The following quote comes from George Orwell’s 1941 essay: England Your England.
What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of 5 whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantle piece? Nothing. Except you happen to be the same person.
Although I personally have not read this essay it came to me via the opening lines or prologue in Christopher Hitchens book: Hitch-22, A Memoir. (May 2010 Atlantic Books) which I am immersed in for a second time. (His command of language in both writing as well as speech is just as exhilarating to me as watching a sports figure in any sport performing at the top of their game. I may not know exactly how they’re doing it, however, what I do know is there’s something exceptional taking place that commands attention.)
The reason the quote and observation struck me was far too many forget that re-invention or re-defining ones goals and more is exactly what keeps staleness, boredom, and a whole lot of other useless trite away.
You’re not the same person you were when in grade school, nor probably college for that matter. So why would one think they’re the same when looking at their business and personal life? Sure you may have decided 20 years ago to be an accountant, doctor, lawyer, teacher, dentist, mechanic, tattoo artist, _____________ fill in the blank. Yet, does that mean that’s exactly what you want or should be now?
I don’t know the answer that fits you. What I do know, is more likely than not, you haven’t given real thought to it much yourself as to answer it. (True sit down alone time thought.) Most likely you’re doing what you’re doing because – you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing. Not giving it a second thought as to if it’s – what you should be doing.
I’m not saying you need to switch careers, throw 20 years of schooling and 10 years of experience out the window to become an alligator wrestler on a whim because it looked exciting on television. What I am saying is this: “Have you possibly ever given thought to moving in a different direction in your career? Something that possibly lends itself to building on skills you already acquired but aren’t capitalizing on? Or, moving in a totally different direction, location, and lifestyle all together. (I picked and moved to Lexington, KY from New England by basically throwing a dart at a map. But, that’s me.)
An example could be a pediatric doctor deciding to change from seeing patients themselves to teaching pediatrics at some school or giving specialized classes. Or the accountant that stops taking on clients for tax season to begin specializing in helping other tax specialist train in newer accounting methods. Or the former race mechanic that decides to head a race crew in a different motor sport. As I stated before, fill in your own blank.
The mundane becomes mundane for many of us because we build the mundane castle brick by brick, year by year ourselves. Only to one day realize we never left places for windows. Cracking holes in stone walls is a much more laborious task and many will shrug thinking, “Oh well, too late now. Better just invest in more candles.” Which leaves one feeling trapped within a fortified castle of their own making.
The same goes for hobbies, or personal activities. Maybe at one time you went to every concert that came to town. Now? You only watch reruns of those groups when they hit the “Oldies But Goodies Late Night Marathon Parade Of Stars.” Don’t get in that rut.
It’s easy to fall into the familiar only to have the familiar leaving you more with feelings of flat. Try something new. Just don’t be one of those people that tries something new 1 time only to say, “Yep, tried that, and that didn’t work. Back to the couch I guess.” Try something else, and something else, and…. You get the point.
Changing careers, changing habits, and changing pretty much of anything takes a little self-reflection then a little action. You don’t need to start building a Saturn V-5 rocket tomorrow in your backyard because you always thought about going to the moon. You can easily start by going to the museum first. (And hey, If you can build it? Who am I too say no?)
Just as you aren’t the person you were at 5 years old. You’re probably not the person you were 5 years ago. Re-invention of one’s life is the spice of life. Don’t take it for granted.
P.S. Then remember to clear it with your spouse, doctor, lawyer, accountant, whomever, and or NASA first. Just say’n!
© 2013 Mark St.Cyr