Life from a Different Perspective

As my husband and I get ready to celebrate our silver anniversary, I am immediately brought back to one of the most amazing anniversaries we have ever had. An adventure second to none but, an adventure that immediately brought us back to reality.

At year 20, I wanted to do something special. Something unforgettable. I never loved to fly but he loved it. He had mentioned a number of times that he would love to take helicopter lessons. He talked about how he wanted to go up in a helicopter. I was never a great flier but i know it’s the best way to get where you need to go so I grin and bear it because, at the end of the day, I love to travel. Besides, a couple drinks never hurt to take the edge off either.

He was shocked as we lifted off, exploring the coast of Newport and the incredible mansions. We were soaring 500, 1000, 2000 feet above the beautiful Cliff Walk. It was amazing! We were in awe of the beauty all around us.

Here’s the switch of perspective. As we walked through the door after an incredible 48 hours, the news was reporting a bombing at the finish line of the Marathon. Our city was under attack, terrorism had struck again, and the joy, excitement, and amazement was washed away by horrible people with an unthinkable agenda.

This switch of perspective made me appreciate all I had even more. Two great kids, a strong marriage, and a love of country that still makes me tear up at the National Anthem.

The Quiet Really Isn’t Eerie

More times than I can count this week, I have walked into a silent house. More times than I can count this week, I’ve been alone in this house that I’m deciding is too big for two people.

There hasn’t been a single noise, a single tv blaring in the background, a single footstep bounding up the stairs. But guess what? For the first time, it didn’t make me sad. Instead, there was a sense of peace. Moments where I’ve looked around and reflected. Looked around and thought what next? Looked around and smiled.

Sometimes the quiet can be eerie but lately, it sounds like success. No chaos, no drama, just peace. The dots are connecting; my path is falling into place. Career-focus; relationship-focus; future fun.

Silent Lucidity

Our latest adventure took us about 300 miles west to a small venue that let us relive the late 80s/early 90s. A place that gave us the opportunity to be up close and personal with an old favorite – Queensryche.

Like most “Class of 80-something” teenagers, hairbands were a key to life. A staple in our daily music choices. Recently my husband and I began going to see these old favorites any time they come within driving, or sometimes, quick flight distance. We were lucky enough to see Queensryche open for the Scorpions a couple of years ago and it reminded both of us how much we had loved them. When we found out they were going to be in upstate New York, why wouldn’t we jump in the car and go? New York was as close as they were coming and we weren’t going to miss it.

As Silent Lucidity rang out – my all time favorite Queensryche song – I truly listened to the words and finally understood Silent Lucidity. An unspoken clarity.

Ripped right from the lyrics, “Visualize your dream. Record it in the present tense. Put it into a permanent form.” The life of an empty nester…the time in your life when the dream is being lived to the fullest. The time when you can clearly see where you are going and where you have been. There’s a sense of calm and peace – moments of lucidity that come more and more often.

Well worth the 600 mile road trip to acknowledge what we have come to understand – clarity for our future; a future beyond parenthood.

I’m Not From Around Here

Have you ever played I’m not from around here? My guess is you haven’t because I think I made it up. But now, it’s your turn to play!

Next time you’re up for an adventure or searching for something to do, pick any town or city close by, even your own, and pull out that phone that is probably already in your hand.

Search “best things to do in ________”.

Typically on the top of the search, Trip Advisor pops up. Of course, some of the things you already know will pop up if you are searching local but not all the time.

Search for whatever you’re into – show me the top five restaurants; show me the top ten historical sites; show me the best hiking trail. You get the picture…type in your want and presto – a new adventure, a new special spot, a hidden gem. We’ve been steered to some of the best places to hike or take a walk, to have lunch, or even just to explore.

Trust me, they’re all not gems but what do you have to lose? Life is about the adventure! Find it, run with it. You only go around once, make the most of this new found time. The life of the empty nester!

Do You Ever Sit Still?

When the kids are little you are either at home or en route. On the way to a friend’s house, a practice, an appointment, or a birthday party – nothing adult-related. As they are able to drive themselves, you stay home, not so patiently waiting, pacing the floors awaiting their safe return. Now that they’re grown, there’s no need to pace at home. You’ve done your job, you’ve done the best you could and now it’s time.

Time for what you ask? Time to explore, time to find and rediscover you. It’s not time to sit around the house and watch Pretty Woman or Sixteen Candles for the 100th time. How will you remember who you are by staring at those same four walls you’ve admired for 20 or so years?

So, to answer the question that I hear from my friends on a regular basis of “Do you ever sit still?”, the answer is, “No, I never sit still.” What’s the point of sitting around? I need to find me and she’s definitely not locked in this house.

