What a time and place we live in! Most of us here are blessed with the opportunity to be or do anything we dream or desire. Gone are the days where we choose one career (possibly the same as our parents) and stick with it our entire lives without question. We no longer have to accept our 'lot in life' when it comes to career, status, health and fitness, or living in the same town where we grew up. If we dream it, we can live it. We CAN “Change our Stars."
I feel like I’ve been reborn many times in my lifetime. My greatest rebirth was my spiritual rebirth, and I continue to be renewed in my spiritual walk daily. Stepping into the roles of wife and mother were also significant rebirths for me. As the youngest of my children approached adulthood, I began another “new life."
After about 16 years of my dream job raising and homeschooling our 7 kids (yes, that was really my dream, and yes, we had that many on purpose), I started thinking about the next chapter. I was primed for a major reinvention. Music, the field I thought would always be my next phase, became closed off due to struggles with my vocal health. My life had been kids and music, but I always had a love for photography. I had done some work here and there for our homeschool groups and had taken several of my kids’ senior class photos. I even thought about setting up a small studio in our backyard to do portraits in.
Though I had always been an avid hobbyist, the cost of film and the dedication homeschool required were barriers to realizing my little studio dream. The film age was just crossing into the digital age and remote classes in photography were hard to come by. However, I found courses in digital design and thought this could be the next best thing to fuel my photography progression, so I enrolled. I added all the books I could find on photography and spent hours every day educating myself and practicing my photo skills. I took the first steps to making my new dream a reality. And now, almost 15 years after beginning that process, I fall more and more in love with photography and the business of celebrating life in portraiture each day.
So I ask you—What dream has been hanging out in the back of your mind? Is it a new business idea? A fitness goal? A new hobby? Maybe you are on the brink of radically revamping your lifestyle to prioritize a relationship, become the caretaker of a loved one, or take ownership of your mental health. Maybe you've had a lot of success in a field you don't love anymore and you really dream of going on mission in a remote country. Whether big or small, here are a few tips to help you determine if you are ready for a life reinvention:
Spend some time reconnecting with your most pure self. Imagine those times in your life when you felt most in flow, the most joy, the most confident and at peace. Go way back – even into your childhood, if necessary. Scan your memories for as many of these as possible. Allow yourself some time away to mentally relive those moments and really re-experience those emotions. Take a long walk or two and get into those moments. What were you doing? Who were you at these times? How did you feel? What traits can you recognize in yourself that can fuel or give foundation for your new endeavors? What things in your current life are blocking this now? What roles have you taken on that don’t really represent your true nature? What steps can you take to remove or eliminate these elements that don’t serve your new path?
List those traits, skills, and values recognized in step one. When we have a better sense of who we are at our best, we can better connect with our purpose. What do you want your life to stand for? How would you like to contribute to the world? What kinds of experiences do you most want for your life? For your family? What kind of example do you want to be? Do these things align with your current life? What would you change to create that alignment? Turn this into a statement of purpose and mission.
Maybe your re-invention is a small reset to your daily schedule to allow for more consistent workouts, dance lessons, or a language class. Or maybe you ARE dreaming big like a major career change or big move. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. There is no time like right now. Like all other goals, you need a plan. Make a list of all the things that need to happen to realize this new dream. DECIDE to do it. Take ACTION. What's that first thing you need to do to move toward your goal? No matter how small, DO IT RIGHT NOW! Tell someone important to you. Write that letter. Call the realtor. Sign up for those dance lessons. For me, it was submitting that application to return to school. WHATEVER IT IS, you haven't really made the decision UNTIL you've taken ACTION. SO DO IT! BE BOLD! Take hold of your life and take that first step to the NEW YOU IN THE NEW YEAR.
Karen Laine is on a continual journey of growth and rebirth, pursuing many interests. She has found alignment with her deep desire to value life and instill confidence in every person through her 12 years as a professional portrait photographer. She currently serves North Texas with luxury custom service and award winning work operating Karen Laine Photography. She lives in Luella, TX with her husband of 31 years, youngest daughter, and four dogs.