November 18, 2014

You Can Do Anything


If I told you that I know a woman who travels around the world for her job, who has met several of her country's diplomats and famous musicians and even her country's president all as a result of work... what would you guess that woman does?

If you guessed that woman is a hair stylist, well, I would just eat my hat.

But I have full confidence that my hat would remain completely uneaten in this hypothetical situation because... c'mon. What would a hair stylist be doing anywhere outside a hair salon?

Well, in my hair stylist's case, she sometimes leaves her salon chair so she can do the Lithuanian president's hair for her meeting with Barack Obama.

You see, the lady who does my hair has been doing hair for over twenty years, since before she came to America from Lithuania with her five-year-old daughter, all through the time she spent living in an apartment complex with other Eastern European immigrants, through her job as a 9-5 stylist working for another salon owner, to today, where she has her own business and her own customers, including me.

Because the thing about hair is that (almost) everyone has it, including Lithuanian diplomats and famous musicians. Even the Lithuanian president has hair that needs to be done by someone with a president-worthy reputation.

Like, for example, my hair stylist.

Now, if you're a blonde, you know that a full head of highlights gives you plenty of time for some in-depth chatting. And on Saturday, as my stylist painted chemicals onto my aluminum foil-ed head, I listened as she talked about these past customers and also about her future plans.

You see, now that her daughter has graduated from college, my stylist can start "living for herself" a little bit more. Which, in this case, involves trips around the world as a "traveling stylist." In fact, she already has a place set up back in Lithuania where she plans to work part-time next year.

The whole conversation, she kept stressing the importance of a plan and maybe even more so, of legitimate passion. She has worked with people lacking both but as far as I know, none of them have met their country's president.

When it finally came time to rinse the chemicals out (leaving me some time alone in my shampooed-covered head to think), I realized how much the conversation had motivated me.

I wasn't motivated to start doing hair though; I was motivated to start believing in the doubtfully realistic, no-real-hope-for-real-world-success things that the real world has essentially scared out of me. You know, the dreams you have that you push to the side because the real world is in the way.

I'd be a fool to quit my job, move to the Rockies, and start writing a novel based on this conversation alone. (Even she kept stressing a good plan, part of which should probably involve a way to buy, you know, food.)

But I'd also be a fool to keep thinking that my "real world inappropriate" dreams should be ignored because no one ever really "makes it" doing those things.

Because you know what? Before Saturday, I didn't think anyone "made it" cutting hair, either.