Not shaving every day is liberating. It’s an emanci-face-tion proclamation, if you will.
That’s why for the past couple of years, I’ve chosen to forego the frustrating folly of frequently scraping my face with a razor.
Shaving was a daily practice, that to me, just felt like I was mangling my face and damaging my skin far too often. It was (in my view) an unnecessary burden. Life becomes more enjoyable when you release yourself from tedious routines that don’t serve you.
Thankfully, society is coming around and embracing some of our primal side. Beards are now socially acceptable (even preferred in some cases) and men are no longer held to the rigid standard of having to be clean-shaven at all times or ridiculed for having beard balm in their bathroom cabinet.
Think about it (a quick philosophical aside): Hair naturally grows on men’s faces, so why do we have to fight against what our body is doing on a daily basis? Why are we so afraid of the primal aspects of ourselves?
These days, I trim my beard about once every 2 weeks. But that begets the surprisingly thought-provoking question which led me to write this: Why even trim my beard at all?
Because, like most things in life, “beardness” gets to the point where the weaknesses outweigh the strengths. It’s a balance between the self-flagellation of daily shaving and the mess of completely letting everything go.
When my beard gets long enough, every morsel of food I eat gets caught in it. It also requires grooming and just becomes, well… difficult.
So when I let my beard get to a certain point, it ironically becomes as much work and headache as shaving every day.
That’s why I trim my beard every 2 weeks. 10 minutes of effort every couple weeks allows me to happily ride the balance between the skin-grating tediousness of shaving everyday and the extra work of a messy, wild beard.
That’s the balance; optimizing aspects of life while still maintaining peace of mind. It’s finding your own unique equilibrium between extremes. And it just so happens that the idea of beard trimming was the vehicle for me to drive this concept home.
As you may have guessed, this principle applies to almost any other aspect of life as well:
Cleaning – Being neurotic and OCD vs being a slob
Working out and physical activity – Couch potato vs exercise fanatic
Work – Lazy vs workaholic
Reading and the accumulation of knowledge – Over-analysis vs willful ignorance
There is a yin/yang balance to everything. Ultimately, you have to get to know yourself and figure out what your unique recipe is for what you want to get out of life.
Overall happiness in life can be viewed as a balance between extremities. On one extreme, sitting on your couch at home every day would not make for a fulfilling life for most people. But neither would something like climbing Mt. Everest every day, relentlessly subjecting yourself to extreme, harsh conditions.
With any activity, ask yourself, “At what point do the weaknesses outweigh the strengths for me?”
Remember, this point will be different for everyone.
Some more questions to help you find your own “happy medium” with anything:
– What are the extremes? Am I at one extreme?
– Does this truly make me happy?
– What would I be doing in an ideal world?
– Is what I’m doing motivated by love or fear?
– Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Find your own unique balance.
– Stevie P!