To make over, as if to invent for the first time.
Since I can’t claim the prize for inventing myself originally, that falls to a random egg and sperm, the term reinvent might be a misnomer, but it is the one people commonly use to describe a process whereby they do something different either with their bodies, their careers, their marriage/relationship, their business…you get the idea. Because I just turned fifty-five, I can’t be sure just how many times that I’ve reinvented myself. Really…I can’t remember, but I don’t think that there’s been too many occurrences of re-making rather that be body or direction.
I believe we all physically reinvent ourselves, probably more often than we realize. Although…I bet that there’s a few of you out there that have the same hairstyle from your teen years…come on, you know who you are. You might want to consider a change. It’s time don’t you think? Hair, rather it be length, style, color, or lack-there-of, is one of those outward, usually easily discernible changes that evokes 1) the sincere reaction of “Amazing change, you look great,” or 2) “Wow, you changed your hair…” with no more said.
Body size is another visible change. Let me be the first to admit that mine has changed, both in length and width, over the years. It has fluctuated by expanding, contracting, sagging here, and drooping there. Just now, I’m on the okay side of body reinvention. After losing 30 lbs in the last ten months I feel better. I believe that I’m finally coming to understand just how the reinvention of myself from fertile and functional to slightly worn and worn out, took its toll on my body. Woman hormones really want us to survive, but they do it in such a way that they convince us we are in starvation mode, and turn up the volume on storing fat cells for some sort of hibernation. My hormones were going at full speed for some time. I’ve learned to turn that dial back, and listen to other sounds and voices. By the way, my hair is also on a reinvention trip right now. I’m trying to ignore the process mostly, and just see where it goes for a while jumping from straight to curly to shortish to longer.
It’s also easy for others to visually be in tune with a reinvention of career, or new undertaking, or relationship. Sometimes it’s easy to be sneaky for a bit. Maybe we check out new jobs without telling anyone that, after 20 years with the company, it’s time to say adios. Isn’t that what they call testing the waters, or just seeing what’s out there. Maybe, we agonize over a reinvention that we believe will prove to better our condition, say something like going back to college. Yes, I’m speaking specifically on this one, but those big, and expensive, decisions are difficult and reinvention should not come with a cost of using up your savings account simply because you feel out of the feminist loop. Eventually though, if the decision is enacted, and we go forth, the world knows about it. They also know, because we tell them, usually frequently, just how good or bad that decision was. But, I really thought I wanted to be an astrophysicist… Of course, getting remarried for the 13th time seemed like a great idea… My kids don’t need that money when I die…
Do we reinvent ourselves though, in other ways?
How about when we change our opinions? Perhaps you’ve felt strongly about an issue or cause or scientific theory, perhaps for years. Maybe you even grew up believing that you were supposed to believe in, advocate for, or take for granted that something because your parents or family told you. Sometimes, we simply stop being afraid to speak up, or out. I was never afraid to say that I was a feminist, I just had no reason to. I was a mom, raising my kids, and that seemed to take precedence over everything else. Besides, the feminism I learned had this nasty controversy among its membership that created conflict for those of us who wanted to do away with oppression, gain greater equality and independence, but be mother’s by choice. My identity as an atheist was harder. I honestly didn’t use that word, to the public, until I was well into my sociology degree and finally had the courage to admit that my belief system is non-belief. There is no maybe. To me it’s an either/or. Scientifically and rationally my deepest and most sincere view informs me that an all-powerful deity does not exist. Religion, in all its varied forms, was and is a social tool that often is used to control at its worst, or bring hope at its best, but it is a socially driven force, nothing more.
Might I suggest that you take some time, today-tomorrow-over the next few days or weeks, and think about all the ways you have reinvented yourself during your lifetime. Maybe you are in the midst of a major reinvention right now. Perhaps, some of your attempts at reinvention have been successful, others-not so much.
How many have been of the visible, public sort?
How many, and I think this is most important; how many have been the unseen, private, internal reworkings.
Change, and growth both externally and internally, are supposed to make us stronger, maybe even a little wiser. Do you agree?
Almost forgot to mention: I am toying with the idea that this blog theme doesn’t impress me as much as I originally thought. I plan to explore some options, so please do not feel disarmed if things look different here before long.
Update: Theme changed. What do you think?