Last night as I was driving home the local radio show host noted that in Forbes the 2012-2013 highest grossing living celebrity was Madonna with $125,000,000. He pondered about this a bit and noted that she has been involved in entertainment since 1984 and still continues (apparently) to pull in popularity and revenue. A caller noted that his wife had gotten a book written by her to give to their granddaughter. It is interesting, noted the host, how she has been able to reinvent herself.
Which got me to thinking. Reinvention. Reinventing selves. Celebrities do it: Madonna, Elton John. Robert Downey Jr. But do regular people as well?
And what is reinvention? This is the part where I really began to ponder the implications of such a thing. Is it simply taking everything in your life that is undesirable and doing the exact opposite? Is completely changing your persona? Is it a combination of both or is it even more drastic: a complete reinvention of who you are as a person?
Admittedly most of us probably reinvent ourselves over the course of our lives as we slowly move in to new interests and relationships and move out of old ones as well. But this seems to be something of a natural change in life, much as a tree may send out branches to chase the light without changing the underlying shape of the tree. Reinvention - as discussed and practiced in this context - is much more drastic than that: a total remaking of the public personality into something that someone is not or is at least perceived not to be.
There is certainly no consideration here in reinvention to stay in the public eye (since I am not in it anyway) - but there is some consideration in being able to move forward in my own life - as Socrates noted, the biggest problem with traveling is that we always take ourselves with us everywhere we go. And if ourself is what is holding us back from moving on, perhaps it is time to change that - but in a very conscious and planned way. A reinvention, if you will.
What would such a reinvention look like? I am not fully aware of all the details as I consider it. Surely changing those things that we dislike about ourselves is part of it. But it has to be more than a simple change from one to another. It has to be a grasping of an entirely new thing, as when one drops the sword when two swords are locked together to grapple with the hands to gain the victory. Yottsu te o hanasu, dropping four hands, Musashi said.
I am not fully sure what it looks like - but I fully know it needs to be done. In some ways I have come as far as I can as who I am. To do more, to go farther, I may need to reinvent who am I am, to become (in some ways) someone else.
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