I’ve written my story on here before…about eating food from the garbage…about going without a paycheck for months when I got laid off…about crying over spilled milk.
But there’s another story too – one of reinvention and new beginnings.
I’ve started over many times when I realized the life I was living was a burden instead of a blessing. Anyone can do it- they just have to be willing to let go of the things that do not fit into the life of which they dream. It’s that simple (and that difficult) to reinvent your life.
All of us have different dreams and goals. Some of us have to be cognizant of the wishes of other people and others have the ability to be free as a bird. What you have to figure out are the following things:
- Where do you want to be in life?
- What do you want to keep?
- What are you willing to release?
Those three things are the key to the reinvention of oneself.
How do you want to reinvent your life?
Do you have any Big Goals that seem totally out of reach? What are they? No holding back – if you could do anything or be anywhere, what would your future look like?
Maybe you want to change things where you can afford for one parent to be home with the kids. Maybe you want a farm out in the country where you can raise your food. Maybe you want to retire early, pay off your house and be debt-free…whatever your Big Goal, never think that it’s out of your reach. Think instead, about what it would take to make it within your reach.
Here’s how I changed my life…more than once.
I’ve made some pretty dramatic changes. Many years ago, I left a relationship that wasn’t positive for anyone involved. It was not just scary – it was terrifying. I went from being a stay at home mom to one who was struggling to pay for rent and daycare. But I reached a point at which the security I was receiving from being in that relationship was no longer worth the other tolls I paid.
I left nearly everything behind. I took the bedroom furniture for the girls and a few odds and ends. I found a minuscule apartment. I got a cat. I painted everything pink.
I created a new life, just like that, because I was able to release my grip on the security. Something else – my peace of mind and my happiness – was worth more.
Fast forward years later when I took the opportunity to cash out my retirement fund and leave a good job to strike out on my own and start a business. I let go of many of our possessions, left our friends, and drove 7 hours north to live in a teeny tiny cabin in the Algonquin Forest that was off-grid almost as often as it was on. That cabin cost a third of what city rent cost, and by reducing my expenses, I was able to give my new venture everything I had.
And it was successful because I was able to release the things that weren’t getting me to my dream.
I’ve moved repeated times to follow dreams. I’ve let go of many things over the years. I’ve lived in the forests of Canada, had a homestead in Northern California, and lived in suburbia in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. For me, as long as I had my girls and they were safe, happy, and well-cared-for, I have been willing to walk away from everything else.
A few years ago, I sold all my stuff and took off to travel the world. My youngest baby was out of the nest, so I decided to go for it. I left with two suitcases and a laptop and had the joy of living in 3 countries and visiting several others. I had to return and regroup during the COVID Pandemic, but then I pushed toward new dreams that included beaches, local wine, and farm-fresh food in Mexico.
It sounds like I’ve lived the exciting life of a wealthy person, and exciting is true – but the wealth is not. The things I’ve done are things that others can do, too.
You just have to have a clear picture in your head of where you want to be. The rest is just about negotiation.
What do you want to keep?
My priorities have always been kids, pets, and books. I have a real affinity for the books I’ve collected throughout my life and I inherited lots more from my father. Everything else, I can really take or leave.
For you, the priority may be different. Your priority could be your partner, a piece of land, being near loved ones, a collection of some sort that is meaningful to you. Nobody can choose the priorities except for you.
To make successful changes, the first thing to identify is what you want to stay the same – what you treasure.
What can you release?
Do you have things you may need to release to reach your dreams and reinvent your life? This, again, is as wide and varied as we human beings are.
When I went to Europe, I let go of all of my clothing that didn’t fit in two suitcases. Most of my shoes and purses? History. Furniture? See ya later, alligator. Car? After while, crocodile. If it didn’t fit in my suitcases or the small room of my daughter’s house that I had rented, then it was gone. As far as “stuff” is concerned, I have clothing, books, a few old typewriters, and a couple of pieces of furniture my father had made by hand. I regret nothing.
What are the things holding you back from reaching your goals? Is it an expensive vehicle? A home that’s too big? Too much “stuff”? A job you have to have to pay for all your stuff? Think about what life would be like without the weight of all these things and then what it would be like if you released them. I’m not telling you to get rid of sentimental treasures – just part with the things you don’t actually require to be happy. You’ll feel much lighter.
Then make a plan to reinvent your life.
What do you need to be able to reach your dream?
Probably money. That tends to be a big sticking point in dream-chasing. Your next step is to take a look at your budget and create a plan to reach your Big Goal. If you can sell some of the things you’re releasing, that can go right into your Big Goal fund. If you can reduce your living expenses by getting a smaller place, using public transit, etc., then you’ll be that much closer to your goal.
Keep that Big Goal at the forefront of your mind, and there’s nothing you can’t achieve!
How do you keep from getting sidetracked?
Saving up for something can be a real challenge when everyday life butts in, reminding you of what your friends are buying, where they’re going, or what they’re eating. Temptation is everywhere from the cold, refreshing water at the gas station on a hot summer day to the cute little doo-hickey in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Here are a few of the ways I stay on track if I want to reinvent my life.
- Pictures everywhere. Whatever the Big Goal is, I have photos of it everywhere: my screensaver on my phone, the background on my laptop, tucked behind a magnet on the fridge. It’s always at the forefront.
- Wrapped around my bank card. Nothing makes you think twice about spending money more than having something that symbolizes your Big Goal wrapped around your bank or credit card. I only carry a bank card with me most of the time, and I have a picture that represents my goal folded in half around it, held in place by a rubber band.
- Tracking the savings daily. I try to put away at least a small amount of money every day toward my Big Goal. I have a savings account particularly for it. I move over at least a small amount of money every day, even if it’s only $5. That way I can really watch it add up. It’s always motivational when you’re getting close to a milestone like $100, $500, or $1000 that sometimes I’ll end up taking the money I was planning to spend on something right now and add it to the account to push me over the goal.
You can probably see a pattern here – keeping your goal at the front of your mind at all times is the way to maintain your focus on saving the money you need to reach your Big Goals.
What is your Big Goal? How will you reinvent your life?
How your life is today isn’t how your life has to be tomorrow unless you want it to be that way. Do you want to make dramatic changes and reinvent your life? What is your Big Goal? What’s your plan for achieving it? Let’s discuss it in the comments.