There is something about this time of the year. The summer days are hot, but sometimes there is a morning that feels almost fall-ish. Tour de France coverage is on daily, but you know that NFL pre-season is right around the corner. The Ballard High School field hockey girls are conditioning and holding tryouts before the dead period begins. And Mike is getting all of his cyclocross equipment in racing order. But the lead-up to fall and the promises of what is to come just isn’t as great as it used to be.
The Pain Of An Empty Nest Never Ends
You would think that after five years of an empty nest that it would get easier. Wrong. Well, it has for the most part. I am very happy for my children and the fact that they navigated their high school and college years and live to talk about it. Both have moved into the adulting phase of their lives.
But that doesn’t keep me from wanting to go back for just a day or two or a week to some of the sweet moments when they were still my babies. Babies that were still just learning how to navigate the world. Nothing compared to having that ringside seat seeing them succeed and/or fail at everything. It was an intense, yet very pleasurable 20 year period in my life.
Hindsight Is 20/20
I’ve always felt that the beginning of each school year brought so much promise for change and new experiences. I felt that way growing up and I felt it again for my kids. And now that I am past that time and they are past this time, all I can do is to go travel back in my mind to visit those cherished times. Some I wish I had done differently, but all of which I had enjoyed even just 1% more. Cause once it’s gone, it’s gone. You may have some similar memories when and if you have grandchildren, but it’s my guess that it just won’t be the same.
I have a close friend that has high school senior twin boys and I was brought to tears recently when I encouraged her to enjoy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of the rest of this summer and coming school year. This isn’t the time to leave anything on the table. I didn’t want to scare her, but I wish I had taken more advantage of all the days instead of rushing some of those moments. But hindsight is 20/20.
Writing Your Next Chapter
It would be so easy to move into nostalgia. So easy to pack a bag and just snuggle in on how things used to be. We all know someone that has done that and we whisper behind their back that they are “living in the past” or “reliving their glory days” and should just move on. They are happy to continue to relive those golden moments over and over and compare all of present life to days gone by that they will never get back.
Enjoying happy memories and reliving them over and over are two different things. You are lucky, you have happy memories. And they helped form you into the person that you are. But it’s time to write your next chapter. What’s your purpose for this next 20 year time period? It can be anything because you have proved that you can do anything. Raising children is not for the faint of heart and I’m assuming that you succeeded. It’s time for you to set your sites on something just as challenging. Because I guarantee when you pass that milestone, you’ll be nostalgic for these days, too.
Visit, But Don’t Move In
I give you permission to be nostalgic. It’s okay to visit precious times and moments from your past. But it’s not healthy to live there; to limit yourself the past and not enjoy the present or venture out into the future. We all only have one life to live and it doesn’t end when our children grow up and leave. We’ve given a large chunk of ourselves and our love and dedication to others for years. And now we get to do the same for ourselves.
Don’t waste it.
Happy Friday! Here is the link to the podcast version: