He- “It was last year.”
Me- “No, last year, I had the pixie cut. It was the year before that, when I had the chin length bob.”
That’s right, I don’t keep track of my life by calendars or date books, I keep track by my ever-changing haircuts. Seriously. The Great Japanese hair straightening experiment marks my first book deal. But by the time I needed an author photo, I’d already cut it all off, added some highlights, and was sporting a bob.
I wasn’t always this way. Throughout my childhood and teen years I had long, wavy, brown hair that hung past my waist. And since my hair remained constant, I kept track of my life by summer holidays.
And even though mine was not a vacationing family, (my parent’s were divorced and money was tight), I still looked forward to those long, hot, lazy days of riding my bike to a friend’s house, swimming in the pool, and begging our mom’s to drive us to the beach or the mall so we could cruise around in shorts and flip flops, trying on lip-gloss and looking for boys.
The summer going into ninth grade was when I had my first kiss—some semi-pro skateboarder dude with chapped lips and a name I quickly forgot.
The summer going into tenth grade was when I was allowed to graduate from drop off dates to “car dates.” Car dates were big time—no longer did you need an adult to drop you off and pick you up, now it was just you, your date, and, um, his car.
The summer going into Junior and Senior years I was working at a department store selling business suits to crabby, disappointed, middle aged women by day, and hanging out in L.A. by night.
And then came graduation and the end of my summer breaks. Though strangely enough, that’s also the time when I got my first major haircut—though I’m not sure I was cognizant of this life-tracking shift at the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that those long ago summers used to represent milestones, growth, and maturity. They were a way to keep track of where I’d been, and where I hoped to be going.
But now I rely on my hair, knowing that this summer will forever be referred to as the one where I grew out the pixie and reclaimed the bob.
What about you- how do you keep track of your life?