Friday, July 28, 2017

Searching for Me

In twelve days, my youngest child moves out and moves to college.  The house will never be the same.  I am excited for her, but I worry what comes next in my life story designed entirely around my children.  I'm not sure how to take center stage in a house soon set for two.  I find myself Googling distractions that I'm keenly aware will never fill the void.  Had I been online a day earlier, I would have purchased a 45 foot 1979 Gibson Houseboat.  Thank God, someone purchased it before I did.  I've looked at lake condos, sports cars, cabins off the grid, all which appeal to my sense of needing to find a hobby that has nothing to do with carrying kids to singing lessons, cheer practice, tutoring, or school.   I've watched Youtube videos on how to remove the popcorn texture from ceilings and plan to duct tape a 6 inch scraper to my husband's wet-vac and pretend I know what I'm doing.  I've learned to play enough piano to make me fun at a party, but frightening at a recital.  I've given up red meat and pretend to be vegan until I grab my Italian leather purse and head out the door.  While I've been searching for everything, the one thing I haven't found is the answer to who I am now.  My identify is slipping out the door with the last child and now I have to figure out how to do this on my own.

Somehow, I don't see the next chapter actually leading to a rustic cabin in the Ozarks or with me trying to pull a 45 foot boat into a slip without destroying a dock.  I don't plan to join the corvette club or give up a night on the town with a good juicy steak.  I think, at first, I will rest.  I will give thanks for the amazing 22 years it has been with both children and I will remind them how proud I am of both of them.  They are truly good people.  After that, I may learn a few of my mother's recipes.  There never was time to really cook together.  I may travel a little more. I will go see my dad and maybe take him to Shapiro's in Indianapolis for a Corned Beef sandwich. Perhaps this is my time to reach out to friends who I haven't seen in years.  I'll try not to show up at my children's doorsteps every weekend as I know that they have to spread their own wings and they don't need "Mom" there all the time.  As frightening as it all seems, there is a sense of excitement too, because I know that such great things are ahead for both of my children.  There are good things ahead, for me, too.

As I drop my daughter off at my old college, we both need matching shirts that say, "Lookout world, here we come!"  She will begin a path I once traveled and I will forge ahead, carving out a new story that I can share with her each time we meet.  Our stories will always intertwine and that fact, alone, is what gives me courage to walk a new path.  I can't wait to hear of the amazing things she is doing and  in turn, I will tell her of my new adventures.  My son will join us and it will be like old times again.  Because of them, I am not afraid of the next chapter. There is so much more to be written.  While it feels like it's over, it's really not.  It's just a new adventure waiting for us all.

Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...