With a swift flick of the wrist and a pair of scissors sharp enough to slice through a rhinosaurous collar bone, years of long, Farrah Fawcett-esque, golden locks floated to the floor, leaving my long neck visibly naked.

“Cut it all off,” I demanded, as I sat in the elevated blue-vinyl chair.

“Are you sure?” the beautician asked, raising one eyebrow to indicate she thought I was nuts. Typically, I came to her for a quick trim, but today I demanded she pull out all the power-tools in her beauty arsenal.

“It will take a long time to grow back you know,” she warned me.

The year was 1990. I was the mother of four very busy young children ranging from eight-years-old down to two. I had a house to run, kids to chauffeur around town plus a cottage industry to manage where I manufactured large hair bows for women and children. These embellishments were sold to Nordstrom’s Department Store and children’s specialty shops up and down the San Francisco Peninsula. With any extra time I volunteered at our church, in my children’s classrooms and at the dance studio where my babies wiggled their little hearts out. I was stretched to the max and something had to give before I completely lost my mind.

“Yep, I’m sure,” I announced with complete confidence. And off came the luxurious thick curls that had been – until that day – considered my trade mark and crowning glory. Like a lamb that had been sheered for slaughter, I now sported a short pixie “do” with a thin strand of hair curling down the nap of my neck.

“Perfect,” I whispered to myself staring at my new easy, breezy look.

Arriving home, I stood at the front door for a couple of seconds preparing for my children’s reviews. It was a warm summer day and they were running through the house preparing to jump into the pool.

“Kids! Come here for a second. I have something to show you.”

The sound of little feet could be heard as they rushed towards me, but soon stopped dead in their tracks. Staring at my vision of not-so-loveliness, they one-by-one illustrated their angst.

“What did you do?” my eldest, Michelle, demanded. She stared me down with her eight-year-old fists digging deep into her hips – her typical defiant position when ready to start an argument. “I hate it! And what’s with the rat’s tail? Only disgusting boys wear those things.”

Jenni threw her small seven-year-old hands over her freckled face and sobbed hysterically as five-year-old Lauren ran away to her hiding place when things got testy – under her bed. My baby, Timmy, stood completely perplexed, cocking his blonde, curly head of hair from side to side as if mimicking our cocker spaniel. It was clear he was wondering who this strange woman was standing before him and what did she do with his real mommy?

Desperate to bring peace back to my family, I cried, “I’m sorry! I just couldn’t deal with my hair any longer.” Completely dejected, I went to my room and hid my new hair style under my pillow. “Maybe I’ll just stay here until it grows out again,” I began to whimper. “One day they’ll be parents and then they’ll understand why some changes are necessary.”

If I’ve learned one thing to be certain in my life, it’s that nothing stays the same forever. Changes come and go in an endless variety of contexts. Some simply happen, many are necessary, while others are crucial to make our world run more smoothly.

Occasionally, change is not for the better, but most often it is. There can be no growth unless adjustments and alterations are made to the path we travel. They are the true test of the metal from which we are made.

Nine years ago, it seemed my life was filled with nothing but changes. My marriage of twenty-two years ended leaving my heart shattered and my bank account broke. My children were beginning to leave for their own lives and my mother passed away. Each major and minor change tore at my heart. I cried constantly. The knowledge that the life I had once known, along with the fear that I would never feel happy again, constantly gnawed deep within my soul.

Each night, I tossed and turned wondering what my next move would be to keep all the financial loose ends together. I hadn’t been a member of the “real” work force in twenty-five years and I found myself praying, “What the hell do I do to make the kind of money I need to keep this all together?” My new financial responsibilities were overwhelming.

After weeks and weeks of deep, soulful contemplation, my prayers were answered. In my youth, I worked in commercial real estate, managing high rises and shopping centers. The knowledge I had gained then guided me to the natural next step –  residential real estate. And a new life began.

While it wasn’t easy, and there were times I wondered what the hell I got myself into, I gradually began to make not only a name for myself, but the money needed to keep my bills paid. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing gift my new profession was going to allow me.

Being an independent contractor meant that I could be just that – independent. I would set my own hours, follow my own plan, make my own decisions. It also meant I’d have the time for my passions. Not following a nine-to-five schedule meant at my ripe “young” age of fifty-seven I could still run my dance program for small children, volunteer for the causes deep to my heart and pursue my new found joy – writing.

Today, when my children go through photo albums of our younger years, I’m constantly asked, “What were you thinking with that look?” I like to remind them with that God awful hairdo I was freed from hours of primping and fluffing, giving me more time to be the mother they needed – SANE! – and with a few extra minutes to spare. Change is a good thing.

I now welcome change as a necessary tool. With it, I continue to discover new parts of myself. It helps keep me on a path towards success, both financially and spiritually and it keeps fear at bay. It has opened my heart to the world at large and that is a good thing!