I’ve been thinking a lot about reinvention, partly because summer is upon us. These hot humid evenings, spent lingering over a glass of wine, are perfect for conversations with friends, discussing what we love and the life we may ideally like to live. Who hasn’t put the world to rights over long nights and wine? When the warm weather is upon you, it makes you feel like anything is possible.
Perhaps I’ve been thinking about reinvention because, this year, I’ve started to make connections within the creative community, both in London and across the globe. I’ve noticed that the topic of reinvention comes up frequently, and there’s a tendency to view it as if it’s something you can do as easily as changing your underpants.
In part, I admire this insouciant attitude. I find it incredible that every 24 hours we get to start over; to make a different person out of ourselves, should we actually want to. Yet my personal experience is that reinvention feels more like you’re calling back a piece of yourself, as if you’ve finally come home after being away for a very long time.
What I’m discovering is that people who have truly reinvented their lives have rarely done so on a whim. Those who appear to have transformed, magically overnight, have actually spent a lot of time preparing for their new life. They are also the kind of people who have accepted that things may go wrong. Rather than seeing that as a failure, they consider it a bump in the road and keep going along on their journey, even if the direction or the destination has changed.
I also believe reinvention doesn’t necessarily mean you become someone else. Rather it can be a careful peeling back of the layers of the years and the experiences, which shape us, to discover the true and authentic you that lies beneath.
To do this takes time. Sometimes it means focusing our attention on one particular area of life before moving onto the next. This often reaps much greater rewards than longing for a “Big Life Change,” which may never bring you the happiness you thought it would. Sometimes it means weaving a little bit of our future dreams into our everyday now.
I long to live in Spain for half of the year; to have a cottage with an orchard where I would spend my Sundays outside, drinking champagne and pottering around. This isn’t realistic for me now. My responsibilities hold me where I am, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a small piece of this dream each week. I’ve created an oasis in my own little garden, and yes, on Sundays there is always champagne!
Be careful that you don’t spend your whole life dreaming of being someone else, when the person you’re longing for is already buried deep inside.