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Jane Pauley is AARP's Your Life Calling Ambassador (that's a unique title!) She has been interviewing 50+ Americans who reinvented themselves, whether by choice or necessity. Jane has been thinking and talking about reinvention for more than 20 years. So, I knew I would learn something important when I asked her this question at a press conference after her feature presentation at the AARP 50+ Expo on September 30, 2010.
Julia Valentine: Jane, thank you for being here. I was at your session earlier and it was fantastic, very thoughtful and sensitive. What is your best advice for anyone who really wants to reinvent himself or herself, but is afraid to start?
Jane Pauley: Just to get up and do something. Almost anything that does not involve getting too comfortable with your comfort zone, and you’re looking at someone for whom the comfort zone is very appealing.
I have got an optimistic view about the future, and I talk about reinvention very enthusiastically, because I believe in it. I think the first time I used the word reinvention in a speech was when I was thirty-eight, so I have been thinking about this stuff for a long time! And even at that, there was a point a couple of years ago, when I realized that my comfort zone was shrinking into a particular area on my sofa. I had all these ideas, but it was just me and my ideas and my laptop. I was kind of inspired to literally “get up” and take the ideas out, and test them, and try them. While not every effort was successful, the experts in reinvention say it is “a messy process of trial and error.” Just get up, get something started. It is not like you’re finding your soul mate, there isn’t one perfect thing, you do not have to get it right the first time. You do have to get something going - go to book club, or start book club. Just doing something that gets you out of your routine and puts you on the path of an idea that maybe you hadn’t expected to have.
BOTTOM LINE FOR RETIREMENT PLANNING
Getting out of your routine will enhance your quality of life. New ideas and activities should be a part of your retirement planning.