Like candy corn in October, New Year's resolutions are popping up everywhere. And most are likely to fade unfulfilled by February.
Maybe you want to make a huge change because you don't like who you are. Or, maybe, you are content -- even thrilled -- with the "me" you are now, but circumstances are making it impossible to continue on the same path. Either way, reinventing yourself is no easy task.
I know. In the early 1990s, I was savoring my identity as a busy "MD" -- Mommy/Doctor. But I was also struggling with illness.
Two years earlier, my original cancer diagnosis had jolted me, for sure. I can still hear the gasp of my friends and remember my sinking feeling when my five-year-old daughter made the innocent comment, "Mom used to be a doctor."
At the time, I hoped the chemo I'd just started would cure me. It didn't.
Repeated courses of treatment kept the disease at bay. But it became clear I had to hang up my white coat, leaving me to ask: Who am I now?
With guidance and support, I found answers I could live with. These answers formed the foundation of my new life that incorporated the losses, changes and demands of my chronic illness. By trading in my stethoscope for a proverbial pen (i.e., computer keyboard), I set the stage for meaning and joy in whatever time I might have.
You can reinvent yourself, if you want to or need to. Here are a few suggestions:
- Take time to reflect on who you were and who you want to become.
- As you move forward, grieve the loss of who you were -- even if you hated being that person.
- Expect growing pains and setbacks -- discomforts accompany change, no matter how much you desire, prepare for and welcome the change.
- Once you've grieved your losses, keep your focus on all you have gained -- and the possibility of future gains.
Lastly and paradoxically, I encourage you to let go of the old you and hold onto it. Just as I had to honor the clinician I was in order to embrace the writer I was to become, you may need to remember who you were while reinventing yourself. Creating a sense of continuity between who you were, who you are, and who you hope to become can help you feel whole.
The act of turning the calendar page to a new year tempts us with the promise of a new beginning: A time to right the wrongs and grow stronger, wiser, kinder, richer, happier, whatever-er.... In fact, every day is an invitation to reinvent yourself. Whether you are considering minor tweaks or striving for a complete turnaround, learn from yesterday, find some happiness today and nourish hope for a better tomorrow.
Causes Wendy Harpham Supports
All Cancer Causes, especially Lymphoma Research Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society, National Coalition for Cancer...