For a long time, I thought my dreams were too big.
People like me don’t have the kind of future I’ve always imagined for myself. Comfortable. Successful. Surrounded by good people and a life full of travel, love, and a deep and lasting connection with the earth.
Where I come from, people struggle. They scratch out what little they can and loathe themselves every second in the process. My mother was just one example of many. The pattern was always the same. Struggle, struggle, struggle. So, I played down my dreams and labeled them delusional. I put myself on a back burner and pretended it was predestined.
I was foolish and I wasted a long time in that foolery. I held myself back, chose limiting paths in my career, and played down what I needed in relationships and friendships alike. All because I thought I had to be what I had always seen around me.
A few years ago, my eyes opened and the doors of a new reality opened up with them.
I didn’t have to stay stuck in this place. I could become something new. Forcibly, the goggles were wrenched from me. As I lost what I perceived to be my “future” I found an entirely new now and within that the space to entirely reinvent myself.
This is the new age of reinvention.
The world is chaos. Believe it or not, all that chaos and dysfunction also serves as an opportunity. As the pieces of the world we knew fall away, we are pushed to the edge of a cliff. There is only the choice to jump or fall, and either way, everything you know will be left behind.
In that space, we are given the chance to reinvent ourselves. This stripping of what was is not a condemnation of what’s to come. It’s the opposite. We can choose who we want to be when it all goes wrong when we bet it all and lose. The end of one chapter is indeed the start of another, and we are (cliche as it sounds) the authors of our own destinies.
This is an age of reinvention.
Like the Roaring 20s before, and the Baby Booming generation after, we are looking at a new horizon in what it means to be human and be alive. The shifts are coming, and for those who choose to embrace the ride, there is endless possibility ahead.
You can become the person you’ve always wanted to be. You can open the door, run through it, and reimagine everything you thought you were capable of. How? Well, first you have to find your courage. The courage to shed the world, to shed your skin, and to stand vulnerable in the light of a future you can taste.
Do you have the courage to shed your skin?
That’s a big ask for a lot of people. To become someone you’ve always imagined, you have to leave behind who you are in the present moment. That’s scary. Reinventing yourself can mean changing jobs, changing relationships, going no contact, moving across the world. Once you start the journey, it can lead you far, far away from where you are now.
If you’re ready to reinvent yourself, to get what you want out of life, then there are 3 core questions that you have to ask yourself:
- Who do you want to be?
- Why does that person matter?
- What’s the cost of staying put?
There is no reinvention without these 3 answers. There is only stabbing in the dark, chasing the wrong paths, and burning yourself out in the wrong direction.
Figure out who it is exactly you want to be. What do they wear? What do they look like? Who are they surrounded by? What do they do? How do they feel about themselves? The world? Their experiences?
Figuring out the precise vision of your ideal self is one of the most powerful motivators and a map of sorts. When you know who you want to be, you can then pick out what you have to do to become that person. You choose the people they would choose, you go after the opportunities they would pursue. Step into the shoes of that person. Still not convinced?
Pinpoint why that person matters.
Why is this the person you need to be? Why is this the person you want to be? Be clear about your core motivations, and shred any notions that belong to other people in your life (good or bad). You can’t reinvent yourself by the light of someone else’s candle. You have to be your own light in the process.
If that still isn’t enough to make you see that this is the time for reinvention, remember the cost of staying put where you are.
All that pain? That heartbreak? The negative emotions, the stress, the hopelessness — it’s tied to where you’re at right now. If you don’t change, if you don’t do something different, then you are going to stay in that space. It’s very true when they say you have no chance of success when you don’t try. The same applies here.
If you don’t take drastic action to become that person you know you want to be, then you will stay a version of yourself you don’t like very much.
We all come to a point in our lives where reinvention is necessary. That is how life works. The world around us is literally an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. It is what fuels the beauty of living, of being a human. Brutal and brief, our lives have meaning because we have the opportunity to mold them into the image of our own defined futures.
You can choose to see this reinvention as a curse, as a death. Or, you can take the other path. You can embrace the inevitable and learn to fall into the bosom of the chaos as someone strong and capable of being born again in the fall.
© E.B. Johnson 2023