This is society’s current wish, right?
Many of us have had to take a good look at our lives and then admit, “this ain’t it!”
Most of us crave renivention and the ability to restart our lives.
Many of us long to leave the lives we’ve built. The same lives that keep us trapped.
Aren’t you designed to wrangle this crazy thing call life and squeeze all of the juice out of it that you can?
What if you could travel back in time and reclaim those childhood dreams that lived in your head before they were replaced with worries about mortgages, ridiculous co-workers, unappreciative bosses and few , if any, opportuntities to really “shine”?
Well, you can’t go back.
Or can you?
Whatever you’ve been longing for also longs for you and …
There is no other crazy time to really go for it than during a global pandemic.
Let me take you back to the beginning of this pandemic.
How I Survived a Plague
On March 16th,2020, my life became a Science Fiction novel.
We were called into the office and told to stay at home and that we’d be back in the office in three weeks.
We were given some kind words and a large industrial sized roll of toilet paper. In many ways, we were being groomed for the apocalypse.
Fifteen months into this disaster and as a country we still hadn’t figured out the best way to move forward in a way that would provide all kinds of helpful solutions to benefit everyone.
For more than a year, we watched news reports and engaged in some collective hand-wringing while trying to figure out daily tasks (going to work, eating, seeing loved ones)which required very little planning prior to the pandemic.
What we’ve learned and been reduced to is “survival”. As a species no group is more adaptable and innovative than human beings.
When we are seeking survival techniques and solutions the question often becomes: What is is our problem and how do we fix it?
Human beings learned to fix it. We changed our behavior and created new ways to work and love and connect.
Gradually, things began to shift. People began reevaluating their priorities. Many folks voluntarily left their jobs.
And this is where it gets interesting.
How I Reinvented Myself
When your doctor gives you a death sentence (go on medication or risk getting a stroke), you stop what you’re doing and make a change.
Right before the pandemic, I was told to change my behavior and my health status or risk becoming a statistic.
In my survival state, my thinking was simple: It is the apocalypse. Hot Wings, carne asada fries and pizza became my go-to and the only way I could handle this stressful and unheard of situation.
Apparently, black and male and 52 means prescriptions and poor health.
Many times life will offer you a loving nudge that says “this ain’t it”.
When that is ignored we get a kick in the chicklets- a health scare, a global pandemic, a sick loved one whose health issues could have been prevented. Once this happens, you are forced to change or die. If you’re lucky, you get the combo platter wherein you get the loving nudge and a drop kick in the groceries.
I was getting headaches and dizzy spells which took me to the doctor. When confronted with the news of being dangerously close to a stroke and wanting to dance at the wedding of my fourteen year old grandson’s wedding, I made some changes.
I gave up meat, dairy and all animal products.
What began as a thirty day project quickly became a movement.
I’m not sure if this would have happened had the pandemic not occured. What matters is that I took a chance on me and made my life work in a very different way.
Reinvention is never simple or easy.
For starters, it’s tempting to make a big overhaul of your life. Simply dump everything all at one time.
This is a recipe for disaster and just leaves us stuck and unable to make life-affirming choices.
Here’s another way to approach it- start small.
Recently, I read a life changing book, Atomic Habits. In this wonderful life guide, the author mentions small changes (establishing a new habit that takes less than two minutes to complete and can be tied to an existing habit).
Part of my reinvention involves my own personal health revolution (releasing forty pounds and getting off blood pressure medication). To do this I’ve added two minutes of exercise to my morning routine: five push ups, jumping jacks, crunches and a plank).
According to the author what matters is changing the system your using and updating your identitity.
What matters is how I identify myself. I now see my self as a healthy person who exercises.
I also see myself as a person committed to living to be one hundered plus.
With this highly revamped self image adding exercise into my reinvention story is quick and easy.
When I get ready to stuff my face, I recall this health commitment.
How I Created a Life That Makes Me Insanely Happy
To create a life that you love you must believe it’s possible despite outward appearances. This is very hard to do in a society that focuses on the visible for evidence.
When I was younger, we were taught that being insanely happy was for drugged out hippies aand white folks. We were schooled that being black meant a life of struggle and never having enough.
Like children who fear invisible monsters who lurk under beds and live in cluttered closets, we often rely on “good sense”, experience and should-know-betters to drive our lives and determine our destiny. This is often the reason we don’t reach for more or do more.
We don’t understand that when we live fully it allows and compels others to do the same. Each time I’ve followed my gut it’s been scary and rewarding.
It doesn’t mean I was any less fearful. It just means that like Seth Godin says: I’ve learned to dance with the fear.
During the pandemic, I changed my eating then recorded this new knowledge in a documentary film.
I created a butt load of happiness by learning to make films, reconnecting with friends, taking online courses and increasing my day job value by completing coursework towards a teaching credential.
Part of surviving a tragedy is understanding that shit will happen.
You can do this. You can reinvent and go for the things you imagined as a child.
Who do you want to become in order to thrive , reinvent yourself and become insanely happy?