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September, 2010

"Reinvention and Inspiration"

by Webmaster

I was asked recently if I think it's appropriate for a person to reinvent him- or herself. I said that we have all new cells in our bodies every 7 years. I think it's not only appropriate for us to reinvent ourselves: it's necessary and, possibly, mandatory.

Some of us are more ready to change than others. I get bored with routine, so I may be more ready to change than others. And, I think that doing new things helps keep us young.

I like to encourage other people to grow, change, and follow their dreams. I like to see the way they light up with their new passion. Enthusiasm is contageous.

Sometimes we have to take stock of who we are, acknowledge our strengths, work on improving our weaknesses (or accept and embrace them), and figure out if the dreams we left behind could give our lives new purpose and energy.

Age doesn't matter. Don't let that be an excuse. You can follow a dream at any age. I knew retired people who took up competitive ice skating, climbing 14,000' mountains, horseback riding, playing banjo, building web pages and writing books for children.

Time doesn't matter. Don't skip a project because it takes months or years. My mother took, and completed, a 3-year course in religious studies while she was in her mid-80's. Don't set artificial deadlines. Work at your own speed and enjoy the journey.

The size of the project doesn't matter. Any project, no matter how big, can be broken down into smaller steps with iintermediate goals.

Lack of knowledge isn't a show-stopper. There are books, classes, private teachers, workshops, clubs, and on-line tutorials that can help you learn what you need to accomplish your goal.

Support from family and friends is great, if you can get it. But, the lack of support from family and friends shouldn't stop you. It's your dream, your passion, your life. You're the one who will make your dream come true.

Music, art (painting and sculpture), literature (prose and poetry) and crafts (sewing, weaving, pottery) are admirable and unusually fulfilling. Don't limit yourself. Volunteer work, a new career, raising or rescuing animals, getting involved in politics, taking up a new sport or new vocation, and traveling can be just as enjoyable and fulfilling.

Don't expect youself to be a professional at your new occupation—at least not right away. Any level of achievement and any new activity can lead to new insights. What's important is that you do it. You might not get public recognition or awards. Don't let that stop you if you're doing what you love and believe in.

Physical limitations are just obstacles that need to be overcome. I have a friend who has lost most of the use of his left hand. He can't play guitar like he used to. I loaned him my Dobro and he is learning to use the bar with his left hand. He can make music again.

I attended a seminar 4 years ago that helped me get in touch with my passion. I discovered that my songwriting was more important to me than I realized. So, I committed myself to making a CD, not just a string of song demos. I also committed myself to doing it in a year. It took 4 years. And it came out so much better than I expected! I allowed the songs to come to me, allowed my friends and co-writers to add to the project, and allowed the CD to take on a life and spirit of its own. And, I started that project while I was in my late 50's.

I allowed each song to develop. Like the CD, I allowed songwriting to be an organic, growing process. I worked on the CD project step by step, song by song, track by track. I read books, went to workshops, and studied songwriting. I asked for feedback. I asked for help from co-writers whose strengths made up for my weaknesses. I wrote songs that weren't good, and filed them. I wrote songs that were better, then re-wrote, and revised, and reworked them again, and again. I looked in a lot of places for support and inspiration. I asked wonderful musicians to contribute to the recording.

Now that's it's done, I have no regrets about the time it took, the negative feedback along the way, or the cost. I have something that I'm really proud of.

And, I'm looking forward to the next CD!

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