The Joy of Reinventing Yourself

Hong Kong dragon danceEleven years ago, I moved to Hong Kong with my husband who had taken on a three-year international assignment. The early weeks were of the world-is-my-oyster variety as I explored a new city and culture so far away from everything I had known. Sights, sounds, smells, and colours blended into an exotic kaleidoscope that prompted feelings of adventure and possibility. Four months later, the bite of reality hit.

After years in a full time career, I had no way to define myself in this new environment, nor did I know how to go about being unoccupied. Time for myself had always been a luxury seldom indulged. Suddenly I had nothing but time and initial feelings of euphoria were replaced by loneliness and dislocation. Survival became the question.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Mary,
    I had these same expat experiences myself except I moved to Brooklyn instead of Hong Kong! Being in a totally foreign and bewildering environment, I tried many activities to replace the loss of my previous life, but nothing worked. One day I sat down and said no more beating around the bush! It was time I tackled the one project I had always been meaning to do, but never had the time: write a novel! It was a long, hard road in those early days with no Facebook Community for support like there is today, but the results were astounding and it completely changed my life. While family members were skeptical about a woman being able to “reinvent” herself in middle age, I remained steadfast, figuring that if Grandma Moses could take up painting at the age of 78, I could certainly take up novel-writing in my forties. Maybe the truth is that instead of “reinventing” ourselves, we are actually “rediscovering” ourselves. In the end I am so glad I took the challenge. The gifts I have received are too numerous to count!

    1. How interesting to know that you also had an ‘expat experience’, Sophie. We’ll have to talk about that sometime! And I really like your notion of rediscovery rather than reinvention. An important distinction – and maybe another blog post on that topic!

  2. I recall Mary Wesley did pretty well with writing when starting in her 70s. The other big advantage of writing is one can presumably go on and on until near one’s mental end. Also despite computers – a pencil, sharpener and recycled paper are all that is necessary to start and carry on. I understand Jeffrey Archer still writes his novels by hand.

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