Category Archives: Empty Nest

Embracing Life’s Transitions

I have been a little pre-occupied with my brain lately. Getting older and the changes that go along with that making my “normal” struggles more pronounced. I have always been easily distracted. My husband calls if the “squirrel syndrome”. If you have seen the animated movie UP you will understand. In addition to my squirrel moments, working and long term memory have never been a strength for me. This along with my approaching big 50 and family history of dementia have got me a little anxious about my brain.

I read Fast Minds first and must say it was life changing for me. I know that sounds cliche and little overly dramatic, but it was. As a teacher I am well versed in ADHD symptoms and supports. Even with all my experience I failed to turn that experience and expertise inward and take a good look at myself. Reading Fast Minds forced me to take an honest look at my behaviors and struggles. Ultimately leading me to seek a professional consult despite being embarrassed by my age and experience. That initial consultation, as well as follow ups, allowed me to see myself with a new lens.

My initial thought was who goes to seek help for ADHD at 50! Well, turns out, it isn’t so uncommon. I have spent the last 20+ years focused on caring for others and my newly empty nest have brought my personal struggles to the forefront. According to my therapist and doctor the onset menopause and children leaving home are just the types of transitions that cause women to recognize difficulties and seek support.

As I am beginning to unpack my life and take a contemplative look at my tendencies I am finding out I have been dismissing and downplaying a lot over the years. It is interesting to me how easy it is to get caught up in day to day life and caring for others that we actual miss seeing things in ourselves that we work so hard to help others with. Although I wish I had realized this much sooner and sought support much earlier I am not sad. I am excited for the possibilities that await me as I move into this new phase of my life with a new approach to caring for myself as well as others.

The only constant in life is change. Embrace it, Explore it, and Celebrate it!

*If you are interested in cognitive health I recommend reading Fast Minds and Brain Food.

First Step

I saw this amazing piece of work a few weeks ago while out walking with a friend. I absolutely LOVE it! First thing, it sits on the campus of a school in our town so I am assuming it was made by students, so yeah! Next, the children’s lit reference with the cat from Alice and Wonderland makes me smile. And finally, the message is universal. When I saw it I stopped in my tracks and had to take a picture of it.

I feel like taking the first step never ends. I had always thought by the time I was 49 I would have everything figured out and in place, but not so much. Throughout life we need to continue to adjust and take on new roles and dreams. We take first steps so that we can grow and move forward all our lives. Now more than ever I am finding this to be true. Now that my kids have left the nest my daily focus is turned inward and I am taking steps to improve my health and work towards my long time dream of writing. Trying a new class, seeing a new doctor,  and sharing my work are all things that make my palms sweat, but I am doing them for myself. And in the last few weeks I have done them all!

I now have this picture hanging on my vision board. Every day I look at it and say to myself, “Take a step today and celebrate your journey!”  I hope you are taking new steps and celebrating your journey as well! Wishing you a fun filled Friday and fantastic weekend full of new adventures!

Begin Where You Are

So I have about a half dozen, half written blog posts from Thanksgiving to now. Today I made the decision to hit delete on all of them and begin where I am!

Here’s a quick recap to get you up to date!

I made it through my first empty nest holiday season! I learned some valuable lessons, the most important being that my kids need to be home for the holidays. They want and need that down time to see friends, experience traditions, connect with friends and recharge. Although this may change as time goes by, for now I am going to do my best to keep this in mind as I plan in the future holidays!

The new year came and went pretty uneventfully, and for that I am grateful. However, I was expecting 2019 to start off with a little more inspiration and energy. This is going to be my first full year of not having any kids at home to fuss over. I thought I would wake up on January 2nd full of electricity and focus ready to accomplish all the things I have been talking about for the last four years. I did give myself a little reprieve at first. I told myself my new year didn’t actually start until both kids were back at school and my days were my own again. Around the first of February I realized I was still just poking around. No blog posts had been written, no pages towards that book I want to write materialized, no great health revolution had taken hold. I had spent some time on all, but no real progress on any front. I vowed to get it together, but February trudged on with no change. . .until it clicked for me last weekend. I am not only energized and excited, but hopeful with possibility!

