howth head ireland boy looking at irish sea on the happy list

When Life Gives You a Dose of Perspective

I had a million things on my mind and a hot latte in my hand when I recently plopped down into the chair at my hair salon to discuss the all-important topic of my unruly hair.

My stylist, John, only asks me how my hair has behaved since my last haircut as a matter of politeness. We both know he’s going to take my feedback with a grain of salt and cut my hair the way he see fit. We both also know that no matter what he does, at some point in-between haircuts I’m going to get the scissors out and trim any hairs that are misbehaving.

It’s our routine and it works for us, but I’m really not a fan of going to the hair salon. Yes, I enjoy the chit-chat. Yes, I love the head massage. Yes, I need help managing this head of hair. But, really…it just takes so. much. time.

You can see why…

So, mid-conversation about the all-important topic of my hair and how I want it a little shorter, but I don’t want my ears to show – in walks a girl.

She’s in her 20s with dark hair. It’s super short on one side and flipped over long on the other. She has a cool, edgy vibe about her. She asks if they have any walk-in appointments available.

Then she says, “I just need a quick appointment. I have cancer and want my head shaved because my hair is falling out.”

Well, crud.

I did not see that one coming.

Those million things on my mind and my mop of wild hair? Yeah…they aren’t really a big deal compared to asking a stranger to shave your head because your cancer treatment is making your hair fall out.

Did I mention she was in her 20s?

The stylist ended up not shaving her head this time because the bald spots weren’t super bad yet. Instead, she cut the girl’s hair really short. One side was short anyway, so this was a gradual take on the situation. One that might ease her into her new look.

I was trying to think of something to say when another customer walked by and said to her, “You look like Demi Moore in that movie G.I. Jane – so badass!”

And she did.

She looked like she could take on the world. And cancer. All before lunch.

The million things on my mind…it’s not that they weren’t real or important to me.

They were. They are. And that’s normal.

But I need to put them into perspective. Especially the trivial things.

The entire situation made me think about the characteristics of beauty, which one might expect to see in a hair salon. Or, at least, coming out of a hair salon. But what I witnessed that day transcended physical beauty.

I saw a hair stylist treat her client with compassion and respect, not pity.

I saw a woman offer just the right words of encouragement at just the right time to a fellow human being she would probably never see again.

I saw a young woman with a potentially life-threatening obstacle in her path dealing with it on her own terms with grace, courage and confidence.

I watched a beautiful moment unfold out of a tragic situation.

I don’t have all the facts and I certainly don’t know how that young woman’s story will end. Yet, I’m confident if more people routinely acted like those three people in the salon our world would be a more beautiful place.

I walked in the salon for a trim and I came out with not only a haircut, but with a renewed sense of hope in humanity.

Life gave me a dose of perspective that day.

And you know what? It didn’t cost me anything extra.

I’m so happy I was there to receive it and I know I have an opportunity every single day to act on it.

Thanks for sharing part of your day with me. I appreciate it. If you’re new here, you might enjoy one of these posts too.

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