightness. My website is being totally redesigned as well. Same great resources, same old blog. Fancy new wrapper. Coming soon.