Everywhere I look I see article headlines, books, speakers and various messages all extolling the virtues of reinventing yourself at this stage in life. Sigh.
Really? Is that what we need to do? At this point in our lives?
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not fond of the word “reinvention.” It makes it sound like who we are is not good enough, exciting enough, whatever enough now that we’re older and done with our focus on careers and raising a family. Well, I say “Enough.”
I’m taking issue with it. Right here, right now.
Here’s my thinking. By the time we get to age 50 or more, we’ve lived a lot of life. We’ve had many experiences – some good, some not so good, achieved many successes, and probably logged a few (or more) failures along the way. Through all of it, the ups and downs and turnarounds, we’ve learned a thing or two about life and about ourselves. And for the most part, at least among the folks I know (and research I’ve read), we’re happier and more content than ever before.
And now we’re supposed to embark upon a reinvention? Are you kidding me? I just got here and I like it. Why would I want to start over?
I think the allure of reinventing oneself arises because for the first time in a very long time, we are free from many of the obligatory and externally imposed roles or self-imposed limitations that we’ve been living with until now, and perhaps we find ourselves at a sort of apex. We now have more years behind us than in front of us, so it begs the question of ourselves “Is it too late to be the me I always wanted to be?” Without those old roles and limitations, we’re free to answer that question. Which can be exhilarating and paralyzing at the same time.
So it starts to sound like a good idea to reinvent who we are. After all, we might suppose, there must be a new me lurking somewhere under the veil of years and age where my true self will emerge. A new me that is not this me – maybe I’ll be braver, smarter, cooler, more accomplished, more creative, adventurous . . . just more.
You’re already all that. You don’t make it this far in life without absorbing a little – or a lot – of the skills, talent, knowledge and wisdom to unleash any part of you that is seeking more.
“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it,
then what you are undergoes a transformation.”
So while I am not a fan of the word or idea of reinventing oneself into a new you, I am a huge fan of questioning the status quo – especially now. Question where you are in your life, what you want out of life, what you have to offer. Here are a few questions that I think can be very revealing:
What is important to me?
What am I truly good at?
What is my potential, what can I become?
As I see it, we are better equipped and primed to take on any new direction we choose at this point in our lives. Ask yourself the questions, take a look at the answers, and then apply some of all that life and wisdom that’s living inside of you to make decisions, to take steps.
Just know that regardless of where you land, you are enough.
To be clear, I am a proponent of continuous self-improvement and personal growth. But I believe that we have to embark upon any new journey with the knowledge and acceptance that who we are right now is good, exactly as we are. And build from there.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.”
So, I’d like to offer a replacement word. Rather than reinvent which connotes creating something new and different, how about Rediscover. Rediscover, to me, seems to say “Go inside. You have the answers.” Look under the layers, the years, the learnings. Uncover what’s there – dreams, goals, talents – that has been hiding, abandoned or forgotten for years. Then . . . decide how to move forward.
In closing, I want to share a passage that I read recently that seems to sum this up perfectly.
“Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. . . . It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”
I would love to hear your thoughts about all of this, and about whatever journey you’re on. We can learn so much from one another.
Till next time,
Check out my blog at harmonydesigned.com