You Don’t Have to be What You’ve Always Been

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I’ve been thinking a lot about and have been empowered by the idea of reinventing yourself.

This idea first became a thing in my world when Jen Hatmaker wrote about it in one of her books and then I saw her speak on-stage about it. And then Rachel Hollis has incorporated this similar sentiment in a lot of her writing and speaking too. So it’s not my original thought per se, but I’m not convinced anything is anymore.

What I’ve learned from them is . . . just because you’ve always been one way, or have always been one thing, or have always acted one way, or have always dressed one way, or have always had certain preferences one way, or have always had the same routine . . .doesn’t mean you always have to be that way. As you get older, learn more things, get exposed to new situations, or the world itself evolves — you’re allowed to evolve too. And I find that very empowering!

I think we often get into a routine. That routine is what we do every day. How we spend our time. What we eat. What we wear. The job we do. The TV shows or songs or movies we like. The way we like to spend the weekend. The house we live in. We do certain things day-in-and-day-out. The routine is built on our preferences or even survival in some situations. And wrapped around those routines are a whole host of people who have experiences and interactions with us, leading us to ultimately play a role in their life. That role may be “coworker,” it may be “friend I go out to eat with,” it may be “friend that is an expert in such-in-such field,” it may be “relative that lives in such-in-such city.” And eventually, (whether it’s conscious or subconscious) we kind of don’t want those things anymore. We realize that high heels are uncomfortable or we want to adapt the way we dress to the new styles we like. We want to change our hair color, or get bangs — only to later regret getting bangs (ladies, am I right?!). We want to try new things. We want to move from the city to farmland, or move from farmland to the city. We want to change careers. We want to start businesses. We want to be a vegetarian, or go back to eating meat after having been a vegetarian. We want to sell everything and become a minimalist. We want to take a sabbatical. We want to go back to school. We want to drop the nickname we had when we were little and go by a different name. We want to listen to different music. We want to try new hobbies. We want to drive a different car. We want to be involved in church, or we want to explore other religions.

We just change.

We evolve.

But for some reason, mainly because it can be uncomfortable for others, we continue playing the role we’ve always played. We say things like, “well, if I could live ANYWHERE I want, I would live in (insert a state on the other side of the country),” or if I ACTUALLY started my own business, I’d be (insert secret lifelong dream),” or “I love big hair bows and flowy dresses but I could NEVER wear them.”

Here’s the good news . . .

You can.

You can actually do all of those things.

You have the free pass, permission, and empowerment to reinvent yourself and be whatever the heck you want to be. I acknowledge that certain seasons of life (e.g. if you have a newborn, you have an aging parent you’re caring for, you’re walking through a hard medical time) can temporarily limit some of the larger changes; but you still have permission to rearrange the furniture in your home or change out all of your curtains because you no longer like the color gray.

It may be as simple as you want to be someone who listens to audio books instead of reading hard copies even though you’ve been a loyal shopper of the local bookstore. Or it may be as big as moving across the country to change the industry you work in. But the ball is in your court.

You don’t have to be what you’ve always been.

You don’t have to play a role that doesn’t fit anymore.

You can reinvent yourself over and over and over.

You’re allowed.