The Art of Reinventing Yourself: White Noise
By Lauren Beale, Guest Blogger
Being in the process of “reinventing” myself (euphemisms: retirement, unemployment, between jobs, undecided, one step closer to the grave), I read a post from the Zerogravityla.com team with great interest. And although I don’t necessarily agree with their lead, “Change is good,” I do know “Change is.”
Whether constant, inevitable, welcome, refreshing, confounding, challenging, disastrous, joyful or soul crushing, change’s many guises are often paired with the word “opportunity” and therein, my dilemma. After decades working in print and digital media I am unattached and playing the field. Yes, that sounds a bit like dating. I am being courted and I am being confused.
How much time away from a lifelong career does it take to clear the cobwebs and see the next step? A week and a half out of the workforce and I already have received two overtures. Most likely neither is a fit. Yet I am tempted.
My first foray involved a lunch meeting at the storied Palm Beverly Hills, the restaurant where the elite meet to eat. Duly impressed by the fine fare and having spied film producer and Phoenix Pictures honcho Mike Medavoy among the diners, I was receptive to having my accomplishments lauded and my ego stroked. But I was totally unprepared for what I was offered. In a nutshell: out-of-area commission-based employment requiring me to obtain an additional credential. This would be a total reinvention, starting at the bottom, developing some new skills and only tangentially building on my lifework. By the time I had braved the Westside traffic and returned to the South Bay I knew I would not be accepting a second date – at least on those terms.
The rebound relationship started less than 24 hours later. A longtime friend is expanding his business and would like to me take over as publisher of his existing website in a few months. Working remotely from my home office covering a beat I know well is a much better fit. Plus, publisher is a great title. Also appealing is that the job wouldn’t start for a few months, allowing more time to get my perspective before I decide. I almost said yes right then and there. But later that evening my son brought me back down to earth. “Aren’t you just looking for some free-lance or part-time writing? Do you really want to work that hard in your retirement?”
So here I am back to the proverbial square one. What do I want from this change? To stop the white noise long enough, or at least push the droning into the background, so that I can examine this life opportunity for what it is. And, upon quiet reflection, move ahead. Change is choice.
Lauren Beale is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. She plans to devote the next 10 weeks to writing and illustrating what she calls “the mediocre American novel.”