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Reinventing Yourself?

picture of a fork in the road

One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotations is "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." My best friend will be at a definite "fork in the road" a year from now when his time on faculty at BJU will have come to a close. He and his wife are currently in Europe where he is exploring one of the possibilities that lies before him. He is also considering another part of the world where he could use his talents as a German teacher.

The buzzword "reinventing yourself" is not a new one, but after hearing it several times this past week, I've been thinking about the whole concept. Companies reinvent themselves, as do politicians, celebrities, and average people as well. It can be anything from changing little things about yourself to an extreme makeover. In his book Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler talks about viewing yourself as an "owner" rather than a "victim." Some use the expression for what has long been referred to as "midlife crisis." A web search will lead you to thousands of articles about reinventing yourself after 40, after 50, after 60, or after retirement. Many people are forced to reinvent themselves because their job skill/experience is no longer marketable.

At a recent SCFLTA conference, we foreign language teachers were reminded that many universities all over the country, not just mine, are eliminating foreign language majors. Foreign language classes are still being offered, but just not leading to an undergraduate major. We find ourselves wondering where the future language teachers will come from if foreign language majors are no longer offered.

The elimination of the French major and of the German major and minor at BJU is why my friend will be leaving at the end of next school year. Working overseas is actually something he's been considering for about four years — this recent turn of events has just given him the exact timing to begin exploring. In the fall of 2012, with one fewer French course per semester, I will be teaching a German course each semester in its place. I have taught both high school and college German for 16 years of my life, but it's been a while. So, in a sense, I guess, I'm reinventing myself. I'll have to alter the header of my blog to read "one French and German teacher's humorous and serious perspectives on life…" and add some images from Germany.

At the time of this writing, my current "fork in the road" is the self-reinvention teachers face annually — the "summer self." Today I'm beginning my 10th summer at IT Service Desk on campus. That's over one-fourth of my summer jobs as a teacher! Past "reinventions" have included lawn and interior maintenance, food service at Taco Bell, a cook/baker at a Christian camp, piano tuning, data entry, stocking shelves in a bookstore, switchboard operator, textbook author, summer mission team leader to France (seven teams), editor/proofreader, and two summers teaching at a university in China. Talk about self-reinvention! 🙂

This past week a reader sent a campaign poster that seems like a self-reinvention to me:

picture of Trump 2012 poster

Last week, Donald Trump revealed the process whereby he "does his hair" ... which is not a comb-over, BTW!

picture of body modifications

It seems that some people today are choosing to reinvent themselves with tattoos. In fact, tats are becoming so widespread that Becka and I sometimes wonder if we are the only people in the world who don't have one! As I read up on the history of tattooing on Wikipedia, I learned that it's been done for thousands of years in pagan cultures. Tattoos, piercings, and other body modifications were the practices that explorers and missionaries found when they ventured into the remotest areas on earth. Some young people say that they want a tattoo to express their individuality, after all, everybody’s doing it! Hey yeah, let's all be different together! That is one way in which I won't be reinventing myself. I'll opt just to remain blissfully unadorned.

A convict from Colorado, not satisfied with the tats he already had, added more and more between his various prison stays. You can see some disturbing themes in his "reinvention" below.

picture of tattooed convict

I have not shared the most disturbing images I found. I wonder how many people will some day seriously regret the tats, piercings, and other body modifications of their youth, especially when they start sagging.

On a much lighter note, I ran across a reinvention of a famous work of art — Van Gogh's Starry Night. The original is below:

picture of Starry Night

Here's a reinvention done in, of all things, bacon!

picture of Bacon Starry Night

Another famous image is the one taken by Pete Souza in the Situation Room as Obama and his staff were reportedly watching live the storming of Osama bin Laden's hiding place on May 1.

picture from the Situation Room

Someone reinvented those people into superheroes. You can click on the image below to find out the identity of each person in the picture.

picture of superheroes in the Situation Room

Some of the people in that picture might be upset at the remake, especially if they had already reinvented themselves as a different superhero from the one chosen for them.

Are you on the verge of reinventing yourself? Or have you ever reinvented yourself? If so how, and why? I'm especially interested in the why.


"When we try to exact vengeance, we almost always do it wrong." — Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Seen recently on a bumper sticker: What would Scooby Do?

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8 Comments on “Reinventing Yourself?”

  1. #1 Vicky
    on May 16th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I reinented myself 17 months ago when I moved from my comfort zone into a new job. I had been working as a alterationist in a bridal shop for two years and was laid off. I took a job as a caregiver at an assisted living facility. What a change…. I went from the joys of families preparing for a wedding to dealing with families who are facing the death of a loved one. I found that this new job, although it has challenges, is much more suited to my personality at this particular stage of my life. I am older than 99 % of my co-workers and therefore am closer to the age of my residents. I know that I am in the Lord’s will for my life. Bringing a smile to the face of sad residents is my daily goal and I love them as my family. Tattoos are not needed in this job! A smile is the only requirement and it comes from my heart! After all, I spend most of waking hours with them. God is good… ALL of the time!

  2. #2 Michael
    on May 16th, 2011 at 8:07 am

    I kind of reinvented myself after seventh grade. I decided to not be so nerdy and to instead focus on being more normal and try to get to know my classmates better. Thankfully, it worked and I was able to make many good friends from eighth grade through the end of high school.

  3. #3 Diane Heeney
    on May 16th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I did notice that in both images, the second gentleman is wearing some stylish *orange*….hmmmmmmmm…

    And, did you see that Princess Beatrice’s look has caught on in the situation room as well: http://s269.photobucket.com/albums/jj56/Lemonhead_21/?action=view&current=hatsituationroom.jpg

  4. #4 Miriam
    on May 16th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The story of my life so far is reinventing myself. 🙂 I grew up as a little jungle rat in Suriname, South America from ages 3-18. I came to the States for college (in the northwoods of Wisconsin) and had some serious re-inventing to do as I entered dorm life (I had literally never been around girls my age before–no exaggeration), a college schedule (homeschooled!), and a different culture in general. That lasted four years, and then two years ago, I transitioned to Greenville–my first time to live in a city, BJU, a large (but amazing!) church….Yeah…reinvented again….Can’t wait for India…. 😀

  5. #5 Jan
    on May 16th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you for posting today. Is today Wednesday, or are you on a summer schedule? Regardless, it was a pleasant surprise!

  6. #6 Rob
    on May 16th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    @Vicky – Your reinvention sounds GREAT! Change is definitely not easy, especially some changes. Yet even painful change often leads to great blessings … blessings we would have missed, had we not been willing to make the change.

    @Michael – Your reinvention has extended well past the end of high school. I know because I’m one of your friends made long since then. 🙂

    @Diane – LOVE THE LINK! Thanks for sharing it.

    @Miriam – You indeed have a string of reinventions … all of which were necessary. India will be a major reinvention!

    @Jan – Just thought I’d shake things up a bit. I did a special post today in honor of my summer job starting. I’ll be back on schedule of once-a-week posts this Wednesday.

  7. #7 Lara
    on May 16th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    You’re not the only ones without tattoos. Hubby and I have decided that our way of rebelling against modern culture is to remain ink-free. 🙂

  8. #8 Connel
    on May 26th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    haha also notice on the computer screens that you can see in the second picture there appears to be some kind of war game up on the laptops