I know this blog is supposed to be focused on my "next 20 years." But my thoughts have been focused on the last 20 years a lot as late. And those years have been filled with changes that staggers my mind as I review it.
Now I am facing the newest change - an empty nest - the literal description of one's life when all the kids have left home for good. I have eagerly looked forward to this time and now that it is here I feel a bit numb to the prospect.
For me ... my empty nest describes more than just the kids growing up and moving out. In the last 20 years the scope of life that kept my nest full was broad. Most of it has pealed away.
The late 90's were filled with my husband's grandmother, and then his mother, during the last years of their lives. My husband and I were laid off from jobs during this time ... both at the same time and both from long time employers. My two adult kids both left and returned home more than once during those years. They are now flying through life with their "adult wings." My daughter recently purchased her own property ... a kind of adult passage. My son married officially stepping out of our "nest" to build his own. I lost a level of intimacy and trust with a close person or two - a sad reality, and I may never return to that blissful naive state again. My husband was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition that cannot be cured and will lead to blindness - changing both our lives in ways we never could have anticipated. My mom lived with me for 5 years and the heart break of moving her out of my home and into Assisted Living pretty much ate up the last of my personal care giving reserves. And this month my son and daughter-in-law who had temporarily lived with me for 10 months, moved into their new home - taking my grand-dogs with them. There are still a few "remnants" left in my role as "nest maintainer" ... I am still overseer of mom's care as she slowly drifts out of this life in assisted living. But the "nest" I tended so carefully is pretty vacant now.
There is one glaring reality. I did not really prepare for this state of empty nest.
The last few days I found myself cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Cleaning has always been a coping mechanism when I am upset, or unsure or just numb. I am not upset - as all of these changes are the way of life. But I feel numb ... open and empty. I worry about when the house is clean. Then what!
So I need to focus more on me. I have been pretty good at looking the other way - but my being says now it is time to focus on you. I have talked about that in the past - but the hours of the day were always filled with the needs and desires of all those things that filled my nest.
Yesterday I went for a walk. It was one of those "first day" of a walking routine that I hoped to build. I have a long, long history of "first days.". But lately I have noticed my legs have various aches, my knees are giving me problems and my energy levels are pretty low.
I have seen this before. I have seen it in mom! Fear sent me out the door on that walk - and now that my nest is pretty empty, fear is as good a motivator as anything.
I have also signed up for a strength training class starting in November. I believe a Yoga class will also become part of my routine. And these knees may need a professional evaluation because I don't want them to become an "excuse" for not moving. I have seen that as well - in mom!
Fear! Whatever works!
Finally, blogging as been a struggle lately. That is actually a good sign. My blog kept me sane during some pretty tough and unhappy years, but now it feels like just another thing on my "To Do" list. The need is just not there to write and vent and chatter on. I considered stopping the blog - thought about it many times over the last 2 months - but I could never "do the deed" and say goodbye. Guess I was not ready to end this ... after so many other endings.
So here I am blathering on to you! Guess blogging will be part of my empty nest after all.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I'll be back again - just not sure when. My blog will join so many other blogs that I follow where posts crop up now and again, but never goes away!