From Empty-Nest to what’s next?
So here’s the thing – something had been niggling within me for a while. I kept wondering if this was how I wanted to spend the next fifteen years or so. The suburban life I was living was great for raising kids – but now both kids had graduated from university, were gainfully employed, had settled into their first homes with loving partners…..they were now responsible, contributing members of society. We had done our job well with them…. Not that they don’t need us any more, they were just no longer dependent on us.
Where did that leave us? One could say this was just a phase – the “empty-nest” syndrome. That may be true……but still, I kept asking myself – what is next? How will I define the next phase of my life – the time period between having finished raising the family and retirement? I had been examining this question for over two years, opening myself up to all sorts of possibilities – changing careers, going back to school, starting my own business, relocating to a different city, changing employers. Now to be fair, this is not something I thought about every day – frankly, I was just too busy and pre-occupied with the demands of day-to-day life. But it was always present, niggling in the background.
As 2010 came to a close, I reflected on the past year. It had been a productive, positive year on many levels, yet I was no closer to answering my big question – what’s next? This struck a chord with me. Time passes so quickly, and if I wasn’t careful, the next fifteen years could easily fly by without notice and before you know it, the window of opportunity will have closed. Rather than asking what’s next, I would be planning my retirement years, or maybe even my funeral….not to be morbid, but you just never know what is around the corner.
I realized during that period of reflection and introspection that I have been waiting for inspiration to strike like lightening from above. Sure, I was seeking it – in a haphazard sort of way, and to no avail thus far. I suppose I could have continued like that, hoping that one day I would wake up and magically know what it is I want to do next. But it is equally likely that such a day will never come. One thing is for sure – I did not want to wake up in fifteen years time and feel regret that I passively let time slip through my fingers and that I had missed out on ….life. Was I going to stay in the “waiting room” so eloquently described by Dr. Zeuss in his classic children’s story “Oh the places we will go”. I made a decision, then and there – no waiting room for this girl. No time for that!
So rather than wait for inspiration to strike, I decided to strike out in the world and find inspiration. In order to answer my big question, I felt I needed two things – time and freedom. Time – to think, to reflect, to recharge. Freedom – to pursue and explore new possibilities. read more