I am looking for some advice but I wont ask any particular question for which an answer I expect you to provide. Please have a read and give me your thoughts, I dont mind what you say, but I encourage you to share them without hesitating. Firstly I will tell you a little about myself and my problems. When I was a teenager I became caught up in all this religious fervour and committed myself for a life of righteous living. It is something I scarcely share the same enthusiasm for these days. Then I had decided, quite passionately, that I wanted to be a "proper" sikh, with all that entailed. I plunged myself heart first into the mystical world of Sikhi. As one can imagine, the romanticism did not last long and now I am left at cross-roads. Unashamedly like every single human being to have ever lived, I had been looking for a "fix" for my life. And i thought religion was the way to do it. Well religion can give you many things - it can give your life meaning, it can give you friendship, community - it can even give you happiness and euphoria. All these things I attained in various degrees through my religious experiences. But (personal) religion never improved my character, it did not make me stronger or give me any useful wisdom. It did not add to the moral framework I had adopted from my parents, nor did it solve any of my problems. In fact it only added to them because to a dreamer like me, so-called enlightment is only a prescription for greater dreaminess - going further away from reality - and becoming skeptical of, and growing distant from, worldy affairs. In fact what I had needed all along was not greater solitude - I needed far less. I needed to immerse myself in the real world and be more worldy. I have done this now, and seen how it has given my life meaning. I have a purpose now: to earn an honest living - to provide for my family - to become successful in my career. To be in contact with many people and actively socialise with many others. Further to achieve these ends does not require me to be particularly religious, nor do i think it is even a requirement at all. Religion, now, is actually in my way from achieving those things. When i walk into an interview, I am immediately conscious of looking strange with my beard. You try to cut a clean professional image - but it doesnt help to have all that facial hair. I have brothers who are clean shaven and they look so crisp and fresh, and I simply do not. I actually havent got much of a problem with my self image - but i am aware that others might, and that itself is the problem. Further my experience with girls is such that I am aware that few of them are willing to consider a kesh-dhari for a mate. It is usually an unsaid thing, and only one of these girls has been obnoxious enough to admit it forthright, but it is evident that it a turnoff to most girls - sikh girls included. I am nearing marriage and I realise my options have been limited greatly already. This shouldnt be a problem. There are singhs out there who manage to lead rich fulfilled lives despite all the discrimination. I applaud them and once aspired to be such a person. But my situation is unique. I can imagine another sikh in my place dealing with others with humour, confidence and comfort. I simply cannot do this - and if try - well it is too obvious that i am trying and it becomes awkward for not only myself, but to the other person. I have a cousin who has a great personality and trims his beard despite wearing a turban. I think he made the right decision. He still gets to be a singh but doesnt have the rest of the problems that I have. He is lucky and I think he got it right, while i got it wrong. I realise I have just outlined a standard problem with no expectation of a novel solution, but that is it - please share your thoughts.