Why Everyone Should Shave Their Head

During the summer of 2011, I shaved my head. I was in the downstairs bathroom gripping the edges of the white porcelain sink and I had this absurd thought of shaving my head. And just like that, I grabbed my dad’s clippers from upstairs and did it in a few smooth motions. My sister saw me with my new self-haircut, and she cried. She was fourteen.

Here is a picture of me in a tree donning my beautiful lime green RA polo in a tree.



Earlier this week, I had a horrifying dream. I’ll give you the SparkNotes version. A friend of mine was super excited about something, and I was super curious. Then all of a sudden, she says, “We should shave your head!!” And of course, in this dream, I replied just as enthusiastically…”Yes! Of course we should!” Now, I thought it would be one of those situations where someone invites you out to coffee, but never actually intends to follow up…we’ve all been there, right? Well, to my surprise, my friend pulls out the clippers right on the spot and I start freaking the frick out. I’m crying – sobbing, really – and fighting against her as hard as I can to not have my head shaved.

The end result? I looked something like this:


As it turns out, according to a dream dictionary, having your hair cut is a sign of success in a new venture or sphere of activity. Could this possibly apply to my upcoming interview at NYU? Let’s hope so.

My interpretation was a little different. Having my head forcibly shaved in this dream meant that it is time for a significant life change – one that I am very consciously resistant to. I know that I am ready for a change, and that it’s time for something new. But as always, transition and change bring stress and challenging times. And while I’m trying my best to be positive, I can’t deny that I have been completely stressed and a tad overwhelmed these past few weeks. Back to my dream, it’s time to cut something loose. Out with the old, in with the new.

As Regina Spektor says in this song,  “Maybe you should cut your own hair / ’cause that would be so funny / it doesn’t cost any money / and it always grow back / hair grows even after you’re dead.”

So many people I know are going through times of transition and change, and let me tell you, it is HARD. I definitely don’t want to diminish the challenges that are associated with these times. But I have some tips to potentially help with the “shaving your head” metaphor.

  1. Maybe you should cut your own hair…
    • Transition and change is difficult. But the first part is accepting it. I need to embrace the fact that by this time six months from now, my life will be 100% completely different. The first step is realizing what you have the power to control, and letting everything else just happen.
  2. …’cause that would be so funny
    • Loosen up a bit. I found myself venting to a friend earlier this week about all my stress, and she laughed out loud and said, “Michael, it’s not that big of a deal.” She even imitated me. And admittedly so, I did sound a bit whiny. We tend to make a bigger deal out of things. Laugh a little bit, it’ll be good for you.
  3. It doesn’t cost any money
    • Cutting your own hair doesn’t cost any money. Change and transition doesn’t have to cause stress. Enjoy the present moment rather than stressing about the hypothetical future that isn’t even in existence yet.
  4. It always grows back, hair grows even after you’re dead
    • You can always change your mind. If you hate your new shaved head, or if it’s a total hack job, it’ll always grow back. In time. Give it time. New perspectives usually come with time, which is never a bad thing.

Now, go shave your head.




Why I’m Done ‘Reaching for the Stars’

Recently, as in just this afternoon, I finished a book called A Piece of Cake, by Cupcake Brown. Yes, that is her real name. I would give the book two stars. Not stellar. But the one piece of knowledge that I was able to pull from this book was this quote: “My rule of thumb was to keep my eye on the long-term goal, but focus on the present.”

Well damn. If that doesn’t speak to the twentysomething experience, I don’t know what does.

I’ve written before that sometimes I feel as if this blog is a little whiny. I want a better social life, I want to be closer to my family, I want the next step. Basically, I want all these things that I feel like are not possible (at least right now) in my twentysomething experience…although several people do have these things. The point is, it is impossible to have the next step…because as soon as “the next step” is here, there is always something else to reach for. There will always be another next step.

When I read Cupcake Brown’s quote this afternoon, I really had to pause and think about it. Although most of the book was me trying to get through it as soon as possible, I really pondered the meaning behind her message on that one. In the twentysomething experience especially, I always seem to be reaching. The next best job, the next best city to live in, the next stage of my life, etc. There was a solid “college experience” that I loved. And I have a picturesque view of being a thirtysomething that involves a steady career, a partner, and maybe even a child. Although the older I become, the more I realize that planning and expecting your future to be a certain way doesn’t help much.

So what’s left is the twentysomething experience. The limbo. Where the college days have spit you out and you’re waiting and waiting for the future thirtysomethings to pick you up and invite you into their club.

I don’t want that. Not yet.

I want to plan ahead. Yes, that’s true. And I am a very futuristic person. I am always looking ahead, planning what’s next, and hopefully finding the “bigger and better” opportunity. But I wonder…what has that cost me? Because I’ve been searching for opportunities abroad, have I missed out on anything right here in New York? Because I’m always thinking about how good of a social circle I’ve had in the past or hope to have in the future, have I given up opportunities to make one in the present? I’m not sure…maybe.

I think a lot of people say “reach for the stars” as a form of encouragement. And it is. Encouraging, inspiring, but also full of empty promises. I know it’s metaphorical and all, but the stars are completely unrealistic. And completely unknown! They are beautiful little twinkling lights in the sky, but I don’t know anything about how a star is created or how it stays up in the sky.

The future is a lot like the stars. Beautiful, and nice to reach for, but also unknown and impossible to predict. That’s why I propose a new phrase. Similar to Cupcake’s, but with a twentysomething spin.

Reach for the stars, sure, as long as your feet are planted on the ground. It’s okay to look up every once in a while—it’s nice to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel—but stay focused on the present, because that’s where you are. And for the most part, that’s what matters. At least right here, in this moment. So feel free to reach for the stars, as long as you stay grounded.