I think a similar question has appeared here before, but I can't seem to track it down--and I think this one comes at it from a different angle, anyway.
For nearly a decade, I've had long hair, down past the small of my back. I've never dyed or heat-treated it, so it's undamaged and usually shiny. People compliment me on it frequently, and make distressed noises when I talk about cutting it ("oh, you can't, it's so pretty!") It's reasonably low-maintenance, requiring little more than washing, brushing, and a simple trim every few months (I've come to think of long-hair-in-a-ponytail as the Standard Unisex Geek Hair, adopted by most of my geek friends who don't want to have to think about hair products or finding a decent barber.)
However, I've come to feel it's time for a change. I've often thought of cutting it short: for a different look, a lighter head, a larger variety of haircut options, easier day-to-day care, the ability to experiment with different colors, the sheer invigorating effect of change. I've always shied away out of fear that I'll regret destroying my several years' investment. However, according to Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling On Happiness
, my own hypotheses on how I'll respond to future situations are likely to be only marginally accurate. Gilbert cites studies showing that asking other people how they felt in a certain situation is a much more reliable way to predict how I myself will feel.
So: tell me about your experiences divesting yourself of all your lovely hair. Did you gradually go shorter and shorter, or did you cut it all off at once? Did you regret it? Did you feel liberated? Did you have mixed feelings? Did you enjoy it initially but come to feel differently later? Did the process of growing it out again drive you mad?