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How Reinventing Yourself Will Make You Better
If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.
I love that line. The source is lost in time but it’s a simple but profound statement.
There are a lot of doors leading to different “rooms” in our lives. To different jobs and living situations. We step through familiar doors every day when we come home to exactly what was there yesterday and the day before. And if that brings you joy, then you are in the right place.
Sometimes though, when our children have left and our life’s purpose with it, it’s hard to find the same satisfaction on the other side of that familiar door.
You don’t need someone to tell you that something needs to change.
You know that. You know it in your gut.
It whispers in your ear throughout the day. “I just can’t keep going on this way one more day.”
You’re adrift. Your definition of yourself, your sense of purpose, seems to have gone away with the children. You’re putting one foot in front of the other and doing the things that need to be done, but there is no joy in it.Something has to give.
You wonder if this is all that you’ll ever have from now on. A few attempts to try new things have had so-so results. Things that once were important to you seem dull now and you may be encountering resistance from your spouse. He seems to have adjusted to being an empty nester with whiplash speed and wants you to get with the program.
Something has to give.
Does the idea of reinventing yourself scare you?
Let’s get one thing straight.
Reinventing yourself is not entering the witness protection program, being relocated to Arizona and working as a waitress in a truck stop diner (apologies to all witness protection truck stop waitresses in Arizona who may be reading this).
Reinventing yourself is also not slapping on a black wig with thick bangs, catseye sunglasses, leopard-print leotards with a fuschia sports bra and stileto heels and calling everyone “Dahlink!” in a foreign accent when you don’t actually speak a foreign language.
Unless that’s really, truly who you are inside. Then have at it, because who am I to tell you what should make you happy?
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Have you ever reinvented yourself?
You probably did it just before junior high.
All of the sudden, you had the opportunity to ditch the neighborhood kids, the childhood Frizzie Frannie nickname, and the cast-in-cement reputation you had from kindergarten on. You could pretend to be more self-assured, convince mom to let you get a radically cool haircut over the summer, and some new, more with-it, clothes too.
You strode onto that new campus, head held high and for a few days, you projected the heck out of the person you wanted people to see.
It all fell apart, of course.
The mod haircut required trims every 4 weeks you couldn’t afford and a master-level technique with a blowdryer. The new clothes were never quite cool enough and you forgot one critical element. All your elementary school frenemies went to junior high with you. Sorry about that, Frizzie Frannie.
If you still think reinventing yourself is about a good haircut and clothes, you’ll have just about as much success today.
What does reinventing yourself mean?
Reinventing yourself means to stop living behind the image your project and that other people expect of you, and to instead realign things so that who you truly are is what you show the world.
It means that if how you dress, how you decorate your home, what kind of job you have, and anything else in your life is not who you really are, you are going to change it.
It’s being true to yourself, not pretending to be something you’re not.
Are you an optimist at heart, surrounded by negative people in your life, and pretending the see the dark clouds when in fact you want to smile at the silver lining?
Feeling pushed to be far more social than you’re comfortable with, when you’re actually a quiet and introspective person, leaving you drained at the end of the day?
Do you find yourself saying yes to pushy people rather than have them think bad things about you? Even when it means forgoing doing something more aligned with your own desires and personality?
Have you been trying to go through a door that wasn’t yours?
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Reinventing yourself the right way will open the right door
We all stumble in trying to be the person we imagine in our heads. That’s why you failed in junior high. You tried to be what you fantasized being, instead of a better version of who you actually were. Frizzie Frannie might not have been a candidate for a Vidal Sasson cut, but a few lessons on how to tame wildly curly red hair would have gone a long way to boost her confidence.
Now that you’re an adult, reinventing yourself means aligning your reality with achievable goals. The good news is that you are virtually assured of success as long as you approach the process by being honest with yourself.
By opening the first door, the one behind which you’ve been squashing things down for years, you can listen to the person who’s been wanting to take charge all this time. The one who gives you a mental kick every time you say yes when you really mean no. The one that wants to feel the calm and serenity of being right with the world.
There is a French saying, to be bien dans sa peau. The literal translation is to be well in one’s skin, or totally at ease with one’s self.
That’s the goal of reinventing yourself. To be totally at ease with one’s self and to have balance between who you are and who the world sees.
The many ways you can reinvent yourself
This is not a process that will take place overnight. Well, unless you join the witness protection program, that is.
For one thing, you don’t want to make changes for the sake of making them. Imagine how scared your family and friends will be to see you make drastic changes. What if you regret making some of them? Now everyone (including you!) is wondering who you actually are and what’s going on in your head.
Think of reinventing yourself as planning for a trip around the world.
First comes a lot of thinking about what countries you want to visit. Once there, which cities? What sights or restaurants are the most important to fit into your itinerary? How much are you prepared to spend for the trip? Will your trip around the world be on a luxury ship or will you fly local airlines from country to country? What will the weather be like at different destinations and what will you pack?
All of that is before you even start making lists and booking transportations and hotels, getting your passport updated and filing for visas where necessary.
Not if you were actually planning this trip, you wouldn’t. If you’re invested in a goal, then the process itself is almost as exciting!
But reinventing yourself is not just a haircut and new wardrobe. It’s where you want to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s about what your job looks like, how you spend your free time and with whom. It’s realigning relationships so that you are getting as much as you’re giving.
Changes can be drastic or they can be subtle. But they deserve your taking the time to really figure out what it is you want to be.
Because everyone has only one life and you deserve to spend it being the person you know you can be.