To me, the idea conjures up opening up to possibilities that we can become. And I think that is what this recent article in the NYT was talking about. A metaphor for how we can potentially reinvent ourselves at any point in our lives. It also seems to be along the lines of the fiction book The Midnight Library, where the protagonist pulls a book from the library shelf which is a path she may have taken in her life.
It’s an intriguing concept. There is who we are in the “here and now” moment which is largely defined by what we do for a living and then there are all the roads that we have not taken. Many times these are roads that hold no interest for us, or we have no talent in, or it just never occurred to us to think about a path for ourselves given who we are, where we have come from, and how we have crafted our life to date.
The idea of imagining different walks of life for ourselves is not only an imaginative exercise, but allows us the freedom to think about different ways of living our lives. When we make any shift in what we do, all of a sudden things looks different, fresh, new. Perhaps our schedules change. Perhaps we head back to being a student for a time. Perhaps we meet different people in different environments. The idea is that it is possible and we can bring our self to this possibility.
This is not something that happens overnight, of course. But it does begin with imagining. If you are unhappy or dissatisfied with how you are spending your time with your job/career, what is it that you are drawn to intuitively? Perhaps it is more than one thing. Once you have this in mind, take a walk down a day on this path with your possible self. What are you doing? Who are you with? How does the day flow? You can set out on these paths as many times as you like — but always hold that it is possible.
It strikes me that we get shot down from even starting on any type of new path for ourselves as we do not believe fundamentally that it is possible. Once we begin to imagine and fantasize about the possibility this can lead us to take the next steps if we find we are truly drawn to another way of working or creating a career for ourselves.
Do not be daunted. Believe in possibility. Believe in yourself. Believe in your possible selves.