The next time you’re bored, mix it up

Lisa's head shot

By Lisa Sugarman

I’ve given this a lot of thought. And I’ve decided I need a change. Something to freshen things up and give me a new perspective. Nothing too major. I’m not talking tattoos or piercings or shaving my head. Remember, less is usually more. Just something that’ll infuse me a little. Because change, no matter how small or insignificant, can sometimes be all we really need to reset our course and feel rejuvenated. Even as comforting as patterns and routines can be, it’s important to mix things up every once in a while. You know, to stay motivated and engaged.

Just think of what happens to your chocolate pudding when you leave it in the fridge for too long. That beautiful, creamy pudding that you love so much gets that icky, crackly film over the top. And the only way to restore it to its former beautiful pudding self is to peel off that top layer and mix it up again. Then it’s practically like new. Creamy and delicious.

So, I’ve decided to grow a goatee. Or, at the very least, a soul patch. Because sometimes changing something about how you look is all you really need to revitalize yourself.

Now I haven’t really given much thought to how Dave’s going to handle this. But overall, he’s pretty easy going. Knowing him, he’ll say something like, “Whatever makes you happy, babe.” Because after almost 29 years, he’s used to pretty much anything I come out with.

I know, this probably isn’t what you expected, me being a girl and all. But I’ve really had this incredible urge lately to do something new. To go for a different look. To refresh. I actually get that urge a lot. And not just in terms of myself and how I look; I’m forever changing things up around the house, too. Dave will sometimes come home from a business trip and I’ve painted the bedroom, moved around the living room, and tiled the bathroom shower. (Not all in one shot, obviously. I’m good, but not that good.)

Why do I feel so strongly about spontaneously mixing things up? Simple, really. It’s because I think things or people reach a point when they grow stagnant when they stay the same for too long. And in order to refocus and keep our heads in the game, sometimes we just need to shift the ground under our feet. Because sometimes we just plain get bored. But that’s OK, because it’s human nature to fall into ruts and feel stale. We just have to pay attention to when we’re feeling that way, recognize the signs, and take appropriate action. And sometimes that action is as simple as highlights or a Dorothy Hamill haircut, if you’re a girl. Or, if you’re a guy, it might mean muttonchops or a Van Dyke beard or a Fu Manchu or a chin curtain (although that one’s a little too Henry David Thoreau for me). So many options, so little time.

And while I think we both know that I’m really not in a position to grow any type of facial hair, short of a stray chin hair that I missed the last time I plucked, I just wish I had the option. Because that ability is something I’ve always envied. (That and peeing standing up.)

I mean, what does it take a guy, a week, maybe two, to completely alter their look with a buzz cut or some scruff and look like a totally different person? That’s a gift. Girls can get there, but there’s usually way more effort, product, and money involved to make it happen. It’s just more complicated for us. Guys do almost nothing, except maybe run a trimmer over their chin and they end up looking like one of the tough-guy hotties in Sons of Anarchy. And that’s just not fair. I really envy guys and how easily they can change it up. Just stop shaving and you’ve got an entirely new look. Trim it out, give yourself a handlebar mustache, and the sky’s the limit. You’re reborn.

Now I know I’m sort of focusing on hair here, but that’s only because I happen to think that hair manipulation (facial or otherwise) just happens to be one of the easiest and most obvious things we can change and then change back and then change again. And, for the record, this will most likely be the first place you’ll ever hear the term “hair manipulation.” I try to stay ahead of the trends so you put the paper down feeling like you learned something new.

The bottom line to all this is that sometimes you just need a change. Something to make you feel special or sexy or sophisticated or sassy or intellectual or mysterious or just plain empowered.

For me, my little urge took the form of stick-straight hair for the entire weekend. Something I rarely do. And a change that tends to take most people who know me by surprise since they’re so used to seeing my Survivor-like curly hair overwhelming my face most of the time. And I’ll tell you, it’s exactly what I needed. It perked me up just enough that I felt the right amount of refreshed. I felt slightly incognito, too, because most people don’t recognize me right away if my hair’s not long and curly. So it was almost liberating.

So the next time you’re feeling blasé and just generally bored with yourself, don’t just sit there complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, do something about it.  Do something easy and relatively reversible. Switch it up a little. Fire up the razor or the trimmer or the straightening iron or the curling wand and have at it. Give yourself a new look and see how it makes you feel. I’ll betcha it’s just enough to do the trick. And if that doesn’t work, just move your couch and a couple of end tables around. That’s pretty much the next best thing.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead. Read and discuss all her columns at She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is, available on, Barnes &, at Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, and other select booksellers.


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