Reinventing ourselves

I wonder if the notion that it’s never too late to change, to reinvent ourselves and try something new, is primarily an American phenomenon? It sounds like something that would be associated with a young country. A little bit naive, but still admirable in a plucky sort of way.

I was reading Time magazine this morning and learned that Nancy Pelosi first ran for office at the age of 47. Regardless of how anyone feels about her politics, the fact is that she’s a very powerful person and has experienced great success in this second half of her life.

With the new year fast upon us, it’s the time of new resolutions for a better year ahead. So many people vow to improve themselves in some way in the new year. Reinvent themselves in small ways or large. I wonder how many succeed? We really only hear about the majority who fail and we joke about how short lived our resolutions often are.

But what if you believe that this year you can do it? “It” being whatever you want to improve about yourself or your life, whether it’s losing weight or quitting smoking or learning a language or finally looking seriously for a new job.

I think it’s okay to believe that this is the year. Why not? Here’s a quote from Michael Jordan that I love:

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I was entrusted with making the winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

There are dozens of quotes from wildly famous and successful people that say much the same thing. It’s not delusional to keep trying; it’s naive to believe that you should be able to succeed the first time you make an attempt. And it’s just plain sad when someone tries and fails a time or two, then gives up – if it’s something that they care about to any extent at all.

So I’m going to work on myself again after the holidays. I met with my trainer, Alyssa, today and she said, “well, what are you going to do different?”

And there’s the key.

If a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then there’s truth to that. Better to think of it in terms of another cliche – let no stone go unturned.

This year I started exercising. I can’t believe how much better I feel, how much stronger I am. It has really made a difference in my life and I actually look forward to continuing. That’s huge for a couch potato like me.

Next year, I’m changing my eating habits. I’m not going on a diet. I’m changing how I eat, what I eat, and when I eat. I’ll take one little step at a time. And I do have a plan – a new plan. I am going to follow the Mediterranean diet. Yes, I used that damned “D” word, but I’m going to think of it as more of a new way of eating than a diet with a finite time period.

And this coming year I’m going to devote more time to writing. I will write one travel article per week, even if it’s just a small one, and will spend at least 10 hours researching and writing, planning for trips, etc. I have a book idea, too.

I also have ideas about niche travel. And, I’m going to look into grant writing. See if it’s interesting and lucrative enough to pursue it seriously.

It’s not too late to do these things. (Belatedly – thus the reference to Nancy Pelosi, and apologies to Ms. Pelosi for inferring that 47 is a late start at a new career,      but . . .) I am getting old. Well, I am! But age is relative in so many ways. Maybe I’m getting old, but if I’m healthier and busy and creative and excited about life, the best years of my life may well still be ahead of me. I’d like to think that’s very likely.

Here’s to a happy new year and an optimistic view of resolutions and reinvention.

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