Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reinvention

In Boomer lit, reinventing oneself is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion. The basic idea is that midlife is a great time to become the person you always wanted to be. For some Boomers, life got in the way of pursuing their childhood or adolescent dreams. Now their kids are no longer dependent on them because they’ve begun their own lives so there are fewer obstacles to taking some risks and charting a new path in life. Other Boomers are thinking about retirement but don’t plan to sit in the rocking chair all day and let their longer life spans wither away in boredom.

The funny thing about midlife is that demographers refer to it as ages 36 to mid 60s which means Gen-Xers are in the zone too. A typical upper-30s American is married with young kids not yet in high school. Reinvention and retirement aren’t words usually in their vocabulary just yet.

From the perspective of either generation, a significant point to be made about reinvention is this: it’s never too early or too late to begin.

Famous reinventors

George Bush, born in Connecticut, raised there and in Maine and Texas, graduate of Yale and Harvard (no doubt a great example of strategery), reinvented himself several times, from a Texas oil man to a Major League Baseball team owner, Governor, President and is now a motivational speaker.

Madonna is still a singer/actress all along but has completely changed her look and music style several times; also now a mother

Colonel Sanders was an elementary school drop-out, steamboat captain, insurance salesman, farmer, Army veteran. He eventually ran a gas station and cooked his ‘special recipe’ chicken meals for customers. The restaurant failed, so at age 65, in the 1950s, Sanders used part of his Social Security check to start another restaurant with a simple menu. That ultimately led to the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise (now know simply as KFC) and the rest is history.

Ron Howard, child actor, grown up actor, now director/producer

John Grisham, Arkansas native, later Mississippi lawyer/politician became an author in his 30s. Wrote The Firm, The Pelican Brief and numerous other legal thrillers.

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