Re-Invent Yourself

transformerThese days, it’s easy to get down about things. After all, times aren’t what they used to be. It’s easy to get discouraged to the point of doing nothing, to feel as if your luck has run out. To wonder why everyone else seems to have it better.

If you’re at that point—a point from which I can totally empathize—I want to talk with you.

My Present Situation

I live in small town on an island in the most isolated landmass on Earth–Hawaii. Here, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the world because life is contained, slow and methodical and deliberate.

The people here are kind and decent and the climate is comfortable. The streets are safe and clean, and neighbors look after one another. The beach is 15 minutes away. Because there’s nothing wrong with where I live, I can’t really complain about it.

Yet there’s another side of me that can’t ignore the glaring limitations of a simple life in the counrty. To sum it up: today feels like yesterday and tomorrow feels like today. Next week and next month and next year feel like last week and last month and last year.

Then there’s the economy, which has catalyzed my discontent. Having once felt secure and content with a rural life in Hawaii, I now find myself struggling every waking minute. How will we pay for this? How can I possibly add that to my busy schedule? What, no family vacation this year?

Each morning when I go running with my wife, we see another house up for sale and another family moving away. The price of things go up while the value of things go down. Jobs are nowhere to be found and everyone is cutting back. Blah, blah, blah…we’ve all heard this, right?

And What I’m Doing About It

Tough times in tough places can get you down, but it’s also one of the best times in your life to re-invent yourself.

When the foundations of things you once assumed to be solid are now crumbling, one of the best things to do is purposely set forth the principles of who you are, what you believe in and how you will proceed.

This includes establishing the integrity of your character, the brilliance of your vision and direction of your career. Trim those things from your life you once believed in but are now hollow and excessive and counter-productive. Refuse to give into people who weigh you  down.

Today one of my kids was listening to some Schoolhouse Rock music. It was “The Preamble” song about the US Constitution and how it came about. Listen to it if you get a chance — it’s quite beautiful. They sing about the Founders of the United States and the freedom they sought from a way of life that didn’t work for them:

In 1787 I’m told
Our founding fathers did agree
To write a list of principles
For keepin’ people free.

The U.S.A. was just startin’ out.
A whole brand-new country.
And so our people spelled it out
The things that we should be.

Think of yourself as a Founder of your new destiny. It doesn’t have to as grandiose or sweeping as the Preamble, but you ought to establish some strong convictions that will set the tone and direction of your life moving forward. The lyrics that follow are all too familiar, but certainly worth repeating:

We the people [of the United States],
In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Imagine — the USA setting forth its guidelines in a mere 52 words! I’m sure you can do it in less if you put your mind and heart into it.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  • Ignore everybody
  • Family comes first
  • Don’t settle
  • Have faith
  • Wisdom without kindness is useless

How about you?

Image by azrainman.

12 Replies

  1. damon Reply

    I try to stay strong by realizing that I’m closer now to my family then I was before and hopefully this economy will lift soon enough.

    It is tough for me being the one that is unemployed in my household right now… but I keep plugging away and I know I’ll find a job soon enough.

    I’ve had to totally reinvent who I was “Was” from my last decade over on in a secure State job on Oahu.

    • Charles Reply

      I hear you, Damon. Hard work and faith helps thru tough times. Sure makes for a better perspective when things do turn around for the better.

  2. Louellen Coker Reply

    Part of the beauty of the preamble of our constitution is that the vision our forefathers created so long ago and in such a different time still rings true and is worth working toward. In times of diversity and change, are we reinventing or are we reassessing how we achieve our vision and redirecting our efforts at achieving it?

    • Charles Reply

      Whatever it is we’re doing, Louellen, we are shaken from our previous comfort zones into a realm where change, vision and innovation are paramount. It’s hard to tell where we’re going but we’re certainly not giving up!

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Kini Reply

    You are indeed a true thinker. A wonderful post and insightful also.

    When all seems dark, there is light. Sounds corny, but it is true.


    • Charles Reply

      Mahalo, Kini. I appreciate that.

  4. margaretwille Reply

    Again thanks Charles for your timely insights.

    Watching the flagrant and blatant disregard for the Sunshine Law — by the Chair of the County Council, and his advice that we simply “move on” i.e. “get over it”, has only strengthened my resolve to say what I see and share my opinions regardless of whether I am criticized for doing so and regardless of the financial implications (less time available to bring in income). But hey, if we can’t demand these folks being held accountable for their apparent Sunshine Law violations, we are in sad shape as a citizenry.

    When I started my blogsite I had an optimistic goal. Several times a week, I would do three blogs one local (Big Island or Hawaii), one national or international, and one environmental (from polar bears to climate change). Now how often have you read my blogs about saving polar bears (very rare), and only infrequently have I blogged about International and national events.

    However earlier today I engaged in a bit of “re-inventing” myself -with a commitment to write more about the world beyond our Big Island beaches — but which world affects our Island and its future. [Just think as the polar bears habitat melts away and many of this fellow species drown, those same melted waters will erode and drown the beaches we all recognize are important to our State’s environmental and economic health.]

    Also I decided I need to be more direct (is that possible?) and cut through chatter that is designed to veil what is really being thought or felt. Just tell it like it is, so to speak — and speak to what is “really” being communicated, not simply the words that are uttered.

    And I see above that Damon is mentioning again about finding a “job” . Now he might make a great stock broker, or accountant, or good humor man, but it sure would be nice if he instead developed his skills relating to the internet, blogging, and story telling into a lucrative job.

    Regards, M Wille

    • Charles Reply

      There’s good insight and empathy in what you say, Margaret. Lately with this blog all I want to do is be myself and writer about things I feel are both important and interesting—not just one or the other.

      It’s hard to write for a market you don’t even know exists let alone is listening. I say follow your heart and make your ideas useful for others. It’s not easy but it’s certainly sustainable.

  5. Lisa Sink Reply

    Really enjoyed reading this, Charles. I can relate. You’re absolutely right about this economy offering a good opportunity to reinvent yourself, start fresh and take some chances. I wish you nothing but the best and send good will your way. Thanks for writing this!
    ~ Lisa

    • Charles Reply

      Thanks, Lisa!