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How to Reinvent Yourself

By Debbie Mandel

Whether you are a career mom, stay at home dad, or an empty-nester, you might feel a bit constricted and stale. ďNow what?Ē You are flooded with guilt for not appreciating what you have and for greedily desiring more. You wonder what will generate happiness: Shopping for a new wardrobe, a makeover, a separate vacation from the family, an affair; what passion can you inject into your ordinary world? Perhaps, you shrug your shoulders; itís too late anyway.

George Eliot, the novelist, aptly said, ďItís never too late to become what you might have been.Ē We all have a passion, an inspiration deep inside, waiting to emerge. There are just many layers covering it up. Itís time to peel back some of those layers to reveal the fresh, vital skin underneath. You can rewrite your story. Itís okay to write fiction because in your fiction, what you envision for yourself, lives your deepest truth. If you donít like writing, speak into a tape recorder. Do you ever wonder how different you might have turned out if you had been born in another time period, country or to another set of parents? Are you solidly certain that you know who you really are? Later, when you read or listen to yourself reciting your story, a pattern might emerge leading to your unique identity. Try to play with the puzzle pieces.

Now that you have found the words and a picture is emerging, here are some strategies to help you take the inspiration and make it concrete with some order and meaning.
  • Make a list of what you love doing. Then make a list of what you are good at doing. See where both lists intersect.
  • Carry a small notebook to jot down some big ideas. You never know when someone will say something or you will see something life altering.
  • Recall relationships from the past that made a big impression on you: Bonds that you forged with others who defy time and place. You remember their words and you were able to speak openly to them. Speak to them now by looking them up again or speak to them in your head. What would you tell them about yourself?
  • Do some research. Go on line. Interview people to explore careers that interest you. Network with as many people as you can to be admitted.
  • Refresh your education by taking a class to see whatís current in your field of interest. Perhaps you need additional coursework or another degree to jumpstart your career.
  • Serve as an apprentice in your new career. By volunteering you get to experience and sample, add it to your resume and get a letter of reference.
  • Take baby steps along the way, so that you can reevaluate and take detours as necessary. Donít be in a hurry to bloom. Enjoy the process and let it take hold.
  • Periodically check yourself with: What is my message?

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com