How do you know when to tweak, when to stick it out and when to trash?

About 15 or 16 months ago I started this blog and somewhere in the tangled synaptic maze that is my melon I got a goofy idea (about all that comes out of there sometimes) to quit something every Thursday for a year.  So I did.

hair-long2I quit all sorts of practical and behavioral and thinky (these were the tough ones) sorts of things.  I stopped drinking pop and watching t.v. and I resolved to quit letting my past screw-ups affect me; among other things.  As you might imagine some of these things were easier (swearing) and some were harder (analyzing the crap out of everything).  One of them was just sort of weird:above  I vowed to quit cutting my hair for a year.  That ends today.

My long-suffering wife who absolutely love, love, loves my schizophrenic hair style swings (I started bald in January of ’17) has been given the reins regarding my hair for a year.  This in and of itself will be interesting.  She’s made the appointment today and as you’ve seen above the transformation is complete.  I’m all cleaned up and respectable and I suppose I’ll remain that way for at least the next twelve months if she has anything to say about it (and she does).  Of course, the moralist in me is looking for a lesson in this trickiest of tales about tresses gone wild; and here it is.

Regardless of what we do, regardless of why we do it, at some time during the time we’re doing it we will either have to course correct or remain committed to the plan as laid out initially.  The decision on which way to go?  Well, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet put it, “aye, there’s the rub”.  Over the course of nearly 50 resolutions on things to quit I’ve found I feel very strongly both ways and I call the question (anyone familiar with Roberts Rules may know what I’m talking about and correct me).  In any event, I’m the only one voting and unfortunately I’ve split my vote.

To attack the obvious resolution at hand (my hair), commitment was the only alternative.  Of course, as I’ve teased her multiple times, sticking to the resolution throughout the year had the side benefit of antagonizing my spouse but aside from that there was a personal opinion that predicated my decision; I’m not a big personal appearance guy.  Lest you think I’m a slob (and you may) let me explain.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always considered myself a bit of freak I’ve hung my hat on a person’s internal fitness being more important than the external appearance.  I’m a t-shirt guy but I consider myself every bit as respectable in my “Testicle Festival” t-shirt as the guy in khakis, a dress shirt and a tie.  This has presented a problem not only in my most recent hair style but also during the time I sported an ear ring in college and my folks disowned me a bit.  Their solution was more of a tweak “Just don’t wear it around home or our friends.”  It’s clear those around me have a bigger problem with this whole thing than I do as is clearly their prerogative.  It’s all about choices and I’ve never felt qualified to judge others’ choices nor form an opinion based completely on the cover of the book.  Having said that there’s nothing wrong with tweaking ones plans or direction if the situation arises.

I write often about what we learn in this old life and it would seem at least arrogant and at most idiotic to think once a course is plotted or a decision made that it is cast in stone.  Part of the Navy Seal credo is that no plan survives first contact.  Because this elite unit subscribes to this idea, multiple contingencies are planned regarding how to proceed once a mission has begun.  Perhaps we could all take a page out of their playbook and plan how we’ll correct once we launch into whatever it is we undertake.  Perhaps having a set of second steps dependent on the results of the first step would make us more comfortable and not so wedded to “the plan” as we drew it up in the clubhouse of our minds.  Surely those important endeavors involving other people directly would benefit from our flexibility which must include scrapping the whole thing.

No one wants to admit they were wrong.  No one wants to abandon their plan or their hopes or even dreams and yet sometimes, it’s best to cut our losses.  If nothing else, the past fifty or so weeks have taught me the value of quitting.  We’re all wrong once in a while.  If we’re honest we know, for some things, the juice is just never going to be worth the squeeze (if there’s ever going to be any “juice” at all).  Like tweaking, quitting is necessary and beneficial at times.  Again, knowing when to quit is the rub.  For some it’s akin to losing a limb.  For others unfortunately, it becomes a modus operandi.  It’s all in the judgment and assigning value to the desired process.

Could I have cut my hair before January?  Sure.  Was the length of it important enough to abandon the resolution?  Not by a long shot.  Even now that it’s a fraction of its former glory, I know.  It’ll always grow back.

It’s these kinds of decisions that truly make life interesting and by extension frustrating sometimes in our relationships.  I don’t know where we’d be if we didn’t allow ourselves to be amazed by the process and amused by the variables. 

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