Last night I decided that I had reinvented myself three times. “Reinvention” in my case means throwing over a settled life for something completely different. For me, these all fell into the “I’M OUTTA HERE!” category, after an excruciating process of realizing I’d boxed myself in. Like one of those autumn flies who wind up indoors throwing themselves against the window pane, regretting that they’d been tempted by the warmth. Understanding that, come spring, their little carcasses will be swept up off the window sill unless something dramatic doesn’t happen damn quick.
(1) 1971, age 22. After failing to plan for life after college, I found myself underemployed and socially marginalized in Chicago and took off for Florida.
(2) 1977, age 29. Squirmed out of marriage to delicious freedom — though it took 2 more years to get out of my low-rung job into a real career.
(3) 2003, age 55. After 24 years, the “real career” wasn’t fun anymore. I bolted.
When I think about this, I always go back to my immigrant ancestors, like Ellen Gibbons, who were always making the choice between sticking it out and getting the hell out.
Beyond those grand life transitions, we face the same choices on a mini-scale, day after day. And so today I am going to be shuffling around my projects. Smoldering, slow-poke creatives down to the ground floor study, as I drag out my Ebay for-sale pile and my inventory project in the upstairs studio.