The Learning Curve of Reinvention
How many times has the thought of reinventing your life crossed your mind? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to keep the car in gear and drive past your place of employment, never to report for duty there again? Have you secretly desired to tell your boss precisely how you feel about his organization and the people in it? Do these daytime fantasies keep you awake at night? If so, you’re not alone.
The fear factors that keep us unhappily employed range widely from financial security and the lifestyle it provides, to the pressure of family responsibility, the self-limiting doubt that you couldn’t possibly be more than what you are because you have invested too much time and energy into your current vocation, to even the bizarre notion that you’re better than starting completely over.
We live in a time of instant gratification and if that’s what you’re seeking within the process of reinvention, you are in for a rude awakening. It takes time, courage and the understanding that once you start this process, you will never be the same.
The catalyst behind my journey of reinvention was being in the presence of death. Through the eyes of the dying I saw fear, regret and an incomplete life. I saw myself. The Universe has a unique and timely way of reflecting us to ourselves and it is our responsibility to interpret the signs and progressively move on.
It took 17 years for me to muster up the courage to walk away from a good paying job. One that I had held since I was a teenager and, coincidentally enough, provided me with a false sense of self-money has the potential to do that. Over time, it became absent of purpose, led to mindless routine, figurative blindness, and complete apathy. The anger that I had harbored from not being in a well constructed team environment and being of the “workhorse mindset” resulted in the deterioration of not only my physical and mental health, but of the meaningful relationships in my life. I took my frustrations out on the innocent people at home and said things that one can never unhear.
The moment of workplace truth came during an after hours confessional with a kindred spirit. Who knew that my employer had not retired to his office but was eavesdropping down the hall? I could no longer play the role of “happy employee” as the pores of my soul had been clogged by the residual dust of years gone by. I verbalized faults of the company, how management put themselves and profit before anything else, and how they didn’t invest in people. This rant resulted in a raise and a new title, enemy. What would it have said about me if I had accepted the money and continued to do my job? As an early birthday present to myself, I walked out of that job and into a new life a few days before turning 36.
It may sound strange to state that having no plan is a plan, maybe even a little irresponsible, but that’s what I had, along with some money in savings. The voyage of a lifetime was underway for someone with only a 12th grade education from 1997.
The Learning Curve of Reinvention can chew you up and spit you out into unrecognizable pieces, but by implementing components of this meaningful list of ways to cope and thrive during your transition, you can put yourself back together again:
- Make amends with your past. | “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana
- Let go of who you thought you once were. | “Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you” -Unknown
- Don’t hide your sorrow-let yourself cry, even out loud. | “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of Earth, overlying our hard hearts.” -Charles Dickens
- Be vulnerable-it’s a portal to connection. | “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” -Brene’ Brown
- Journal about your journey. Creating a retrospective account will provide an invaluable reference tool for the future. | “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to ‘become’. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” -Brad Wilcox
- Create musical playlists. Allow the lyrical brilliance of others to to move and inspire you. | “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo
- Bond with nature. Stand in a stream. | “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” -Albert Einstein
- Spend time with animals, they soften the heart. | “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France
- Let love in. Don’t push people away and isolate yourself. | “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible-it cannot be seen or measured, yet is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession.” -Barbara De Angelis
- Volunteer. It will change your perspective. | “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” -Ganghi
- Allow minimum wage to humble you. The value of everything increases the harder you have to work for it. | “Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” -G.K. Chesterton
- Invest in yourself. Read. Self-educate. | “Don’t work so hard for your employer that you forget to invest in yourself.” -Alexis Grant
- Confide in a trusted therapist. Their insight is a priceless gift. | “One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is to listen to each other’s stories.” -Rebecca Falls
- Define what success means to you. | “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” -Helen Keller
- Give yourself permission to pursue your dreams. | “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
The value found within The Learning Curve of Reinvention is not arriving at a specific destination. It is the journey of the Curve itself. I’m two years removed from an incomplete life. I’m diversifying my skills, and as you read this, I’m chasing after my dream.
About the Author:
Amanda Dvorak has an old soul and nerdy tendencies. She enjoys being submerged in everything nature, taming naughty dogs, music, travel, and living a simplistic life. Her heart beats for her family, girlfriend, and for the pursuit of joyfulness!