What Having Long Hair for 3 Years Taught Me About Life

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Phase 1: The decision to grow

I remember the joke with my hair was that I only wanted to get a haircut by my hairdresser of 10 years, which was impossible now that I had moved somewhere else. So for a little while I let it grow.

Phase 2: Revealing the unseen

Following this first decision of growing my hair, I didn’t seriously think I would do it for too long. But as it kept growing, I realised I liked the curls, and people did too, and it made me look less stiff and harsh overall. I realised you never see a guy in the military with nothing more than a buzzcut, and that’s what I had had my whole life. Maybe I was stuck in the role as well, not just the haircut. Maybe it was time to outgrow this, to get creative and free-flowing.

Phase 3: Contemplating the mess

When my hair got long enough that I could grab a lock and look at it from up close, I started to wonder what to do with it. I have thick, curly, wavy, messy hair. The top of my head was starting to look like a big mushroom. By now, it was at this annoying length where it was long enough to get in my eyes at times, but too short to be tied in a bun. I started to think: “that’s it, I’m going to cut it”.

Phase 4: The cleaning

Yes, I learned that when you have a long hair, you have to take care of it. This means doing a lot of things people with short hair never do:

  • untangling
  • washing for much longer in the shower
  • dry blowing
  • treating the hair with various products

Phase 5: More growing

I don’t exactly remember at what point my hair got long enough to tie it in a bun. But from there, I let it grow as planned. Grow, grow, and grow some more. People sometimes would ask me “does it never stop growing at some point?”. I never really understood that question. At least for me, neither my hair nor my beard stops growing if I don’t do anything about it.

Phase 6: The turning point

When my hair started reaching the bottom of my back, I thought: “ok, I guess I got the lesson, we’re done”. My long hair had taught me a lot, I was thankful, and I thought it was maybe time to say goodbye and cut it. I wasn’t sure about it yet though. But then something kind of bad happened, and it accelerated everything.

Phase 7: The middle ground

As I said, I could definitely feel a difference when tying my hair in a bun. And the more I could feel that difference in touch, the more I was thinking it was time to move on. I took the decision to cut it. But I didn’t want to go back to the short, strict and intransigent buzzcut. That would be going back to the old me, to the military, and I didn’t want that.

Phase 8: Bye bye, long hair

On Wednesday 15 July, 2020, I walked into the hair salon. I showed up there 20 minutes early. I was hoping to be able to take it in, sit down and read some tabloids, while smelling all the hair products mixing together. I wasn’t able to do any of that because of corona. I couldn’t sit, and I couldn’t even smell anything since I was wearing a face mask. I stood for 20 mins, waiting in silence.

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