Apparently, my hair is my life. Believe me, I am as surprised by this fact of vanity as anyone. Had you checked with me about my philosophy of life a mere ten days prior, I can assure you that my hair would not have made the cut for my Top Ten Important Things.

Sure, I’ve had the typical number of issues with my hair over the years, but since I’ve always had plenty of it, I had options. That is until that day when I got a bad haircut.

I could go into long and agonizing detail, but suffice it to say I went in with a full head of hair and came out five pounds lighter. Let’s just say that Mr. Salon Owner (not exactly your Edward Scissorhands) thinned me out—a technique only fitness trainers should attempt.

To say I was beside myself is to make a gross understatement. I cried. No, I wailed. I shampooed, conditioned, blow-dried and styled. But to no avail. What hair remained was thin and stringy—a situation without possibility of repair. I didn’t need extensions, I needed a miracle. Only time could heal my broken heart. Not even my husband’s choice words of compassion (“It doesn’t look any different to me …”) could console me.

A year. That’s how long it would take for all the short layers to grow out to a respectable length. In fact, I told my dearest friends to mark the date on their calendars. I would not be fully happy again until a year from that Friday.

Over the following few days, something remarkable took place. Being jerked from my haircare rut forced me to learn some new techniques. I tried a new hair product (can you say “volumizing?”), I perfected a new styling technique. I chose to see this situation through new eyes. I got a new attitude. I decided I could choose to be miserable, or I could grow up. Believe me, the words shallow and self-absorbed crossed my mind and not in a welcoming way.

Everything is going to be okay, became my new mantra. In fact, ten days does make quite a difference not only in hair but in all kinds of life surprises. Time does heal, and attitude changes can make all the difference.

What I was sure would take a year to placate required less than a month. Perhaps even a couple of weeks. I have to admit that the new feeling of “lightness” was not all bad. I didn’t have a single headache for days on end; my hair dried in half the time and I saved a fortune in shampoo.

I’m determined to not forget the lesson of my bad haircut. Any initial jolt in life whether financial, physical, relational or spiritual—can hit us in such a way as to completely skew our vision. It’s difficult to see the big picture because we are too close to the event. But choosing to step back to see the situation in a better light and from a different perspective can do wonders. What appears to be hopeless one day, isn’t quite so bad the next and can even help us to grow and be better after a little time has passed.

Of course a great can of hairspray can’t hurt.

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