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. 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.

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