There are periodic events in life on the long term like birthdays and anniversaries, and there are periodic events that happen on shorter terms like church service, or paydays, and there are the daily rituals that we perform. The cycle of life is measured from the breathe in, breath out, to the periodic meal times, and well beyond to longer term cycles, life is full of little rituals.
Which is why I’m writing about shaving.
To look well groomed, a man comes to an age where shaving every day becomes necessary. To some this is a chore to be handled as quickly as possible. To others it becomes a mental break, a bit of “me time” to focus on mentally preparing for whatever fresh hell awaits them at work. Even if you let yourself go for a day or two to get that “manly scruff” going on, you’ll eventually have to complete the shaving ritual to get back into that well groomed state.
Over a decade ago I got into “wet shaving” using a double edge safety razor. I found it gave a very close shave without too many passes over my face. And others have caught on, you can now purchase a reasonably priced DE safety razor at Walmart or Walgreens, along with an increasing array of shaving cremes that require the use of some sort of brush.
In my life, there are plenty of periods of uncertainty, and periods of transition. These are the stressful times, and in times of stress humans find comfort in ritual. I don’t mean to imply that shaving is anywhere on the spectrum near church attendance in the form of comfort, but it does exist on the same spectrum, and can offer some of the same comforts.
Shaving is a good ritual to practice because it is all about preparing yourself to face the day (an affirming, hopeful action). It is a good ritual practice because care is required, lest you cut yourself (requiring a focused mindset). It combines temperature, texture, scents, visual and tactile feedback (engages your senses). In short, the ingredients for a significant daily ritual to make you be the best version of yourself, are all found in shaving, so in times of transition, and uncertainty, spending an extra few minutes to focus on shaving can be time very well spent.
I have a good friend, who is going through a period in his life that is both uncertain, and transitory. I wanted to give him a gift that told him, “I believe in you, and want you to be the best you that you can be.” So he got a bunch of shaving supplies. A DE razor, a brush, a few cremes, a classic aftershave (Pinaud Clubman, always makes me think of the barber shop my dad took me to as a kid), an assortment of different blades, a blade stand. These are the tools of my daily shave ritual, and my hope is that as my friend runs that razor across his skin, he finds his mind sharpened into focus, and his life focused into purpose.
Because the rituals of our life are important, even something as simple as the daily shave. So good luck to all you shavers out there still hitting the daily grind, putting in the time at the job site. May your life be blessed, and your shave blood free.