• Karen

Do you have reinvention burnout?

Oh, no. Not again.

The news is full of stories about how Covid-19 is destroying the economy, and I’ll admit sometimes I can’t look away. Recently, on one such story I saw some comments that grabbed my attention. Though these women made their comments publicly on a news website, I’ve removed the last names here.


Kathy: I’m 52. The 2008 recession wiped me out, and now this. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a job when you’re over 40? This whole thing sucks. For everyone.


Dana: Kathy, I feel you. I’m 58. 2008 almost killed me and I just can’t start over again.


Andrea: I’m on the same page as you, Kathy. Trap door opened and I fell through. So, been there, done that. Still have not recovered.


Can you relate? Over the last decade plus, we have read books, refreshed job skills, and reinvented ourselves the world over. In the wake of divorce, widowhood, and economic calamity, and often while facing down age discrimination, women have changed their expectations, careers, and lives. And now, just as stability seemed to be within reach, we are living through a once-in-a-hundred-years global health crisis. It’s enough to make even the most accomplished woman (or man) scream, “I just can’t do it again!”


If you have ever reinvented your life or career, then you know it takes a huge expenditure of energy: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Chances are if you identify with Kathy, Dana, and Andrea, above, you are tired. Not just, “I need a nap” tired, but “I ache from my bones to my soul” tired. As you look up from your latest distraction (Netflix, Zoom, or a good old-fashioned book) you might be realizing that you’re going to have to do it again: Refocus your attention, retool your career, and reinvent your life. And the thought is demoralizing.


You do not need to create a whole new life, breakthrough business, or magazine-cover-worthy career, by the time the corona virus is pushed down to manageable levels.


Reinvention, designing the next act of your life, and moving forward after Covid-19 (or any earth-shaking event) does not have to happen all at once or flawlessly. Start with the foundation: Believe you CAN recover and regroup, and surround yourself with others who believe in you too. Though we are socially distancing, now is the time to use care in deciding who you invite into your inner circle. You don’t need to have all the answers here in this first step. Just work on your attitude, and I know what it means to be plagued with doubt, and do something every day that reinforces to your brain that you are capable. That will make the next steps more manageable.



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(c) 2019 Karen Southall Watts