We recreate ourselves constantly whether we realize it or not. It happens naturally as we live our lives. Outwardly we go from daughter, to wife, to mother. We graduate, we work, we earn money, we raise a family and, in the process of living, we raise ourselves. These are the facets of our life that the world sees. We’re “on script” so to speak.
But there are times when the script doesn’t match the internal voice of our character. That is the time we start rewriting our scripts, adjusting our personal narratives and changing ourselves.
Sometimes we make small and incremental changes in dialogue, like learning to say “no” when all our lives we’ve been saying “yes.” Sometimes we change our costumes, like getting into shape and upgrading our looks so we suit our new roles. And sometimes we make fundamental changes, like changing careers, going back to school or leaving the safety and security of life as we know it for the unknown – performing without a net.
Change, and the act of re-creation or reinvention, are never easy. When we’re going through it we often question our motives, our sanity and our judgment –and rightly so. It’s important to make sure that change is warranted because change for the sake of change is counterproductive. It’s like changing four quarters for a dollar – you’re no further ahead than when you started.
Naysayers, family and friends among them, who are stuck in their own personal ruts, will warn you off change and call your decisions into question. Don’t second-guess yourself! Don’t let “analysis paralysis” rule your life either!
Six years ago I recreated my life. As an international color marketer I was busy adding color to everyone else’s life but my own so I rewrote my script, changing my character from a long-time married suburban wife, to a single woman living in cosmopolitan Montreal.
I didn’t do it overnight. In fact, I thought about it for 13 years before making a change that I knew was unavoidable. Once made, I never looked back. Everything changed: my outlook, my attitude and my approach to life. I rewrote my inner dialogue from negative to positive, gave myself a new setting, and added an interesting cast of characters to my love life.
For the first time in years I knew what it felt like to be fully alive. I took my life off autopilot and started flying solo, free to feel the full range of emotions I had been avoiding for years: love, lust, longing, happiness, sadness and, finally, contentment.
Recently I completed my memoir Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color. When I read it, I am amazed at the number of recreations there are in my life. I didn’t realize it as it was happening; it’s only now in retrospect that I can see the metamorphosis, the gradual pushing of boundaries from the safety of a beige chrysalis to a world awash in color. And this is only just the beginning because the one thing I realized when I finished the book was that as long as I’m alive, I’m never really done.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “There are no second acts in American life.” He was wrong, not only are there second acts; there are encores and lots of them. So take a bow and get ready for the next performance.
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/coloroftime