Yesterday I hopped on the Internet, prowling for the courage to trim my own hair. Recently I went from long, to a medium – bob style. This brought me to the reality of Upkeep – now without visits to the salon. So on YouTube I scrolled videos from a cheerful community of women and men offering ideas and encouragement. I settled on one ‘Tuber in particular. She had a bob, like me. Hers was deep fuchsia. Which looked good on her. But what grabbed me more than her cut and eye-popping color was her Intro: fierce courage and confidence. She proudly told Viewers her philosophy about her hair: change is good. “Maybe I should be scared about messing-up my hair, but I’m not!”. The proof? With lightening speed this girl began to “stack” the back of her hair; mirror in one hand, shears in the other. She was reinventing her look and, at the same time, encouraging me to believe that I could do the same. After my stacking lesson I began thinking: how does changing ourselves in what feels like radical ways ‘play out’ in real-time, in our daily lives? How often do we have the courage to act, when our inner guidance tells us it’s time for a re-boot or refresh?
Awhile back, I read an interview with a famous singer’s agent. This mega-star is now in her 60’s and still (or will be, post-Virus) touring the world, putting on shows that are always fresh to her adoring fans. Asked about the secret of her success (beyond a powerful voice and good writers), the agent said, “ ——– is always reinventing herself!” This concept has stuck in my head for a long time. In fact, it’s become a kind of mantra for me. Of course, I don’t (and never will) feel the pressure of a celebrity’s need to stay in the public’s consciousness. Nevertheless, I do feel the strong need to stay ‘relevant’ to myself. What does that mean, and how do I do it?
As a little kid, I had a rep in my family as a risk-taker. It wasn’t that I was fearless about things; I just didn’t think about feeling afraid until I had an actual reason to. Jumping off our roof with a pair of homemade wings (age 7) was a bad idea. But deciding to hitchhike down California’s coast at age 20 was amazing; as was skydiving in my 30’s; as was starting a doctoral program in my 60’s. I’ve never told myself that I can’t, or shouldn’t, try something that my heart really wanted to do. Which isn’t the case for a lot of people, I know. And those of us who do things that seem off-the-wall sometimes cause others to question our sanity.
Making changes – to our appearance, in what we’re doing with our lives, or, in our relationships with others — can feel risky. And all risk –a highly-individualized metric – has to be calculated. But over the years I’ve discovered a few very important (for me, anyway), truths. The first is that Change is Inevitable. It happens with, or without my consent. The second truth is that, 100% of the time, change equates with growth. I’m either being forced to change, or I feel a desire for change. Either way, I’m becoming – today – Version 2.0 of Who I Am. I have to embrace and even love this fact, because it’s pretty much the essence of Life.
Reinventing myself doesn’t require anyone’s blessing or permission. It can be a single small act – like a new hairstyle; or, a complex and deeply personal process — the decision to finally release old hurts and disappointments, opening myself to new people and opportunities. A new style, practice, belief, or attitude that feels right may earn surprise and skepticism from others. It also might turn out to be the inspiration and courage someone else needs to reinvent themselves. And by the way, my hair trim came out really well. https://youtu.be/3foXDoBng9s