When I started this blog, I had four areas that I wanted to explore: aging, reinvention, fitness, and weight loss. But lately I’ve been thinking about the idea of reinvention and I’ve decided that there is something I don’t like at the core of what that represents. Reinvention sounds like you have to start all over; that you have to take a wrecking ball to all that has been you and knock everything down so that you can start over, from scratch. What a pity that would be and, also, quite harsh and unloving of one’s self! It doesn’t feel right to say that who I am right now (or was two years ago) is so without value that I need to remake myself into someone completely different.
My thoughts about this have apparently been simmering for a while but they crystallized yesterday as I was putting the final touches to a speech I was about to give. Last night was the night that my congregation honored me as I prepare to leave my position in the Education Department after 17 years. I would have an opportunity to give my own reflections and expressions of gratitude. I wrote many drafts of my five minute speech; each revision got me closer and closer but I kept tripping over the final paragraph in which I thanked everyone for supporting my reinvention. Here I was getting ready to listen and receive people’s heartfelt expressions of what I’ve meant to them and here I was preparing to say – “Oh, and by the way – I didn’t like that person so I’m in the processing of becoming someone else!” I intuitively felt a disconnect between these two realities.
So, in the 11th hour of my editing efforts, it came to me to replace “reinvention” with “reimagining.” Reimagining still contains the power of a “do over”; but it feels more right brain than left brain, more creative, more forgiving, more accepting, and more embracing of what was while making space for something new.
Last night was so very special as my congregation publicly acknowledged that who I’ve been over the course of these many years has had a positive impact on those around me. As I continue to reimagine both myself and my life, I’m filled with gratitude for the reminder and reassurance that I don’t have to start from scratch.