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The New Me

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.

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every day is an invitation to reinvent yourself

How true! A great way to look at life. I'm in an interesting position. Each day I work on how to conclude. What is the right way, the effective way to deal with all the things in my life. So many things need to find a new home. I'm always alert to recognizing when that "new home" comes to my attention.  I examine what surrounds me to know what is no longer necessary. Remove the clutter.

Simplify! Simplify! is the motto on a sweatshirt I was given. That's my aim. It gives me a sense of freedom. I want to feel free to move on when the time comes. And I don't want to leave a heap of stuff behind for someone else to deal with. A recent change in my life has brought even more clarity to how I should proceed. And it has brought a new kind of happiness.

God bless you, Wendy, and all your efforts 

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Dear Dolores,

Best wishes with your simplification mission. I've begun a similar decluttering of my home.

Glad you enjoyed the post.

With hope, Wendy

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All Writers Have Their Masks

From Shakespeare's time down to W.B. Yeats, and now to hundreds of millions on the Internet, those who put pens to foolscap, type to paper, cyber to space, we have had our pseudonyms . . . our avatars.  May yours serve you for many years, Wendy!