In Bobbing for Watermelons, Helen is a middle-aged housewife who takes steps to reinvent herself: joins a gym, gets a new ‘do, buys a new car. While these are effective ways to present a new you, might I offer three, unconventional methods, for reinvention:
1. Move. Choose a city or town (at least 500 miles away) where no one knows you and pack up the car. Better yet, leave everything. You can’t very well bring your eraser collection if you are aiming to reinvent yourself. Same with the snow globes. Let this be a chance for the whole family to reinvent themselves! (Little Jimmy probably wouldn’t mind a “new” sister.) You can be whomever you please. Develop an accent while you’re at it. Become Penny from England and wear flower print dresses and dainty cardigans. You may need to change your name, based on what Google displays when your name is searched. In fact, think Witness Protection Program. Check their online guidelines and follow those.
Is a move too drastic? Perhaps try this:
2. Quit your day job. Ever see those National Geographic documentaries that reveal the nocturnal wildlife that materialize when the infrared lights come on? Same thing happens in the rest of the world. It’s as if Bob at Home Depot emerges from the rolls of carpet, restocks the nuts and bolts section, then disappears behind the linoleum. While you were being your old self, an entire population of folks were sleeping after working the night shift. This is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and become Bob. Be legendary Bob. Okay, that might be too Boo Radley, but working the graveyard shift at a security company might bring out the mysterious nocturnal side of your personality that you (and everyone else) didn’t know you had.
Still too drastic? Fine.
3. Grocery shop at a different day and time. It’s been shown that what we put in our grocery cart is directly correlated with what music the store is playing at the time. It can mean the difference between buying several pints of Haagen Dazs because of Annie Lennox, or spinach and rice cake because of Ricky Martin (particularly during bikini season). There’s a reason grocery stores play depressing music from the 80s and 90s; you’re more likely to fill your cart with food. This last week, I hit the store at 9:00 a.m. on Friday and I left feeling old and washed up. Early Mariah Carey, Richard Marx and Rick Astley played on a continuous loop, reminding me that I had no exciting plans for the night. The stores know this and keep the ice cream and junk food aisles stocked. Based on my research, Monday evenings between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., is when you are more likely to hear upbeat, kale-buying music. Your case of the Mondays is nearly over and you’ve chosen Tuesday morning to start your fitness routine. But beware: you may buy healthier items when Olivia Newton John sings, “Let’s Get Physical” or you may buy whipped cream. Be strong. Jimmy Buffet tends to inspire people to buy more greens. Hence, green smoothies. And everyone knows green smoothies are a staple of reinvention.
You may not be ready for these unconventional methods, so you might want to start with learning a new hobby, sign up to volunteer with an organization, or simply read a book about a subject matter new to you. Regardless of what you decide, think about one area of your life that needs rebooting and go for it.