Before I started kindergarten, I was Anna Marie. But the kids and teachers at school all called me Anna, and, try as I might, I couldn’t get them to stop. All through school I was Anna Marie at home, among family friends and to the older people at church and Anna everywhere else.

Then, after I got married and moved to a new community and started a new job, I tried a funny experiment. When I filled out the application, I wrote Annamarie. And suddenly I was Anna Marie again to a whole group of people. I had reinvented myself in a small way or maybe I had found myself again.

I’ve been thinking about new beginnings lately because there is a very good possibility that my family will be moving in the fall, possibly across the country, maybe even across the ocean, or maybe just a couple towns away.

This idea of new is very seductive to me. I’ve been thinking about how a major move will force me to drastically cull our possessions. What a freeing thought. And I’ve been further thinking that new neighbors, new friends, new church, new opportunities, new ministries will give me the opportunity to reinvent myself to become more the one I’d like to be. Or maybe it gives me the opportunity to find myself again and become more who I’ve always been and have lost in the chaos of my noisy life.

But. Why do I have to wait for a move to rid my life of physical and metaphorical clutter? Can’t I pare down my possessions for no other reason than the fact that I want more space in my life? Can’t I start being who I want to be and ignore the ones who try to fit me into last year’s box? Can’t I put down the baggage of old assumptions and take up the knapsack of my dreams?

What do you think? What would you do differently if you were starting over? What stops you from doing it now?