What does reinventing yourself mean, really?
I never gave it much thought until last night when I began reading The Expats by Chris Pavone. It’s a work of fiction, but the main character, Katherine, moves to Europe with her family and decides to reinvent herself as Kate Moore. It’s an interesting read and I look forward to seeing how this plays out for her.
It got me to thinking about the concept of reinventing oneself. I did a quick Internet search and found several links that promise to tell you how to reinvent yourself in 4, 5, or 15 steps. The first one I clicked on was by an author whose goal in reinventing oneself is to make you rich beyond your dreams. Some others were less materialistic.
Is it just me, or doesn’t everyone try to reinvent themselves in one way or another at different times in their lives? Is a step by step guide really necessary? It seems fairly simple. You don’t like some aspect of your life and so you try to change it in some way. But things in life are rarely simple. Still, I’m not sure if reinvention can truly be taught.
All I really know about self reinvention is my own experience and my own observations of the world around me. At one time I was truly dissatisfied with where I was at. I wanted out of this place where I live. I wanted out badly. Jot’s Lunar Adventure was born out of this dissatisfaction I felt. The original blog, I mean, not this new permutation of it. I reinvented JLA, but it still has shades of its former self. At any rate, I came to terms with the fact that I’m not leaving my home of the past sixteen years any time soon. And that’s alright. Now I find myself advocating for staying and not leaving when things get so dark and dismal. There is no greener grass on the other side of the fence, and there never were any good old days. There are just days, some good and some bad.
At the moment I know one person who recently made her escape out of this place. I hope she finds what she’s looking for, but I have my doubts that she will. I’m not against moving, traveling (certainly not), adventuring. But I guess I’m not in favor of escaping, which is what I wanted to do not so long ago. I’m against it because there really is no place to escape from the things of day to day life on this Earth.
So what is there instead of escape? I would have to say, first, acceptance of being in the place where God has placed you. There has to be something there to learn which will make you wiser than the day before.
Next, I think there is a place for reinvention. If you take a long hard introspective look at yourself and see something amiss, then by all means take measures to reinvent.
For me it began with my letting go of idealistic visions of what being a pastor’s wife, a homeschooling mom, a church member, a friend, and a daughter would be like. None of those roles panned out the way I envisioned them, but that’s okay, I’ve learned a lot from it.
I’m not quite the same person I was 5, 10, 20 years ago. My goals have changed. I’m aging, which really frightened me at first. But I’m not as frightened by it as I was. I’m a woman of a certain age, as the French say, and I have value. I want to maintain good health as I grow older. Sometimes fear can be a motivator. I watched my dad lose his mind to Alzheimer’s, my mom succumbed to lung cancer, my father-in-law is dying from a combination of health issues, and my mother-in-law is homebound by her health issues. As I watched my parents die, I sought a better way. No one can escape death, but do we have to die miserably? Perhaps not.
Part of my reinvention of myself includes dietary changes and exercise. Another part of my reinvention is not being an escapist. I work at the local library and this helps me stay grounded in the place where God has placed me. Despite what stereotype you might have concerning libraries, they aren’t the dusty and quiet place you might think. You meet people of all walks of life there, plus you get to be around books. It’s a win-win situation.
Speaking of books, The Expats is the first fiction novel I’ve read in quite a while. Part of my self reinvention seems to be reading mostly non-fiction books these days. My taste in non-fiction is a bit strange even to me. So what does a woman of a certain age who used to only read science fiction and fantasy novels, read in the non-fiction genres? Well, I do like books on health and fitness, not surprisingly. But what else? I like true life stories of survival from extreme events like earthquakes which send whole mountainsides into motion or shipwrecks. Most strange of all perhaps is the genre known on Amazon as Beauty, Grooming, & Style. Yes, I’m a latent fashionista it would seem. I can spot a Michael Kors handbag from a mile off. No, really, I can. It’s like I was meant to own a Michael Kors bag, so now, I do.
Who knows who I’ll be another 10 years from now. I just hope I still have my MK handbag. I hope I’ll be a grandmother by then too.