Did you ever imagine reinventing your life? You may have thought it was impossible due to too many obligations, barriers and fears.
Actually, your life will change whether you want it to or not because of your life experiences, both painful and joyous. These occur without you voluntarily taking steps. Additionally, our lives are often structured in order to meet the desires of our families, friends and societal expectations. This may include attending college and/or completing schooling, succeeding in a career, helping our community, paying our bills and taxes, developing meaningful friendships and caring for our families.
Often this does not include concentrating on personal goals, which may be considered self-centered in our society. However, there may come a time you decide to re-create your life based on what is important to you not others.
Some may call this a mid-life crisis, but this desire for change may occur at many different times for each person. The desire for change may be intermittent and may ebb and flow. You may want to change your personal and/or career life. It is helpful to think about how you want to live your life and acknowledge what type of changes you want to see happen. It is also possible that you want to reinvent your life but can’t clearly define the change or what steps to take.
Listen to your inner voice and trust your intuition or your heart. Most people deep down know what they want to occur in their lives but another voice will challenge their true desires. Some important questions to ask, steps to take and suggestions to consider include:
- What do you want to change in your life? (Realize that you may not fully know the answer to this question.)
- Try to visualize the steps that you will take and write them down.
- Jot down a few positive attributes about yourself that will help in the process.
- Write down a few obstacles that may occur.
- Check off your accomplishments and what obstacles you overcame.
- Ask people you trust about your reinvention plan and get their advice and insight.
- Surround yourself with a mentor, team of advisers/cheerleaders to aid with your goal of reinvention.
- Setbacks will happen. Don’t punish yourself if you make mistakes along your journey.
Reinvention is not an easy process. The first step is acknowledging that you want to see a change in your life and then believing that it can occur.
Even though changes happen throughout life, to a certain degree reinvention is within your control. You can choose to change careers, start a new hobby, make new friends, have a new outlook on life or become more spiritual. Recreating one’s life may be a physical, emotional, spiritual or mental change or a combination of these. Imagine that you are the artist who is starting with a canvas, your vision and your intuition.
The canvas is not blank. It is covered with your life experiences, joys, pains and celebrations.
The canvas is also not complete. You will use your creativity to change your masterpiece, which represents your life. Set realistic goals. Don’t expect to finish the masterpiece quickly. It is a process that may occur in steps over time. Reward yourself for each step you take and each change your make.
What will you create? It is your journey. It is your challenge.
Marcy Shoemaker, Psy.D., is a staff psychologist at Abramson Center.