Change is Everything

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I shaved my beard last night. I really liked that beard. I’ve wanted to grow a beard for some time, but always thought that my thin cheek hair and disconnected sideburns would make me look like a crusty, unkempt Chad-Kroeger-wanna-be. However, the follicle stars aligned and I wound up with desirable man-mane. I received positive comments and compliments nearly everyday, and I basically work soley in an office with Tim for a living.

Tim doesn’t care about my beard.

It took three months of not doing anything to grow that beard. Sure, I oiled it and combed it, but it would’ve been fine without any attention. The thing had a majesty that was innate; it was awesome despite me.

So why would I shave a perfectly good, arguably covetable, pheromone inducing, testosterone fueled, manhood maker?

I honestly don’t know.

I think the thing that really pushed me over the top to do it was that I started getting comfortable. I started feeling comfortable with my newly found masculine mask. Not that I felt like I was hiding, but I get these itches. Itches to get in my car and drive until the tank runs dry. Itches to pack a duffle and burn my responsibilities to the ground. Itches to climb and subsequently jump off of tall structures. You get the idea.

“I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save it’s species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I’d never see. I wanted to breathe smoke.”

Not that I wanted to destroy something beautiful, it’s just that growing this beard started out as an itch. I went for it. Growing facial hair is pretty low bar commitment anyway; if things go south, the ejector seat is just one trimmer away. Growing the beard started out as an itch, and once I scratched it (aka achieved those luxurious face locks), I became comfortable. I know this is a thin analogy, an easy goal; but it taught me something that I value about myself.


Comfort = Death


Or as my friend Chris Oatley would say, “Stasis equals death.” It would be hypocritical for me to say that I apply this with such prejudice in the rest of my life (I still have a wife, and a bed, and friends; all of which I love), but I value progress, and comfort is the siren that lulls us into complacency.

I don’t want to be the person I was last year. I don’t want to be the person I was yesterday. I may struggle through bouts of anger and depression, but I’m concerned with the trajectory of my life over the individual decisions.

“every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature…”

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but I think that pursuit of change, whether it’s progress or not, will propel us towards better things. If we change for the better, we quickly find out that what we have now chosen is, in fact, a better way. If we choose something worse, we find out that our choice sucked and what we had before, or at least something like what we had before, was the better way.

In the end, whether or not I regrow my beard is a matter of preference, there is no right and wrong. But if I do not change/question/challenge my beliefs, relationships, career, goals, etc.; I will never be forced to make those choices which ultimately turn me into the person I want to be.

Change, my friends, is everything.

-Joel

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4 Comments
  1. Michelle 2 years ago

    ‘Twas a nice beard, you should grow it back, longer next time perhaps …. change is good, but I think it’s also good to not overthink about trivialities. May God continue to bless you and your business with a charitable, loving heart, those are attributes you definitely do not want to change.

    • Profile photo of Joel Beebe Author
      Joel Beebe 2 years ago

      I totally agree that trivialities are not the place to start overthinking. Decision fatigue is real, and I think routine can be highly beneficial. Steve jobs wore the same outfit all the time so that he wouldn’t have to spend any brain power on that decision. I think what’s worth thinking about is “what are the places in my life that bring me comfort?” in addition to “What am I most afraid of?” I think if you can challenge the areas of your life that bring comfort, you might find an expanded world of possibilities beyond it. If you can step into your fears, you might find acceptance and love beyond them.

      On the other hand, maybe it is good to overthink trivialities. If you’ve never tried a certain type of food, how can you know if you like it? If you’ve never listened to a certain band, how can you rule it out? If you’ve never taken a different way to work, how can you be sure that it’s not faster or more scenic, or just more enjoyable for intangible reasons? Maybe what I’m petitioning for is not “overthinking,” but exploration. Question everything. If it’s true, really true, it’ll prove itself. If it’s false, why keep going on with that belief or mode of operation?

  2. Maureen Kelly 1 year ago

    Great article Joel. You’re right, most people are afraid to change and they are satisfied with the same thing over and over every day. I know because I used to be that way when I had my job in corporate America and was raising my son. Then I realized I wasn’t growing, that’s when I started my own business and quit my job. I’m finally living more fulfilled. Change is growth and growth is a whole new level of awareness I have about the world. Change is like a rubber band – once you’re stretched, you’re using your potential and you’re never the same. Growth is addicting and only scary until you do it. Then it’s wonderful and continual.

    You look great with or without the beard. The point is, you’re willing to pull yourself out of a comfort zone in order to realize what you like and make choices that matter to you. Becoming a stronger person inside is what life is fueled by, so we can be stronger people for others. You can’t give what you don’t have so Keep testing your strength and growing. Kudos. Love the article.

    • Profile photo of Joel Beebe Author
      Joel Beebe 1 year ago

      Thanks Maureen! What’s your business?

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