A lot of the literature these days uses the term “personal brand”to describe the compelling story we create about ourselves, but I find “body of work” is an idea that carries more resonance for me. A body of work is about the cumulative legacy we bring to the world.
Often I feel like Akiba. I think the word authentic is overused, and yet it fits. I’ve tied myself in knots and contorted my life into unrecognizable shapes trying to embody a model that didn’t feel authentic to me. Or a life that was once authentic but ceased to feel that way. I’ve tried to force myself into the old roles that no longer fit.
Ida Fisher Davidoff wrote, “There are two kinds of people and let’s say they’re driving along and they suddenly come to a boulder. One kind of person says, ‘just my luck! I’m in a hurry and now there’s this big rock in my way.’ The other kind of person says, ‘Oh, there’s a big rock here. Now, how shall I handle this? Is there room to get round it? Will I have to do something to move it, and if so have I got anything with me? Or shall I change my route instead?’ The second person puts their energy into solving the reality of what confronts them. The first person becomes overwhelmed, sees themselves as a victim, an object, and lapses into inertia and dependency.”
All the ink spilled on mid-life reinvention among the Baby Boomer generation could lead a body to believe that Baby Boomer women created mid-life reinvention. But that’s not true: my research showed me that mothers of boomer women were pioneering midlife reinvention well before the advent of the women’s liberation movement, those heady years when boomer women came of age.