Friday’s Fast Five…5 Things I Learned from the “Art” of My Reinvention

My reinvention began in January 2014.

That’s when I dropped out of grad school– ending my pursuit of an administrative degree– and decided to commit to writing. That’s when I decided to forego a potential six-figure salary to follow my dream. (Yuck!… reading that sentence is like washing down a fluoride treatment with a glass of Tropicana.)

Over the past two years I have openly discussed and written about the art of my reinvention (Yuck again!…the “art” of my reinvention…someone is wearing their pretentious pants today).

Look, my reinvention is not really an “art”. It’s a circus, a frat party, a shit-show, a comedy of errors, a day old diaper. But lets go with the “art” of my reinvention because it sounds adult and professional. It sounds like the title of a weekend seminar held at a Holiday Inn Express presented by a guy sporting a name tag, cheap khakis and a questionable hair piece.

So over two years I have been asked a lot of questions– Where do I get my ideas? How do you find time to write? What is my writing process like? Since you write poetry and talk about your feelings do you like guys now?

But by far, the two most frequently ask questions about my “art” have been…

1. What made you decide to drop out of grad school and write?question-1015308_960_720

2. What have you learned about self since you began your reinvention?

Question 1 —  One of my favorite musicians is New Jersey born rocker Brian Fallon. In his song “Wonderful Life” Fallon croons ” I don’t wanna survive/I wanna wonderful life”. And that about sums why I decided to reinvent myself. I wanted a wonderful  life–not a complacent one, a settled one, or one fueled by the pursuit of money. I want a life that’s interesting, intellectually rewarding and authentic.

Question 2– This answer is a bit more layered. An answer I thought would serve as good fodder for this week’s Fast Five. And so I present the 5 things I learned from the “art” of my reinvention…

1. The power of social media

jay pic1
My friend Jen made this for me, probably when she should have been working.

As you know social media is the greatest procrastination tool ever created. (You’re reading my blog right now, probably on your phone,  and I’m sure you should be doing other things– watching your children, stirring the spaghetti sauce, listening to your boss). But from my brief time on social media, I learned there are a lot of interesting net surfers who are willing to help with your reinvention. (I also learned there are a lot of creepy, angry, fanatical, self-righteous and emoji obsessed people trolling for attention in the cyberspace). But through internet magic,  I’ve had the fortune to meet and work with (shameless name drop) author Jenny Schoberl and podcast host Jesse Jackson. Working with these people provided me with new insights and broadened my social network helping me meet more people who harbor the same passions as I do.

2. Do stuff for other people

When you are considering a reinvention I recommend asking–What does the world need and how can I help? And get this– helping out the world is rewarding and fulfilling. It reminds you that you are a part of greater community, one that is plumped with people struggling just like you. And here’s something else I’ve learned–when you practice compassion the world has a neat way of reciprocating it.

3. Be honest with yourself

We are all guilty of trying to live a life for the sole purpose of impressing people. That’s what I was doing two years ago. This ultimately leads to the art of your misery. You have to create a life that is true to who you are. And as I’ve learned there is a great sense of individual freedom that comes with living authentically.

4. Write about your reinvention

Of course I’m going to say this. But noting your changes and feelings and aspirations will make them more tangible, more then just passing thoughts.  This website has given my dreams real, palpable traction ( I’m sorry, it’s just one giant yuckfest this week).

5. Commit to your reinvention

Look there are some days I want to run away from this website. It’s work and it can be stressful especially when Thursday night sneaks in and I’m plum out of Fast Five ideas and my children won’t stop eating , fighting and crying. But here’s what I’ve learned–despite the difficulty of trying to improve myself while raising 3 rabid raccoons– the payoff has been worth it. And here’s something else–reinvention leads to more reinvention. Its a tremendously rewarding cycle. Frankly, I would rather have a few stressful nights then a life time of “what if’s” (Oh yuck).

Be well,

Jay

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