Reinvent and Survive – What’s next?

My Gypsy Costume, age 4

My Gypsy Costume, age 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often see articles in magazines and on the web about people who have “reinvented” themselves; or articles about how to reinvent yourself at 40 or 50. I recently came across one titled Reinvent Your Life at 30, 40, 50, 60. I found some of the stories boring. One was about a woman going from fashion designer to designing art and yoga retreats for women. Okay, I’m a little cynical. It just seemed too easy.

The 60 year old was the most interesting. She started raising money by climbing mountains. Good thing she was able to connect with a lot of generous people who sponsored her. She raised $160,000 for multiple sclerosis. Then she lost everything to Bernie Madoff and had to go to work for real. She started a catering business and then went into real estate. A real survivor.

I keep thinking I want to reinvent myself and go off on some new adventure. But when read these types of articles, I realize I have been reinventing myself my whole life. Every move was a new start. Every new school a clean slate. I could be whoever I wanted to be and do whatever I wanted to do.

It carried over into my career as well. I applied for a job in publishing production because I thought it would be cool to work in the glamorous world of magazine publishing. I ended that career as production manager for a small magazine nobody ever heard of. Then I had a brief career in the printing industry. I’m not sure what I was doing there but it wasn’t my calling.

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Washington, DC

After I got married I followed my husband around, first to Florida where I worked for a questionable insurance company doing data entry because I could not find anything else. Next move was Washington DC where I went to work for the Federal Government, doesn’t everybody? In Moscow, I worked for the British Embassy as a secretary where I had to re-learn to spell properly. Then I ran a translation company doing everything from training to payroll.  My last job was printing visas for Russian businesspeople at the US Embassy.

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Moscow

Back in the US I did data entry for General Electric and finally found a job with a social research organization back in Washington DC, in the IT department of all things.

I had to be able to adjust and evolve to fit into my surroundings. To be flexible. To survive.

And I did survive.

When we moved to Bogota, I switched my accent from Mexican to Colombian. No problem. In Nigeria, it took me a while, but eventually I could fake some good Pidgin English and understand what people were saying. No problem. When I went to college in the US and suffered severe reverse culture shock, I figured it out and learned to blend in. No problem. In Moscow, I learned to keep my mouth shut so people wouldn’t know I was foreign. And I learned to read Cyrillic. No problem.

As I get older, I keep thinking there should be a next phase. What will come next? But then I remind myself, I have already started down that path. My blog is almost two years old, I write for an online newspaper, and I have published two books. It is my new direction, and I am loving it!

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9 thoughts on “Reinvent and Survive – What’s next?

  1. I really resonate with this, I’ve had many life changes, and another one coming up shortly. To some, it’s a way of life, they just get on with it, without making a big song and dance about it. Adapting, surviving, and, with a bit of luck and planning, even thriving. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. It’s always fun to read a post like this and know exactly what it is about. I left my native Holland to marry my American prince in Kenya. Our first daughter was born in Ghana, the second in the USA and we adopted a son from Brazil. We lived in a number of other countries and it was adapting and adjusting every time and make a life for myself, but hey, I did it.

    Then I read a study (HSBC?) that concluded that expats are more creative than stay-at home folks. I had to laugh. They needed a research project to figure that one out?

  3. Yes, I really resonate with this post. I’m in the middle of re-inventing myself at age 75, and just starting a new phase in my career with an interview in a national magazine next week, talking about my next steps…watch this space !!!

  4. So happy to find this post today! Then to see more people going through the same thing. Exactly the perspective I needed. Blessings!

  5. Great post! I agree with you about the articles that make it all sound so easy. I’m always a little suspicious. But it’s inspiring to hear the success stories.

    My husband and I have been exploring exactly this topic, how to reinvent ourselves. And like you, I realize I have had a lifetime of experience in managing changes, being a cultural chameleon, and adapting to whatever life throws at me. It’s good to be reminded of this.

  6. Wow — just when all seemed too overwhelming, here is a morsel of nourishment. Maybe Eve and Ma’ala will find hope and a future after all.

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