Second Act | Soon-to-be Empty Nester
It all snuck up on me - all those moments as they grew ever so slowly right before my eyes; their' voices, style, interests, moods, innocence and view of the world changing, opening, expanding. They grow and become more self sufficient, needing you less in some ways, more in others — I get that, it's just nature and biology. I went from having conversations about what their favorite Pokémon character was and why the sky is blue, to puberty, colleges, career choices, politics, finances, and their plans to travel when they become adults, in what seemed like days.
The biggest sting of all though, was before I knew it I was almost 40 on the cusp of becoming a young empty nester who devoted her life, every waking moment, to being there — to nurturing them, caring for and protecting them, sometimes to my own deficit - rarely refilling my own cup. A few years ago, when I turned 35, I recall how dramatic of an age that was for me, for a few reasons, but the biggest one was that I felt lost. I knew the time was coming where my kids would soon leave to pursue their own interest and passions but, I didn't take into account what I would do when that day came. What does one do? Do I start knitting and wait for them to visit? Do I have a mid-life crisis and buy something expensive? Do I get more dogs? Do I throw myself into my work?
I don’t have the answers yet.
I’m still trying to figure it out. However, one thing I have decided to do is to finish my degree. I figured that was a good place to start. I don’t need it for my career per se, unless I change the line of work I am in, but rather I’m going to go back to college to finish something that I walked away from when my kids were little and needed more of my time and attention. I’m at the age where I don’t want to leave things unfinished, and I think it’s important to show my kids that age is just a number - there are no rules when it comes to bettering yourself or expanding your mind.
Funny enough, my son is at the age where he can now do dual enrollment, so last week we both applied for college. It looks like we will be going to college at the same time. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.
When I get up in my head about my fears of the future, I try to remind myself that while this one chapter of my life may be coming to an end, it is not the end of me or my value and necessity to my children. They will always need me. The next chapter will just allow me the time and space to explore who I am and who I am becoming at this stage of my life - and that is wildly exciting.