Reinvention is a curious thing. Sometimes it’s purposeful, like Madonna with a new costume, however, for me it has been a constant process of falling into the new me. I call this a “God turning messes into messages” thing. I believe the natural reinvention process must happen for us to grow.
I was having this mini conversation with myself the other day (this happens often). I was thinking about the ways that I have changed over time. In my teens and early twenties I was a ball of all consuming fire. I had things to accomplish and opinions that could not be quieted or changed. I ran 100 miles a minute and accomplished so much that I think about that girl and hardly recognize her. I remember vividly the feeling that would overcome me, like the hulk, blood boiling, temper rising, Cubarican turned on high! Incoming! I had immense energy, unrivaled passion, 1000 dreams to attack, and a checklist of things I would do by the time I was 30 (to include a wonderful husband, 3 beautiful bambinos, and a white picket fence). I learned that this notion of what success would look like would be reinvented!
I also remember in my younger years, feeling the awkward uneasiness that I called relationships. It didn’t matter the type, there were enough times I remember feeling misunderstood or unaccepted. Was I too alpha female? Was it the constant moving that led me to feel distraught, constantly starting over with peers who had known each other their whole lives? Was it that I lacked some social skill because my siblings and I were forced to be so close that we rarely needed others in our dynamics? Whatever the reason, I remember being conscious of my inability to make my so called friends act like friends. This trickled into my adulthood, but left me realizing that not everyone valued friendship as I did. Not a fault of mine or theirs, just a miscalculation. I had to reinvent what it meant to be a friend to those who did not carry their weight in this department and realized I had great friends who I was overlooking.
Part of my reinvention was realizing that it was ok to be misunderstood or even under valued. Some people wouldn’t see how awesome I was, that was ok!
The summer I decided to graduate and begin my Masters program, I completed 24 hours of course work at the University of South Carolina, only getting an average of three hours of sleep nightly. How did I do that!
Meanwhile, during this period of 10 years, I was accomplishing my goals and coping with detours (3 deployments with the Army Reserves), a failed marriage, and a premature midlife crisis. My dreams were not unfolding as I had hoped, all my hard work and education seemed to all be byproducts of some illusion. While I NOW know that this was all part of the refining process to make me who I am, at the time, my life unraveled at quite a different picture than I had planned. I coped with a tiny happy pill my doctor prescribed. Lexapro did the job to get me over that hump of reality. I wanted to be swallowed up by my bed’s sheets or just blend in with the wallpaper of my life….
This time taught me valuable lessons though. I learned the sanctity of marriage and importance of being equally yolked, that money comes and goes and that my body was my temple and had to be cared for; I learned that my family was my only constant and a part of an immense support system. Since this period, the lesson continued to unravel. It’s never-ending and it’s exciting to know I am not this same woman day after day, but growing into that masterpiece. I have learned to love myself before others (a hard one to actualize); I have learned that marriage is sacred; I have learned that God gives us second chances; I have learned that you are not defined by your career but instead by your passions; I have learned that true friends are rare; I have learned that only healthy relationships are worthy of my presence; I have learned that sometimes you just have to be.
Then it happened! I turned 30 and God gave me the most beautiful gift ever! I somehow woke up in beautiful Australia, the week that I turned 30, and felt a burden had been lifted. Somehow, turning the golden 30 forced me to reinvent myself in wonderfully mysterious ways! All the energy of my twenties was converted to this woman who said “No worries” to almost everything and was ok with not planning a darn thing. My brain started to work more efficiently and this was The Dawn of Christine’s Glorious Reinvention.
I am now conscious of the fact that I should have taken more time to smell the roses. But who cares now, the time of my 20’s is long past and I won’t get it back, but I do know that I learned so much about life and love, friendships and family, and most importantly, I have learned about myself. God showed me to just be me.
The power of reinvention is the greatest tool we have towards self-improvement. The irony being that we are not really reinventing anything. No energy is created or destroyed after-all. The laws of science tell us that there are only shifts in energy! This makes me wonder. When people say that they reinvented themselves, did they really do anything new, or did they just do what they knew they should have done all along, because they had the power and love was with them the entire time.