Reinventing Yourself After Retirement is a desirable and worthy goal for many new retirees. It was certainly something I was excited about when I retired early. Retirement is a popular life-event to look at as the kickoff point for personal reinvention. If you think about it, retiring in itself is taking a step toward recreating yourself. Escaping the rat race is a major life change that allows us to take our life in a different direction.
Reinventing yourself isn’t limited to career or work related changes although many of us retirees choose to pursue part-time work or start an encore career after retiring from our long-held careers. Think of reinventing yourself or if you prefer recreating yourself as including a refocused effort towards living a positive lifestyle and personal based changes.
Reinventing Yourself – It’s About Change
The word “Reinvent” in reinventing yourself doesn’t mean inventing something totally new. We are already a functioning creation. Nope, it means changing something that is already there and making it different and hopefully better. If not changing or recreating yourself for the better then why even bother?
I have found that reinventing or recreating yourself starts with embracing change. Whether our personal reinvention goals are large or small, it starts with making changes based on the total sum of our life’s experience. It is from accessing our experiences that we decide our new direction.
Recreating yourself should use what you have experienced in the past to help you define the better future-you and the way you want to live.
Reinventing Yourself – The Process
Move on and let go.
This is a new skill that anyone wanting to reinvent themselves needs to practice.
Shed the work/career identity. Too many of us identified ourselves as our career or the work that we did. Begin the process of separating yourself from your past career so that you don’t experience feeling a loss of identity.
You can move on and let go of the idea that YOU are linked to your past career by focusing on what you are interested in and passionate about doing going forward.
This process also includes moving on and letting go of anything that you see and feel as holding you back. Look at habits, methods, even people who you do not want to be part of your reinvention. Drop them from you life’s negative influences whether it’s a physical or a mindset change.
Think about what you enjoy doing, what you are good at doing, who you enjoy being around, and how you WANT to spend your time NOW.
- Reinventing yourself begins with thinking about exactly what you want to change for the better and then taking the steps to do it. Create a vision for the perfect reinvention outcome. One where you can envision what your life will be like. What it will feel like. What it will look like.
Then begin the process to bring it to your life. Digging deep to pin down your passions can be a huge task. Think of it as a list of many things that you have done and experienced that you loved and enjoyed doing.
Remember times when you were in total bliss and time stood still. It is those kinds of experiences that gives us a glimpse at what we should do with our time. Forget now about your past career mindset where you dropped such thoughts of doing your thing in favor of practicality.
Now is the time to set aside practicality and focus on what your-thing truly is. Picture whether they are things that you would like to focus on doing going forward.
Be open to the idea that it is OK that some things won’t be as we envisioned and are no longer a good fit. Our passions change. Reinventing, recreating yourself isn’t a onetime event. It is a process and one with many possible outcomes.
- There will be many ways to cobble together all of your passion focused abilities, talents, and skills that you have experienced and identified. Figure out ways to combine them toward your goals and develop a plan of action.
Mine your past to find your gold and walk past your mud.
We all have elements of our past that we would rather not repeat or have happen to us again.
Some of the passions we want to focus on may come with undesirable attachments. Reinventing yourself allows you to detach them.
Understand what you really want and recognize that there may have to be compromises.
- Finding too much mud attached to any gold you have mined might mean it is no longer a good fit to pursue. Know and set limits to how far you are willing to compromise to ensure you are recreating yourself to be a better and happier you.
Continually move forward.
Be willing to accept that the path to reinvention can zig-zag all over the place as long as it is still moving forward towards your goals.
If it is not moving forward then remember that you do have influence over your own life and for this journey you get to make changes when you see fit to.
Understand and honestly assess the likelihood of your reinvention results meeting your desired goals. Consider and recognize the reasons or possibility of alternative outcomes.
- Adjust your mindset to accept that when reinventing yourself that your future isn’t going to go in a straight line to a single right destination. It will most likely be a winding road so enjoy the ride and keep your eyes open for new opportunities, changes in your passions, and setting a path for a new destination.
Reinventing yourself sounds like a huge task but it is all about being able to make the necessary changes to change the direction you want your life to go in. The keys are in your life’s experiences.
Reinvention isn’t an event. Reinvention is a process and one that doesn’t end. We continually grow and our passions change.
As for my reinvention, I retired from my Career Driven Mindset to a Passion Driven Mindset that included an encore career and a second early retirement. I have no idea if and when I might choose to begin a new paying opportunity.
There are also my set limits because this version of me, the early retired me who wants to live a “retire early and often” lifestyle insists on putting family and happiness first.
I have happily taken my life’s focus in a new direction a couple of different times since retiring. Reinventing yourself through change is a beautiful thing when you get to decide to follow what is truly important to you and passionate about pursuing.
There is no room for any of the mud from my first career and I do successfully set limits. Anyone can succeed once they know what it is that they want to accomplish in their personal reinvention.