The last few years of my life have been years of death. Death in the metaphorical sense. Everything was ending it seemed. With my husband travelling for weeks at a time, it seemed that our years as partners were coming to an end. With my son living away at college, it seemed that our relationship was coming to an end. With my daughter preparing to leave home, it seemed that my years as parent were coming to an end. With work, it seemed that my dream of finding a job that allows me to use my experience and abilities in a useful way was coming to an end. It felt like my life was contracting; getting smaller; becoming more limited; becoming lonely.
But now, with my daughter’s departure to university, I feel a sense of completion. I feel that my grieving for my parenting years is over. I am starting to feel that, while the kids are no longer living with me, they are still connected to me. I am feeling more connected to my husband as well. I am starting to enjoy the calm in the house; the orderliness, the tidiness. I am relieved that I no longer have to “parent” the kids. It is not my job anymore to make sure that they do their homework, pick up their clothes, get to sleep at a reasonable hour, do their dishes. I am de-cluttering my life; getting rid of the things that have collected in our home over the last 30 years; creating space; preparing myself to move to a smaller home that will require less care and maintenance.
After 22 years, I have returned to yoga, because I finally have the time and energy for a class that is just for me. After 22 years, I can imagine a job that does not tie me to the town in which my kids go to school. After 22 years, I can imagine a job that involves working nights and travel, because there is no longer a need, a compulsion, to be at home every night for my kids. After 17 years of being tied to school schedules, I can imagine travelling for pleasure on a whim. I feel liberated. I feel light. I feel free.
This is not to say that I did not love parenting. I did. I loved being with my kids. I still do. But it is time for them to move on, and I can see now that there are gifts in that for me as well. It is time for me to be selfish; to think about what I want to do with the time that is left in my life. So, this week, I am feeling blessed. Blessed to have two adult children and one step-child who are healthy, happy and whole. Blessed to have a life partner with whom I loved raising my kids. Blessed to have two sisters and an extended family who make me feel grounded in the world. Blessed to have relatively good health, a good mind, and a strong heart. I am not sure what the future holds for me, but this week I am excited about the possibilities. And that is the first time that I have felt that for a really long time.
Kim, I’m so happy for you that you are seeing the gifts in your new circumstances. I had dinner last night with a friend who is in that same place and I can see that it’s a hard place to be. But like you she is feeling the sudden freedom that comes with no longer having to parent. May the new doors that are now opening for you provide enticing vistas!
Thank you Sally….It is funny, when I was where you are, with no time for myself, I was hungry for quiet time to myself. Each stage of life has its joys and its challenges. I hope that the silence from your blog is a sign of a life that you are too busy living to write!! Kim
I’m going through my own transition menopause and teenagers and this helps me to remember the blessings that are out there during these times of change! Thank you Kim you are an inspiration!
Oh, that is so sweet! I feel like I have been whining on-line for the last two years. I have working through things but I worry sometime that it does not seem that way to others. Menopause and empty nest, like morning sickness and child-rearing, are so much harder than we are led to believe. I am glad that you have found my posts helpful because I have found feedback from people such as you, incredibly helpful. With love and light….Kim
You know what, it’s wonderful to see you come out the other side of this part of your journey. I’ve been amazed at the shift in your writing. And – speaking as someone who is often a lot more negative than my blog posts might suggest ;) – it gives me a strange sense of hope in the ebb and flow of life. Kudos to you, Kim!
Thanks Alarna…I feel like I have come out the other side. Many years ago, I remember a Shaman telling me that in our fifties, we see with the “eyes of death” (i.e. see how things really are) and decide unconsciously whether we want to live or die. I am sure there will be some sad, lonely or scared days ahead, but I feel like I have made my decision. Kim
I am really pleased Kim that at last you are settling into your ME mode, and you will begin to love it more and more…. You deserve your ME time and its lovely that you have taken up Yoga again…
Enjoy your weekend Kim…. Love and Hugs Sue xoxox
Thank you Sue!!!
Thank you Sue…you too!!
Kim, You will never know how strong your passing through this door has made ME feel. I’m going to copy your post into a Word doc and put it in my bag of inspirations I go to when I need to know I’m going to make it. Thank you so much!
That is so nice to hear…I feel like I have been struggling through the dark for that last few years and I feel like I am finally come out of the other side!! I hope you are doing well, Pam! Love and light to you…kim
Wishing you an abundance of blessings in the seasons of your life to come. :)
The people who truly change the world often don’t care too much what people think of them. They may have an inner circle who they go to for advice but they are not about to let the opinions of most people sway them from their mission. This removal of the baggage that comes along with trying to win the approval of others frees up a tremendous amount of time and energy to focus in the direction of being who you truly are, not who someone else wants you to be. Because let’s face it, if you’re going into law/medicine/big corporate life/etc because you feel someone else wants you to do that, you’re not going to be happy. Nope, that’s not true. You’re going to be totally miserable. Across the board. No exceptions.
Well said Clifford…a good reminder for those days when we find ourselves slipping back into the collective mindset in which we have been raised. I needed to hear that today. Thanks…Kim