The topic of starting over is an ever-popular one. The interesting part of it is how many feel that one must completely abandon one's old identity in order to begin again. The focus on destroying your old identity and creating a new one not only neglects importants facts of modern life, it betrays (unless the mob is after you) more about you than the circumstances you are in.

In the case of identity paperwork, unless you are beginnning again because you somehow obtained a phenomenal amount of untraceable wealth, your new life will be nasty, brutish, and short. With modern society in the Western World being what it is (especially today in the USA), you'll need some sort of officially-traceable ID to function. This is especially true post 9/11, where your driver's license will be much more likely to be checked. Most fugitives get caught at traffic stops.

The other side of that coin is that unless you have flawless ID, you will not be able to do anything very significant with it, or you will draw undue attention to yourself.

If you are trying to disappear, unless you are completely insignificant, someone will find you. If you have a divorced wife who wants money, or you have too many outstanding parking tickets, or have skipped bail, you may run and get away. However, you will eventually be found if what you're running from is worth anyone's time.

If you simply hate your life, have a circle of "friends" that you simply cannot relate to, or have fallen into a rut and have been cubbyholed by your commmunity into a role that disgusts you, there are several viable alternatives. They work, and are much easier than trying to find a body at the morgue that looks like yours, stealing it and all the paperwork that refers to it in all of the various offices involved, then burning it up in a perfectly useful automobile while simultaneously abandoning everything that you own.

Here are ways that will satisfy almost everyone except those that are fleeing the law. (I believe that most people who sit around and wish to start again simply don't like the life they are living.) These ideas can also be mixed and matched in fun combinations:

  • You can change your name legally.
    If you are not running for criminal reasons or to evade the law, it is perfectly legal to go to court and get your name changed. You still get to keep your social security number and that retirement fund, but you will appear in the phone book in a different place. With your new name, you can start new hobbies, take up a new spectator sport, and change your hair, clothes, and lifestyle. You too can be like Max Power and lead a dynamic, fun-filled life.
  • Move.

  • Go somewhere else, somplace nobody knows you. Apply for a job in another state, and change everything about yourself that you don't like. Since everyone you will meet in your new home doesn't know anything about you but what you show them, you can completely redefine yourself.
  • Join the French Foreign Legion.
    They accept people as old as 40, provided that they are in good physical and mental condition. While it is a rumor that anyone can get a new identity in the Legion, it is true that after 3 years of service you can apply for French citizenship. Just remember, though, the initial term of service is 5 years.

The important thing is to remember that you define yourself. Others base their opinion of you on how you act towards them. You can create the perfect vanishing scenario, butif you live in the manner that got you into trouble in the first place, you will eventually find yourself in the same situation.

In reality, running away from yourself almost never works. It is just another way to try and escape reality. If you always strive to reinvent yourself, to take every day as an opportunity for change and improvement, you will find that after a while, you're a different and better person.

And you get to keep your record collection.

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