Sunday, November 3, 2013

Reinvention for Beginners

Gillian Roberts
 Not long ago I was at an event with author Gillian Roberts when she said “I do love a good reinvention story.”

That struck a chord with me. I’ve been undergoing my own reinvention for long enough now that it feels more like the new normal than like an act of particular bravery, but I do remember that when it first started I was very frightened. In fact, if a whole set of circumstances hadn’t made drastic change not only necessary but unavoidable, I’m not sure I would have been able to pull it off.

my friend Jan
That’s why, when I see my peers starting second acts armed with nothing more than grit, I applaud with enthusiasm. I had lunch with a friend the other day and found out she’d just started a new business. She and I used to be next-door neighbors, our kids in diapers together. About twelve years ago she decided that her old corporate life wasn’t for her, and signed on as an apprentice at a design firm. Today, she is the owner of Jan Galletly Interiors.

I think sometimes I give people the impression that reinventing must be subversive. (The tattoo and extra piercings may contribute to that impression.) But nothing could be further from the truth. Change only needs to be significant to the person making it. 

In the past month, a friend of mine who was a nurse before raising her children and then becoming a widow, returned to school to be an aesthetician. Another friend left a position she’d held at a law firm for many years to become lead counsel at a risky venture. Her comment to me was “If I can’t do this now, at fifty, then when?”

A therapist once told me that if I was uncomfortable, it meant I was doing the right thing, meaning that we have to push ourselves past what we think we can achieve in order to discover what we’re capable of. 

I’m writing this on a Sunday evening, about to put the lid on this week’s work and tidy up the desk for tomorrow. I’ve been thinking that I’d like to try something a little different next week. Now I just need to decide what that might look like.

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