Over all the years that I have written this blog (10 now, to be exact!), one of the most frequently occurring subjects I focus on is reinvention. When I meet any readers – either on our tours, or when I’m at a book-signing event – it is the thing that I’m asked about most often.
Think back to your own mother, or your grandmother. Unless she was a particularly unusual lady, it is unlikely that in her later years she set out to reinvent herself. Society expected her to “grow old gracefully,” to be a doting mother and grandmother, and to continue to keep a clean and tidy home.
She may have painted, or sewn, or gardened, or played bridge and all of those are wonderful things. But I’m willing to bet that if at retirement age, she announced she was going to pack her bags and travel the world alone (or write a book, or create a new business) that her friends and family would have been most surprised. But today, women can do all those things, and more.
My own reinvention tale started when the youngest of my four children was 13 years old, and I was feeling pretty redundant. I had been a hands-on Mum for 20 years, but now nobody needed me to help them with their homework, or read them bedtime stories, or take them on outings. I was bored. At midnight, on New Year’s Eve 2009, I raised my glass of champagne and proclaimed to any one who was listening (and they were very few), that 2010 would be the year I’d reinvent myself.
I was 50 years old when I made that promise. Two months later, when I started my blog, I had turned 51. Which means that this year, as I celebrate ten years of My French Country Home, I am 61. If someone had whispered in my ear on that New Year’s Eve – “Be careful, you’ll end up working full-time, you’ll have a little team and a magazine and lead tours, and a have a French subscription box shipped all around the world!” – I would most certainly have laughed out loud and served myself another glass of champagne. What’s the saying? … Be careful what you wish for… ?
People often ask me “how did you know that your blog would be read?”or “how did you know that your subscription box would have any clients? or “how did you know that your magazine would find a readership?”
The simple answer is “I didn’t.”
Getting creative each day is what keeps me sane and happy. Up until I started my MFCH endeavours, my creativity had been channelled into my home, my family and my garden. I hadn’t never tried my hand at photography, had very little experience in writing, and absolutely knew nothing about computers or how to publish a blog.
But none of that ended up mattering. I figured out how to create and publish a blog via Blogspot. It cost me nothing at all and was a huge and amusing learning curve. I was very lucky to find a readership for the blog quite quickly. A bunch of generous, kind women (and men!) who were patient with my beginner’s mistakes, and then one thing led to another.
So my unexpected reinvention has taken shape in the forms of this website, the box, the magazine and the tours. It has allowed me to meet some truly fascinating, dynamic and creative people, and it has taken me all over France and far beyond. I count my blessings every day.
But this is just my story. I would love to know about your story, your ambitions and your longing or need for reinvention.
What is your creative path? Does anyone else know that you are looking for the next step? How do you see yourself in 10 years time? Do you feel that that at the current stage in your life – whatever that may be – you could be doing something more? Then I say to you, just do it.
And by the way, I’d also say start before you are ready. If you try to have an absolutely complete checklist before beginning, then you’ll be stuck in the planning stages forever. Don’t worry, things will work themselves out. I thought it would be fun to take this conversation one step further.
This coming Saturday, May 16th at 6pm French time / 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST, I’ll be going Live on Instagram to talk more about my reinvention experience and to answer any questions you all may have.
I am really looking forward to chatting with you, especially since the MFCH Retreat that we had programmed for April is now postponed to the fall due to COVID-19. I am so sorry not to be able to meet the ladies who had this on their calendars; however, I am looking forward to meeting you all in the fall, and, in the meantime, I hope that you’ll tune in on Saturday!
Set an alarm on your phone and get ready to stop by and join me with a coffee (or something stronger – depending on your time zone!). This Q&A session will be a first for me, and I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.
To help us prep for Saturday, please leave your questions and comments below, or send me an email HERE. I’ll do my very best to get around to everyone when we chat. I can’t wait to hear from you all, and I hope you’ll be able to make it! If you can’t, I’ll be adding it to this post afterwards as part of my podcast, “MFCH Table Talks,” so be sure to check back.
If you’re interested in hearing more about my story, check out my interview “From Avocation to Vocation: How I Turned My Hobby Into A Career” on Authority Magazine!