Hair salons were closed. This is what a year of growth literally looks like, but in hair.

The pandemic anniversary is here and boy, was it a year of growth. Literal growth. As businesses closed, I recognized how important hair dressers are.

Pre-pandemic photo: My friend Wayne and I with short hair

Most people only know me as someone with short hair. Now, the pandemic has birthed a new me: one that obviously embraced a love for tie-dye sweatpants and Zoom meetings. But aside from these choices, the one choice I didn’t really have was growing out my hair. I went through the awkward length phase and now it is to a point where I can put it up in a ponytail. By the way, is it weird sporting a ponytail? Are ponytails even hip anymore? (Gen Z, help a Millennial out, because I’m just finding out side parts aren’t in anymore?!)

My friend Wayne with his year long hair growth!

But I know I am not the only one experiencing these literal growing pains. For a whole year, my friend Wayne Lee took on a similar hair journey. Wayne shared, “I normally get a haircut once a month and my last haircut was on February 11, 2020 and the lockdown started around mid-March. At first, growing out my hair started off due to the pandemic then became a choice. I decided to continue to grow it out for two reasons: to be safe and to continue to social distancing and because I have never done so before.”

"One important thing that the pandemic has taught me is patience with the things we cannot control and appreciating what we have."

Similarly, I haven’t had a haircut for about a year. If Wayne wasn’t more than a foot taller than me, we probably would look like the same people from the back! Because of this, we have shared similar frustrations of what it is like to have longer hair. “I learned that long hair maintenance is a pain and time consuming," Wayne said.

We shared similar negative feelings toward the longer showers, additional shampoo, and tired arms from longer blowdrying times that longer hair required. “I'm used to washing my hair every day due to it getting oily throughout the day, so that habit continued with the long hair," Wayne said. "I started to blow dry my hair for the first time in my life as it was giving me headaches if I left it wet for too long. My hair maintenance went from five minutes to twenty minutes daily as it continued to grow.”

Now taking styling tips for all this hair that I don't know what to do with.

But besides the hair woes, Wayne and I shared the experience of making space for more enjoyable things. Wayne shared, “I started to expand my culinary experience and attempt new recipes I didn't normally have time to try before. I also started to learn more about investments and how I can continue to build my net worth. And finally, I started playing A LOT of video games to keep me busy.” As for me, I have made more time to do the things such as crafting, baking, and relaxing.

Shortbread cookies that I have been baking in the pandemic.

One important thing that the pandemic has taught me is patience with the things we cannot control and appreciating what we have, even if it's as something as superficial as not being in control of when I can getting a haircut or being in quarantine. I'm looking forward to a fresh new cut and seeing my friends safely.

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