Yesterday I turned 64 years old. Not a big deal, a million people did the same as me. But I published a post on Instagram about reinvention and in answer to a question that I’ve often asked, and it appears that my words hit home.
Here is what I said:
Reinvention is so important. I absolutely believe that our power and our right to reinvent ourselves at any age, is one of our greatest privileges.
When we make the decision to step out in a new direction, we are being brave; we are showing confidence; we are taking risks; and we are getting ready to have a whole lot of fun.
Ageism – when is it a thing?
People talk about ageism as if it were ubiquitous or inevitable. I know we all feel differently about this. In my own experience the barriers that ageism can create are mostly in my own mind. For example, I sometimes worry about walking into a business rendezvous where I’ll meet new people. “They’ll think I look old, they’ll assume I don’t understand social media, etc.” It’s pretty easy to build up the negative.
In reality, what I have nearly always found is that if I arrive with a smile, well prepared for the meeting, I know my subject inside out and have all the facts at my fingertips, then it’s a breeze. Yes, I’m often the oldest in the room, but hey! my social media figures are bigger than most of those young things!
In reality, it has often happened that at the end of a meeting, a young woman comes up to me, and tells me her own story, and her dreams and thanks me for showing her that the options are endless. Maybe we should start talking about ‘reverse ageism’?!
Reinvention – where to start?
Another thing that happens a lot is that people write to me, or ask me questions and say that they don’t know where to start. They don’t know how to reinvent themselves, they are not sure what to do.
Of course I don’t have the answer to everyone’s individual situation. I can only tell my own story and how it played out for me. And how I followed my heart and what I enjoyed the most.
In 2010, having been a full time mum for 20 years, I felt the need to reinvent myself. My kids didn’t need me as much as they used to, and I was dangerously close to boredom. I started a blog in February 2010, and to my surprise I found an audience. I was quickly hooked on blogging. It was such a learning curve: how to use a computer; how to take photos; how to use social media….. the whole process was very intuitive and creative, and I was happy!
I maintained the blog for over 5 years, posting every day or almost, and building up a strong community. I’ll always be grateful to the people who started following me at that time, and for the friendships I made in the blogging world.
In 2015 I was offered a book contract by Gibbs Smith, and another in 2017. Having books changed everything. They gave me a credibility that I couldn’t earn from blogging alone.
In 2017 I hired my first team member, and we launched the subscription boxes, we grew the tours and in 2019 started the magazine.
I worked hard, I got lucky, but most of all I followed my heart and started talking about something that I loved and found interesting.
Moral of the story, there is no point (I think) in carving out an artificial path to reinvention. It has to be authentic, and it has to make you happy. And most of all….
…Start before you are ready
This is just plain and simple. If you are waiting until your check list is completely ticked off, until you are completely ‘ready’ for your reinvention, then you’ll probably be waiting a long time because that moment never really comes. Start before you’re ready, your plans and ideas will evolve and you’ll figure it out as you go. I promise.
Age is just a number…. right?
Society’s opinion on age is evolving so fast. 60 may well be the new 40; 80 may be the new 50… who knows?! The important thing is doing our best to stay healthy, being kind, being honest and working with what we’ve got.
I believe that with age comes endurance and a deeper understanding of the world around us. With the passing years we have an experience that cannot be bought on-line. Every mistake we have made, and every right decision we have taken serve to help us make the best decisions in the future. There is no point in worrying about the numbers, it’s better to use our energy living and enjoying the moment.
Voila, my two cents worth on why I feel so strongly about reinvention. I know that many of you are wondering about your next step, or have also walked some interesting reinvention paths, and if you would like to share them in the comments below, I’m sure we’d love to hear.
photos 2 & 3 by Franck Schmitt