Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 85: To Cut the Hair or Not to Cut the Hair - How Money Drives Decison-Making

I have this thing with my hair since I was very little, that I've always wanted to let it grow until it reaches my butt - lol. And so far, I haven't managed to ever let it grow that long. This desire actually originates from when I was small and I was walking with my grandmother in her village in Spain, we were walking to the shop. And a few meters away from us another girl was walking with her mother or grandmother and she had really long hair, reaching all the way to her bottom. And in that moment, I thought: I want to have long hair like that! And it's with that singular thought that I made this decision that I had to get my hair to grow that long.

So - regardless of whether it's practical to let my hair grown that long - I'd like to write here about why I never managed to let it grow - or, in other words, why I always ended up cutting it. And the point I realised that always led me to go to the hairdresser or just grab a pair of scissors myself, is the point of impatience. So, I listened to the Life Review of 'My Life of Impatience' to get some further perspective to be able to open up the point here.

What I'd always experience as my hair started getting longer is an experience of anxiety that would get more and more intense and more and more prominent. I'd then start noticing all the girls/women in movies or on the street that have short hair and how it would suit them so well. And from there, I'd think that I wanted to have the same and that it would probably suit me too and that I was just wasting my time with trying to let it grow, because letting my hair grow takes a lot of time and instead of spending that time letting my hair grow where it always kind of stays and looks the same - I could be having these short haircuts that look so cool! And eventually, after enough anxiety built up and I'd played around with imagining having different styles of short haircuts, I'd eventually decide on one style and just cut it all. And after it was cut, I'd feel 'relieved', like the anxiety just dissipated and I felt more at peace.

But not for very long... because before I knew it, the opposite started happening. Where I'd start noticing all these girls/women with long hair and how it looks good on them and how much they can do with long hair in terms of how they wear the long hair, whereas with the short hair, I could only just let it hang and tuck it behind my ears. And then I'd become anxious again and thinking that long hair would suit me better and that I should be letting it grow an that I've now wasted again so much time with cutting my hair, because if I hadn't cut it, my hair would've been longer by now and I would've almost been able to do whatever I wanted with my hair - and then, I'd go back to wanting to let it grow.

So - the impatience is actually an experience of anxiety - and the anxiety is specifically related to 'wasting' or 'losing' time. It's like, whenever I make one decision, I'm afraid of missing out on something else. In economics there is a term called 'opportunity cost' which refers to the next best alternative that you give up by making a choice. In economics they work with monetary terms, but within this particular point, I'm working with time. Because - I only have so much time that I'm alive and with that time, I have to decide, what I will 'spend' this time on - in terms of what experiences I would like to see realised in my life. And the cost of letting my hair grow till it reaches my butt has just always seemed as a very 'expensive' experience to try to attain - because I would have to 'spend' a lot of time to growing my hair, and while I dedicate my time to doing that, I can't play around with short haircuts.

And, it's funny, because if you look at it - it wouldn't take that much time to let my hair grown that long, if you compare it to a lifetime, but as I 'invest' more and more time in it and don't see immediate results, I become uncertain about my investment and wonder if my time would not be better 'spent' somewhere else.

In a world where Time is Money, we've relinquished on our ability to be patient - because we constantly feel that we're missing out on something, that we're losing time, that we're losing money. And within that we no longer consider what it actually is that we would like to experience and do, regardless of how much time it takes, but instead - we settle for things that take less time and that give us a greater range of experiences, not because the experiences we settle for are what we actually would enjoy experiencing, but just because we feel like we're wasting less time doing it - getting 'more' for our time spent. It's fascinating, because I never saw for myself how every decision we make - even the silliest ones about what haircut to have - are based on economic principles that we've been brainwashed to accept as part of our way of thinking. And then we end up having these seemingly random experiences of anxiety building up, where we don't understand where it comes from, but just try to 'deal with' in a quick-fix manner by simply acting on it. It's quite sad, really - that our existence has been reduced to living as constant fear of loss. I mean - how can we say that we've lived if this is how we live our lives, if this is how we make decisions? And every single decision always either involves money or time - or both - so, nothing of our life is free - because our very choices and decisions are based within compromise and fear.
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