Hackernoon logoReinvent Yourself by@erikabaum

Reinvent Yourself

In the blink of an eye, everything I had worked, lived and fought for, during the last 5 years of my life, was gone all of a sudden. My whole life changed, turning 180º to the exact opposite direction, and nobody asked me for permission! To reinvent yourself is basically to change, to show yourself in a different or new way…it’s kind of like being reborn. We can stay in the comfort of yesterday, of what we once knew and wanted; or we can make the best of these pauses life forces upon us, by turning things around.
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@erikabaumErika Baum

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You know that feeling when all of a sudden the world stops, and you are asked to get off, and you feel like Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”? Well, that’s how my 2015 started. In the blink of an eye, everything I had worked, lived and fought for, during the last 5 years of my life, was gone all of a sudden. My whole life changed, turning 180º to the exact opposite direction, and nobody asked me for permission! Because,

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” — John Lennon

Many times we choose a direction, and we decide that things are supposed to happen a certain way. It’s part of what keeps us centered, focused and determined to reach our goals or simply live our lives a certain way…and all that is ok, I guess. The problem arises when the bus breaks down halfway up the hill, and you have to get off and decide if you want to keep hiking the rest of the way, carrying that heavy baggage, or if it’s time to turn around, drop the baggage and change course.

In my opinion, it all begins with resignation. The first step is to recognize what you are going through, look at it straight in the face, and decide how you are going to let it affect you. The second step — which is more fun, albeit terrifying — is reinvention. To reinvent yourself is basically to change, to show yourself in a different or new way…it’s kind of like being reborn. Every time something significant and decisive happens in our lives — loosing a job, loosing someone you care about, ending a relationship, going out of business — we see the need to accept what is, find your North Star and embark on a new adventure.

But it’s not easy! Reinvention is a choice: we can stay in the comfort of yesterday, of what we once knew and wanted; or we can make the best of these pauses life forces upon us, by turning things around and doing something completely new and different. Yes, reinvention usually comes after a very difficult episode in life (no fun at all), but very few people have the lucky opportunity — yes, it is something great and to be grateful for! — to start again from scratch, staring at a blank page of a new book, where they can write, scribble and dribble anything they want. I’m going to repeat that: anything you want!

“Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself they way you wish you had been all along.” — Rae Smith

And what do we get by reinventing ourselves? Aside from the obvious — reinvention — we get to live, evolve and grow. Throughout my life, transformation has become the key to my happiness. I’ve have been inspired by a mix of people, experiences, books, nature…but probably because I love music and I always carry it within me, a huge part of my inspiration comes from song lyrics and the life of music idols, or just influencers of any kind! Leaders, thinkers, performers, mentors…regular people, living a life just like you and me that push themselves to get out there, try something new, change habits, or just start walking in another direction because their old ways are not working in their favor anymore. People who realize that there is much more to life than they originally thought, and who feel the need to grow, in whichever way.

Is it scary? Why, yes! TERRIFYING! Nobody suggests the opposite. But there really is no other way to evolve, unless you prefer to stay in the comfort — or discomfort — of simply surviving. In my short (ehemm) years of life, I’ve lived quite a lot of adventures (haven’t we all?), and I’ve had to reinvent myself many times. And here I am again. Many people label me as fierce, brave, courageous, adventurous…and I really appreciate the compliments! (You must be thinking: “who the dickens does this girl think she is?”…it doesn’t really matter). Point is, I have a confession to make: I have always felt afraid! Panicky, if you will… But that has not kept me from doing all the things I’ve wanted to do. Well, at first it did (I was one to freeze easily), until I learned that the only way to do it is to just jump off the cliff — with a parachute on my back, nonetheless…although sometimes there was no parachute to reach for.

And yes, I have made many mistakes… quite a lot, frankly. But isn’t that what life is all about? In the end, after climbing mountains (or hills that felt like the Everest sometimes!), leaping off into countless abysses, and giving it my all — even when I didn’t receive anything in return, or had no idea whatsoever what I was doing — I can truly say I have discovered something quite wonderful: myself.

[Insert my hymn of 2015: “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, which I dedicate to myself ❤]

I invite you to venture and challenge yourself. Dare to stop standing on the edge of the abyss, feeling how your legs tremble (or your whole body, for that matter). Believe me, once you take the leap, you’ll stop thinking about the trembling… ‘cause you’re going to have to come up with ways to land on your two feet! — sometimes you will break a bone or two…that’s fine.

By the way, please don’t feel overwhelmed. Taking the plunge doesn’t necessarily mean: leaving it all behind (specially when you have children or a family), and starting from scratch with nothing. It just means leaving all that is not working for you, or daring to make that change in your life that you know you need.

Before I go, I want to leave you with some food for thought by George Eliot:

“It’s never to late to be what you might have been.”

Ok…now go, make us all proud!

PS: If you are thinking, “Ok…but, HOW do I Reinvent Myself?”…don’t worry, I’ve got your back!

Note: this article was previously published in Spanish on March 2015, by GoGo Magazine (a Latin-American urban-pop culture, design, fashion print magazine, if you will).

Thank you for reading ❤

If you like my rants, I can certainly entertain you with more! I will try my best to create meaningful material you will hopefully enjoy.

All the love back to you ❤

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