Do you really want to “reinvent” yourself?
Reinvent yourself! This seems to be the hot advice lately, but I think it has led many a woman to cast off parts of herself and her life unnecessarily. This push to “reinvent” myself rubs me the wrong way, making it sound like I’m not good enough as I am, that I need a total re-do to have any value.
I have spent my life studying, learning, listening, working, and gaining experience. As a navy wife, we moved often, and at each new place, I’d have to find new activities or a new job. At one point, I wondered, Will all of these odd things I’ve done ever fit together? At my husband’s last duty station, I was hired by a hospital to be the Coordinator of their Employee Assistance Program. The job required that I use all of my skills: teaching, writing, helping businesses improve their employee relationships and personal skills, conducting supervisor training, and counseling. It even added a new one – marketing the EAP program. It stretched me in directions I didn’t know I could go, but was deeply satisfying. It seemed that I had spent decades just so I could do this job well. Nothing I learned has gone to waste, I decided.
Why, then, would I want to reinvent myself, giving up all the experiences and lessons learned? There are words I feel much better describe what’s required for the future than reinvent. “Integrate,” for example, means to make into a whole by joining a system of parts. Other definitions of integrate include: to make part of a united whole, combine, embody, incorporate. Why would I want to chuck everything and start over? Wouldn’t it be better to “blend, coordinate, synthesize, and unify” elements of my life? To me, these better reflect a positive approach for my future. I’m fine right now, but I’ll be even better if I continue to grow – not trash – myself.
You, too, must choose. Do you really want to reinvent yourself, or decide instead to integrate the pieces of your life in ways that make you a mature, fully-blooming woman?