Reinventing The Reinvented H B
Am I still the person I spent a lifetime becoming, and do I still want to be that person? Mary Catherine Bateson
Over twenty years ago I wrote a series of essays, shared with my family, called “Reinventing H B”. Ten years later I wrote an e-newsletter series, “Composing My Further Life”, about how I want to live the rest of my life. My blog title above is a paraphrase of the title of Mary Catherine Bateson’s 2010 book, Composing A Further Life. Compose means “to make or create by putting together parts or elements.”
I have always been writing about my future. Remember my basic assumption: Your image of the future may be the most important factor in determining what your future will be. Beliefs become behavior. I hope to identify the essential elements in my further life and put them together. This blog is written for me by me, but you may find it interesting for you and your further life — depending on where you are in your present life. Now, at age 93, I am writing about my aging. You would think by now I would know enough about me and satisfied about what I am, that I wouldn’t have to keep reinventing me and composing my future. But here I go again.
Basically I am now asking myself, “How would I act if I were acting my age? Am I still the person I used to be? Do I want to be the same? Can I be? What kind of person do I want to be in my further life? What kind can I be, or can’t be?
Although I have already answered these questions in my years of reflection, they need to be answered again. But the fact I have answered them tells me (and you) something about me. Most of my adult life I have been involved in self-reflection and in thinking about thinking. I have folders of written evidence and will review them in preparing this latest “life composition.”
I don’t believe that kind of self-reflection is true about most adults “growing up,” but I am not sure. Research studies have shown that older people think with more depth, more reflection, and with more philosophical awareness than the young. That is a big generalization and certainly not true of all older persons. Have you become more reflective as you grow older? If so, my upcoming aging blogs may be of interest.
In Mary Catherine Bateson’s first book, Composing a Life 1989, she proposed “practicing improvisation” as a strategy for composing one’s life. I liked that because it is a paradox and isn’t a contradiction. Her early book was about “life as an improvisatory art, about the ways we combine familiar and unfamiliar components in response to new situations.”
She considered life as a work in progress. In the many years since her first and second Composing books, more change has happened and even change itself has changed. Adopting her improvising metaphor today for creating my next life stage makes sense for me. Improvising my further life will be my future strategy. Stay tuned.
The future isn’t someplace we are going to; it is something we are creating. Futurist, John Schaar