July 13, 2024
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July 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Two years ago, Don and I attended a wedding in Maine for a high school friend of our son, Jason. While travelling through the local town to get the lay of the land, we came across an interesting building. It looked like what was once a gas station with islands for the pumps out front and an office with a large plate-glass window. Somewhere along the way, it was transformed into a casual family-style restaurant, with outdoor tables and umbrellas, and a welcoming homey feel. I was immediately drawn to the whole concept of the reinvention of the property from filling station to local eatery. It made me think about all the people in my life (including myself) who have found themselves in need of reinventing their lives, careers and futures.

I will begin with my beloved Uncle Eddie (who passed away one year ago this August). When he was forced to retire from his career as dean of engineering because he had “aged out” of the system, he took retirement as a time to take charge of his weight. His exercise of choice was biking (not motorcycle biking, but bicycle biking). He joined a New Jersey bike club and within a short time he became the oldest and most successful biker in his group. He was recognized by his yellow and black biking shorts and shirts (I referred to them as his bumble bee outfits) along with his water bottles that hung from a backpack. He ordered a custom bike to fit his short stature and spent countless days travelling through New Jersey with other cyclists. The biking period of his life kept him happy and out of my Aunt Frances’ hair. Until his last fall, which resulted in the final series of broken bones, his biking life was full of joy and excitement for the outdoors experience and spending time with friends.

Then there is my Uncle Al who owned and managed a furniture store in Newark. It was destroyed during the riots in 1967, leaving him without the business that he had so lovingly built with his father (my paternal grandfather). He picked himself up, dusted himself off and went to school to become a stockbroker. Several years later he reinvented himself again when he became a real estate broker. He grew a successful business and never looked back. The rebuilding years were challenging, but he persevered. He had a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. His legacy lives on in the building on Clinton Avenue that was once a home goods store with the Levinson family name written in the mosaic tile entrance, to what is now a Baptist church.

My personal reinvention took place in 2014 after I had suffered from a devastating case of vertigo for nine long months. One hundred percent of my energy was spent keeping myself in balance. In September of 2014 I found myself out of work, dizzy and hoping that perhaps there was a greater plan for me. My priority was to get healthy while I was figuring out my next career move. I joined a support group for vertigo sufferers and found out something very important…I was not alone, and my vertigo experience was not unique. It was there that I met a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular disorders. After several weeks of sessions with her I was up and running and excited about my future—whatever it was going to be. It was kismet that during this time I read an article by a New York City-based professional organizer in an AARP Magazine. That article changed my life.

What is your reinvention? Is it a physical or mental health makeover? Is it completing a decluttering project in your bedroom closet? Is it giving up the grind of your corporate job in New York City and jumping into a local career that you are passionate about? There are no rules for reinventing yourself, just a desire to be open to something new.

Happy Reinventing!

By Eileen Bergman


Eileen Bergman is a professional organizer, a proud member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). Eileen is listed in the resource directory for the Hoarding Disorder Resource and Training Group. Eileen may be reached at 973-303-3236 or [email protected].

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