This morning after the gym I actually had 20 minutes to spend on my mane, but was getting increasingly hot and bothered.
“I need to chop it all off,” I muttered to the woman next to me, who’d dried her bob in four minutes flat.
“You’d miss it if it were gone,” she said, smiling. “I was ill and lost my hair so when it grew back I let it grow, I’d missed the swish.”
Well that brought me up short.
She kept chatting about how it had ended up really annoying her so she’d had it cut and anyway she had two sons so who had time for a hairdryer… But I have spent a lot of time today thinking about what she must have gone through. To casually sum up what must have been a very difficult period with seven words – “I was ill and lost my hair” – seemed so dignified.
You just never know what struggles people are facing. You never know how your words, casual though they may be, might affect them. I feel a bit vain and silly for fussing over my hair now, but I’m glad we had that conversation because it’s reminded me to be grateful for what I have.
One of the main reasons I love being a journalist is hearing people’s stories. I love having the opportunity to ask them about things they’ve done, challenges they’ve faced, successes they’ve had, lessons they’ve learned. It’s a privilege to listen to them. I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from an interview and not been inspired in some way.
You don’t need to be a journalist to hear people’s stories, of course. We Scots are a pretty chatty bunch (especially we Glaswegians!). If you haven’t already, I think you should have a chat with a stranger this weekend. See what you find out about yourself…