Last weekend I took my first solo, non work related trip ever. Yes I said ever. I have always traveled with friends, family or colleagues. Last weekend I went to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators winter conference in New York. I drove myself to the train station, boarded the train and set off to the city. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone both literally and figuratively. I challenged myself to connect with people I had never met and to believe that I could be part of this community. I took notes, talked and listened. By the time I boarded the train to come home, exhausted and head spinning with information, I believed it! I am a reader, a lover of children’s literature, and yes I am a writer. Will I ever be an author? Only time will tell that. Although I really don’t have control over if I will be published, I do have control over how I spend my time and where I put my focus.

So I begin where I am. I will let go of all the previous and abandoned projects with no guilt or judgement. I will make my dreams of today a priority and put my time and focus on moving towards them. Armed with a complete awareness it will not be easy or without challenge I choose to move forward. No matter what happens I will celebrate my effort and evolution.

Happy New Year! Oh, and Happy Valentines Day too<3


Getting Back Up

So, overall things having been going very well since the nest was emptied. There have been bumps in the road that resulted in a stumble here or there, but overall as a group this family has kept moving forward and on its feet. This week however, I took a little fall and have had to figure out how to get back up.

I am one of those people who feels pretty strongly. When people around me are having a rough time I feel it and if those people happen to be people I love, look out, the emotions are going to be flowing as if it were smack in the middle of it. And if I can’t help or fix it, I can get down pretty quick. As a mom, wife, teacher and friend this has always been a struggle for me. I know people have to fight their own battles and learn from their experiences, but Lord, that is hard! This week was one of those weeks where it felt like everyone I know and love was struggling with something and by the end of the week I was emotional drained. I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help.

This morning ,when I was walking the dog, a book from my classroom days popped into my head, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. I used to read this book every year at the beginning of the year to my class. It is about how we all have invisible buckets and when our bucket is full we are happy and hopeful, and when it is empty we are sad and lonely. Buckets are being filled and emptied all around us all day and every day.

I pulled the book from my library and read it to myself. I decided that although I couldn’t fix any of the struggles that friends and family were facing I could try to stay positive. I looked around my office/daughter’s room and smiled at the happy little bee bearing gifts sitting on my desk and decided to create my own “bucket” for my friends and family. I took a minute to write a prayer or wish for everyone that I am feeling for right now. I placed them in my bucket and sent love, positive energy and prayers. And guess what…I felt a little better. So moving forward I am going to keep filling my bucket with prayers, wishes and gratitude for the people in my life. And maybe, that little bit of positive energy will find its way to them and help them through whatever they are facing.

Empty Nest- Week 5

So this was a pretty great week! I spent most of the week working on household projects. I am working my way through the house one room at a time purging and re-purposing. That is nice and all, but this weekend I did something I consider very “empty nester”. Over the past few weeks I have come to think that this empty house can either be a curse or a reward. A curse if I choose to wish for the days that have passed;  a reward if I focus on how lucky I am to have two wonderful children that made it through school and into college, and now have the time to investigate my interests. Yesterday. . . I reaped a reward of raised children!

I have been learning/practicing yoga intermittently for the past 10 years. I really enjoy all kinds of yoga and feel it’s impact on my body and life when I commit to it regularly. Unfortunately so far I have not been able to sustain any kind of practice for more than a couple of months. I am hoping to change that! Yesterday a friend and I followed our interest and not our experience. As complete novices, we attended Wanderlust 108, a mind-full triathlon. It was amazing! It started off with a 5k followed by 90 minutes of yoga and then 25 minutes of meditation. The rest of the day was spent wandering through wellness tents and attending various workshops and activities. I have seen pictures of hundreds of people doing yoga or meditating together, but honestly didn’t really get the appeal. Totally get it now! There is something to being surrounded by so much positive energy and so many people just wanting to enjoy the same experience.  I am ecstatic that I took a chance and followed my interest, and so grateful I had friend willing to share the experience.

This was a great start to focusing on the rewards of the empty nest! Next week is going to be incredible:)