Where’s My Christmas Spirit?

I have to admit, wholeheartedly, I am jealous of those of you with little ones. For the last few years, the month of December has felt like every other just colder than the one before and a bit more expensive. There is no excitement in the air, no Elf that we need to move all over the house in strange (but funny) positions, and no gifts that I need to wait in line for hours to get.

So, where’s my Christmas Spirit? I think it’s waiting patiently in the shadows, for a few years. Lingering all around us as we shuffle through the holidays. The spirit will emerge again when we are dubbed grandparents.

The magic that those little people create fill the whole house with something unmatched. Enjoy every moment. Love it, embrace it, smile about it. You, the people with little ones, are the lucky ones this month. Right now you’re probably not feeling so lucky as you race from store to store trying to fit it all in. You’re not feeling so lucky as you’re chasing away the sniffles and coughs to make sure everyone is healthy for the trip to Grandma’s. You’re definitely not feeling lucky because you are getting even less sleep than before because you have to move the Elf after everyone is sound asleep and, most likely, they are up even later than ever. Trust me, you are lucky and you’ll realize it in about 10 or 15 years.

Exercise…ewww!

Ok, we can’t just hang out with friends, go out to eat, go for drinks, and travel because our house is empty, we have to do something in our spare time to focus on our health. The point of this game of life is to live long and stay healthy enough to reap the benefits of this empty nest and enjoy grandchildren. No, no, not yet, but one day!

While the kids were growing up, I never had time to focus on a healthy, active me. Sure, I could steal away a few minutes here and there but never enough time to realize what I liked to do to stay active. So many people spent their free time in the gym but I knew that wasn’t for me. I had to do something. I got the fitness tracker, started tracking my steps and soon realized I lived a pretty sedentary life. There wasn’t a lot of steps between my office, the ladies room, and the kitchen.

Now I had the time. Nobody waiting on me to cook dinner, nobody needing me to get them on or off the bus, it was my turn. First it was a nice long walk then it was – I’ll trying jogging for a few minutes. Next thing I knew I was thinking about my first 5k.

All by myself. Didn’t tell a soul I was doing it (not even my husband). I showed up, signed up, and ran. Headphones in, lost in my thoughts, slowing and walking whenever I needed to.

I did it, I finished in 36 minutes. Not a world speed record but I actually finished – first step to last sprint…3.107 miles. Here I stand a couple of years later having completed 6 of them so far – I love it. It’s my time. Whether it’s a quick mile before work or a walk/run 5 miles around my town, I’ve got my headphones in, wind in my face and my head full of positive thoughts – I have found a big piece of me.

Value Every Moment

Getting everything ready for Christmas, I pulled down the box of ornaments ready to hang many of the same ones for the 24th or so time – the tiny painted handprints, the bead wreaths with a kindergarten picture tucked in the middle, the snowflakes cut by safety scissors with preschool hands.

Each and every one of these precious memories bring a tear to my eye. Partly a sad tear but also a proud tear. Sad because there aren’t any new handmade ornaments getting hung in the tree, those days have passed, but proud that almost 25 years later, my boys still love the traditions. They still make the time to help us trim the tree, now taking over the duty of stringing the lights. They look forward to seeing a candle in every window as they pull up to the house, and this year, we were fortunate enough to bring back an old tradition of heading north to choose and cut our own tree.

My heart is full – my empty nest was crowded for a fun-filled 24 hour journey to find the perfect tree. Lots of laughs, lots of connecting, and new adult memories that I will cherish just as much as those handmade ornaments.

Empty is a Strong Word

“Empty Nest” is a phrase most have heard but definitely not something everyone has had the pleasure (and often displeasure) of living and feeling.

The definition is simple – you’ve raised your kids and done the best you could. You’ve given them wings and they’ve flown away leaving the house feeling pretty empty. To have that empty nest feeling, the kids don’t need to be completely packed up and gone. The feeling starts to comes on when they begin driving and they take that first adult step to independence. Those days and late nights where they don’t rely on you for their every move. The table gets set for less people and every tv choice becomes your own.

Full disclosure, at my house, we really aren’t quite “empty”. We are more like a timeshare right now – one who uses his bedroom more like a hotel, dropping in some time between 10 and midnight and heading off to work at 5:30 am; the other spends his time in the basement using it like an apartment when he isn’t working one of his three jobs or at the gym.

This gradual transition has helped me to look forward to the true empty nest; the one where it’s just the two of you. You become more and more used to the idea, focusing on all you’ve accomplished bringing your babies to this point in their lives.

See…we’ve been molding and shaping our kid’s wings but we also needed the time to develop our wings.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