Change is one of the inevitabilities of life, and how we deal with it defines how we live it.
I realized what this meant in my sophomore year of high school.
It’s 7 a.m., bright and early. A regular dreadful start to another fall day. I drag myself out of bed, “excited” to go to school and participate in today’s cross country meet. I brush my teeth, comb my hair, and throw on my favorite bright orange hoodie and neon orange shoes.
Back then, things were simple; I didn’t care about appearances. I could look however and wear whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted. I even used to get the same exact 10-minute haircut from my dad every month.
Little did I know things would change at that cross country meet. I would make one of the best and worst decisions of my life.
The revelation happened after the race ended. As my teammates finished up and we congratulated each other on our performances, I noticed that one of the runners on our rival team had a new haircut — and a really cool one at that.
“Wow, that would look really good on me,” I thought to myself. “I’m getting that haircut when I go home today.”
And sure enough, I did. It even looked good, and I got compliments from numerous people who liked the change in my style.
Those sweet comments were the forbidden fruit that I had tasted, which caused me to nitpick my entire appearance: my clothes, my shoes, my hair.
But then, in my senior year of high school, the details that once made me happy became my worst enemy.
I noticed my hairline starting to recede.
It started as only half a centimeter, but as I got older and the months passed, I noticed my hairline went further and further back. I got so worried. I even stopped washing my hair for a few months because I was afraid of my hair falling out.
Unfortunately, this is the sad reality for many young men. Up to 16 percent of men aged 18-29 will experience moderate to severe male pattern baldness, while at least one quarter will experience some type of balding by 21.
How are men to face this inevitability of nature when society places such pressure on a male’s hairline?
Even “the king” Lebron James, notably one of the best basketball players of all time, gets the short end of the stick being subject to “bad hairline memes.”
At least he has the extra $5,000–15,000 it costs to perform a good hair transplant.
I, and many men alike, aren’t always fortunate to have that type of money to spend on cosmetics and have to find more practical solutions to deal with baldness.
That said, what are we to do to face this change that almost all of us experience?
Some men choose to take prescription drugs like finasteride, which has significant side effects such as “impotence” or “loss of interest in sex,” some completely shave their head, and some leave their hair as it is or get short haircuts to mitigate the distinct appearance of male pattern baldness.
My hairline has receded about an inch now, and not a day passes where I don’t wish I had my full head of hair back. As a result, I cover it up with a hat in order to temporarily fix this insecurity.
Sometimes, I spend close to an hour fixing my hair only to end up putting a hat on. At least I know I look good in a hat.
My friends say they only ever see me in a hat. Baldness or other insecurities end up controlling our lives in negative ways.
Like I said, change can be for better or for worse, or in my situation, for both.
Looking back on when I changed my mindset, I realize that if it didn’t happen then, it probably would’ve happened eventually.
We all have a choice in how we live our lives, and we can do it being carefree and happy despite our (sometimes less than ideal) circumstances, or be consumed by its plight.
Tomorrow, I won’t wear a hat. What will you do?