... Long haired freaky people need not apply. Well, I guess it's no longer an issue. Yup, that's right. After 15 years of wearing a ponytail your local scientist got a haircut.

People are, I think, far too attached to the small things that define their lives. A car, a haircut, an address or a pair of shoes. Any old Taoist walking out of the woods will tell you that if you can't walk away from something and not look back, that thing owns you. So, some cancer patient will be wearing my hair soon, and I'll be driving with the top down, the wind whipping my hair about. Winds of change, I've discovered, can sometimes make it through a sunroof.

This may not sound all that newsworthy or thought-provoking (dude, you cut you hair, so what?) but I offer you this:

What have you done for 10 or more years that defines you and makes you instantly recognizable as you? What's your trademark look, scent, manner of speaking or mode of dress? Could you change it one sunny afternoon and not look back? Ho ho, I say, tough question!

I have a very close friend who lives in Atlanta. She has one pair of Levis that I think she keeps as a talisman against the Great Outdoors. She never wears them, and never ventures outside I-285 into the Great Unpaved Unknown. Of course I had to take her hiking. We've known each other 20 years, so I figured I could show her the Outside without any undue stress.

You can just imagine ... After the initial shock, she loved it! Picnicing by a stream we discussed comfort zones, and specifically moving around and outside the edges every so often. Where the land meets the sea or where comfort meets adventure, life flourishes on the edges; in the swampy places where things get mixed, tumbled and are asked to do more. I don't think she'll tackle Katadin anytime soon but she's thinking, seriously mind you, about venturing out on the trail again. The AT in Georgia isn't exactly virgin wilderness, but it's not really the pavement of Atlanta she's learning to step outside of. There's more. There always is.

I keep reaching back to gather my ponytail only to smile and remember it's not there anymore. Having moved outside my comfort zone, and made a major change in my appearance, I wonder what else might benefit from an Autumn Tuning. I'd like to maybe build another jet, travel to the Far East, learn to speak Italian. Maybe I'll fall in love and start drinking coffee again. Anything could happen and, with luck, maybe it will.

When I look out at the world I try to remember the world is looking back and forming an opinion. I'll have to change the Long Haired Freaky People sign in front of my office for starts. No longer a joke, people who meet me for the first time may think it's policy.