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Balding in your 20s | Greatist

The Rite-Aid kept his Rogaine bottles in an anti-theft device. It was not a thick plastic, but if I really wanted to, I would probably need to invest in tools of decent quality or ask an in-store assistant for help. "Excuse me, would you mind off unlocking that annoying plastic device so I can spend $ 52.99 on a bottle of super herbal chemicals that's unlikely to work, and please discreetly please."

No chance. I went out of the automatic door.

It started when I was 25. My friend Steve pointed to my temples and laughed, "Look, you're getting thinner!" I armed him stiffly, but a shot of adrenaline shot through my body. That night, I examined my hairline in the bathroom mirror. Did it happen?

Dark, curly hair was one of my defining traits, so much so that my friends ripped me because it could plunge into a white Afro man. After Steve's comment, I was able to convince myself for a few days that it was not true ̵

1; he just wanted to scare me. Over time, however, it became indisputable: hair clogged the shower drain, the strange sunburn on my scalp, less friction when I applied shampoo … I had a bald head.

If you are not struggling with hair loss, I have two things to say:

You're in luck.

I curse you gently every morning when I look in the mirror.

Balding sucks. I still have an existential identity crisis when I think I'm bald. However, after losing hair every day for the last six years, I had a minute to think about the strangely dark phenomenon that makes a scalp glow in the morning sun.

The progression of baldness is demoralizing. But is there a silver background to a receding hairline?

I'm not sure, but here are some insights I got from my slow, ongoing battle with hair loss:

1. Surely you recognize your own mortality more.

As an active, healthy and fit former athlete, hair loss detection was pretty much the first time I really met that I would not live forever. Despite 25 years on a planet plagued with disease and forest fires, I still thought I was invincible. The realization shook me. I was actually – wheeze – aging .

How could my genes have betrayed me? How long does it take for the rest of my physical debility to be shut down forever like my boring hair follicles? I stood in front of the mirror and saw a movie in which my body quickly discolored, my hair went from gray to white and no longer existed, my learned cheeks sank into a pair of papery cheeks, and my half-muscular chest and shoulders shrank southward a round belly that sticks out over my waistline … now it's clear that I'm going to die, and the bald head is my memento when I look in the mirror.

I do not like it, but I feel a step Closer to the Grim Reaper motivates me to live well in the present. It reminds me to enjoy my relatively youthful skin while I still have it, and to explore life here and now.

. 2 You have to put up with your superficiality.

Sure, I know that I'm in vain – we're all there. But when I lost my hair, I realized that I was desperate almost irrevocably chained to the ideals of our culture of traditional beauty. Throughout high school and college, I was a decent-looking guy. I never modeled clothes or whatever, but my appearance gave me confidence. It contradicted my social fears and calmed my ego.

How could I meet important meetings and make appointments with a lame buzz-cut that highlighted my ears? People would see that I was weak, and at the very end of my being, I was struck by a glaring imperfection! With new interest, I looked at hats through shop windows. I rationalized the Toupees: They are exactly the same as women's make-up, right? It annoyed me. I did not want to live a life without a perfect hairline.

The excited thoughts made me realize the extent of my immaturity. Toupees … really? There is my head? The recognition of my deep vanity was necessary: ​​a healthy first step. It has ultimately helped me to go beyond the anxious state in which my self-worth is precariously attached to an impeccable exterior.

. 3 They know that it is meaningless compared to other people.

I knew I sometimes likened myself to other people, but when I became aware of my balding, I suddenly felt physically inferior, especially because I lived in a city like New York, where all people live so damn beautiful Does it hurt. I noticed that I was insecure when I had not felt since middle school and I tried to figure out how far I had settled during the appeals phase. A 6.5? This guy on the train – did I look better or worse than him? A girl who walked swiftly across Union Square without noticing me – could it have looked like if I'd had my college curls?

I stared wistfully at pictures of Jason Statham and wondered how he somehow managed to overcome the pain of hair loss, his angular jaw and his evil celebrity. How could I still compare myself to the level of beauty and vitality that flowed through me daily on the sidewalks of the city?

I compensate in other areas, and not necessarily those born from a deep well of self-love: whitening teeth, experimenting with flattering facial hair, developing more beach muscles on my shoulder, dressing better. And although it is not wrong to have a little self esteem, I find out that I have to leave the comparator hamster. I must remember that working out and choosing my morning attire can become a desperate attempt to mimic others, a strenuous daily effort to validate my relative self-worth in an endless and lost game.

A healthy fight

I've never tried the Rogaine: I do not like balding, but honestly it's probably good for me. It is a necessary wake-up call, an opportunity to overcome myself and focus on character traits and abilities that actually last with age and can even mature. Maybe the average person is not as insane and vain as I am (although I would like to bet that there are many), but for people like me, hair loss can be a positive disease: a healthy catalyst for much needed growth.

In my better moments, I'm not so worried about my hairline. When I look in the mirror now, it sometimes wakes me a little bit out of my fast-paced dream. It only awakens me for a minute when I realize that life is so much more than the shapes of our faces, our rank among the masses, and the hair on our heads – and for that I am grateful.

Jonathan Warner lives in a New York studio that is smaller than your bathroom, and likes to ride a motorcycle when it rains. He writes regularly on his blog The Scrap Journal to try to stay healthy between outdoor adventures. Catch him on the 2-train late in the evening or contact him on Instagram @jparkwarner or Twitter @JParkWarner .

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