Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: empty nest

An Empty Nest Can Inspire A New Beginning

Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

Oh, my sweet readers…I know you were looking forward to another post about “The Art of Happiness” this morning but I sat down to work on it and the next post but found my heart wandering elsewhere. I closed my laptop and decided to take a break for some breakfast, more coffee, and a couple delicious Winternacht cookies that my older son was so cruel to send to me in the mail.

As I sat there, listening to my younger son watch “Clone Wars,” my pen poured out ideas into my journal. I swear it does that, you guys. I’m serious. I sit and look at the page and out come words. Sometimes those cursive sentences are not fit for human eyes. They are uncensored and sometimes very ugly. That’s the process of journaling thoughts as they come up instead of burying them to fester or throwing them out into the world to poison others. I write them as they present themselves in the hopes that seeing them on paper takes some of their power away. It works…usually.

Today was different. These thoughts need to be shared. Maybe I can make them clearer and more useful to myself if I can type them. Maybe you can use them if I do.

There are big changes coming to my home. Those changes were delayed and altered by the reaction to Covid-19, but they are now here big as life. The whole house is feeling it, but unlike my family, my emotions run all along my surface, so I tend to react more than they do. You can usually see how I feel about things without me saying a word. Positive or negative, excited or depressed, love or hate, you know what I’m feeling, but you may not know what it’s about or why. There are many times that I’m not sure either. Let’s just say I’m fun to be around.

So, what are these changes? Every mom reading…hold on to your heart…my youngest is leaving for university in another state.

The empty nest has come.

No need to go into those details. There are movies, books, podcasts, songs, anything you can think of to tell that age old story. But what does it mean to me and you? How will it change our relationship? I know that’s what you’re wondering!

That’s what I’ve been asking myself the past year, and more in the past few weeks as plans became reality. You know what they say, the goal of a mother’s work is to work her way out of a job. My mom career is officially over. What’s next?

I’ve always written and for the past few years, I’ve been working toward writing more and in better ways. This blog was a hobby, then a part-time job, and now that I have no other demands on my attention, it will become my full-time job. I have big plans and I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

What now? I think I’ll change the pace and some of the content of this blog, just a little. I’m becoming burned out writing so much about the books I read. I love it, but there is more that I want to say, and I’d like to work some time into my life for writing more short stories.

I know, “Get to the point, Michelle!” Here’s the schedule I came up with.

  • Monday: Gratefulness Post
  • Tuesday – Friday: Book Quotes and New Read Posts
  • Saturday: Short Story of the Week
  • Sunday: Nothing. It’s my day off.

And, of course, there’s the monthly newsletter. That’s a separate special opt-in list! If you’re interested, go to My Autobibliography page to sign up. That’s another something I might put a spin on this month!

I plan to keep writing every morning of the week. I love creating habits and I have morning routine that rocks, when I don’t get derailed by an extra cup of coffee, “Clone Wars,” and brilliant conversation with my family.

I’ll be totally honest here. I’m terrified by the prospect of my last child leaving. What will it be like? Will I go crazy in the house alone all day? Will I drive my husband and friends crazy? Will my blog end up being a non-stop rant about the birds on the porch or the cat on back of the couch?

…deep breath…

Change is an inevitable part of life. We’ve trained for this. We’re ready.

…big smiles…

Why Do I Get Up In The Morning – Episode 6

What the heck?! Where have I been? Was there NOTHING to be joyful about? Nothing to share? No reason at all to get up in the morning?!

(That’s me, creating drama!) No, nothing like that at all. I’m just inconsistent with my writing habits. In fact, inconsistency is my mantra, my whole being wrapped up in one fine word! So here I am starting up again, picking up where I left off and waving a big hello to you. I’ll wrap you up in a big hug and sit down next to you, maybe under a tree on a park bench, or across from you in a restaurant over tacos.

Sheesh…I just scanned back and realized that I haven’t talked to you since late August. Two whole months! Instead of boring you with a long list of what I’ve been up too, because honestly, it’s a lot and pretty wild and crazy and…oh who am I kidding?! I’m talking to friends here! You know me. The wildest I get is maybe one too many glasses of tequila and a very loud game of pool on the back porch, but that’s what life is for!

I’ll just pick one thing that I’m extremely proud of at this very moment and tell you about it. My oldest son is off on another adventure today. He’s packing up his car and heading out into the world again. This time, he has a new job in a new state and a new car. And he’s very excited (and I know probably pretty nervous too).

The “pandemic” brought him back to us back in April. He had two jobs, one online and one at an airport, but when the airport laid him off and he wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, he decided that it was probably best just to head home for a bit and regroup. I’ll admit…I kinda pushed in that direction. I was worried and wanted as much of my family together as possible. I’m not always as strong and cool as I make myself out to be. Control is my go-to when I’m not sure of the outcomes, and I grab for anything I can. So here we are, six months later, and after a long and strenuous job search, he’s found work and is on his way.

Me? I’m not so much worried about him leaving as I was in the past. I know he’s a more than capable adult. I just know I will miss him terribly. I realized earlier this week that I was pretending like the day wasn’t coming, just going through the week like usual. I hate dwelling on what’s coming. I hate mooning over “This the last workday. This is the last grocery trip. This is the last beer we share.” Just typing that makes me choke up…stupid to sit and ruin those “lasts” so I pretend they aren’t. It’s ridiculous anyway. He’s not dying or moving to another planet. All kids grow up and move out. Sentimentality is not my strong suit. My husband on the other hand…poor guy.

While I wish he loved the desert as much as we do or could find work closer so that he could be here on weekends to visit, I’m happy that he loves adventure and follows his own heart. I’m happy that he’s not afraid to try new things and create his own world. I’m proud that we’ve created a strong enough foundation for him that he just jumps without worrying about what he’s leaving behind. I wish I were more like him. I think he’s going to love it there once he gets settled and I have a feeling he’ll find some new friends there.

One more thing before I go! His brother is not far behind him. He’s on his way to University in January and when I looked on the map I found that they’ll be only six hours apart. They’ll be able to spend some weekends together camping and hiking, maybe even racing sometime. I know they’re crazy different people and that they each have their own worlds to create, but something about knowing they at least have each other close enough to visit if they want to makes this Mom heart happy.

See you next week!

Really. I promise.

It’s Friday Again!

I’m back! Did you miss me?

I hadn’t planned on writing today, but since we decided to come home early so that he’d have a few days of rest before he went back to work on Monday, I’ve had a day to rest and catch up on things myself. So here I am!

Happy Friday to you!

Thing I learned: Just before I left for our first vacation without kids, I was asking myself “Where do you go when you aren’t trying to show the world to your kids? What places do you visit when you only have the two of you chiming in with preferences?” Since my husband came with a daughter, we’ve always had kids around. Want to know the answer? The same things we’ve always done but without little people dragging along behind!

We were walking along a trail at a state park, stopping to look at animal tracks and wondering about how a fence was constructed, when it dawned on me. We are still doing the same things we did when we had kids, and probably the same things we did before we had kids, before we even met each other. We are explorers! The end of parenting is not the end of our marriage. Kids are not all we have in common!

Thing I’m reading: I started reading “Paul Simon: the life” by Robert Hilburn while we were out on the road. I haven’t always been a fan of his music. I mean, everyone knows the songs he has on the radio, but I didn’t have any albums. My sons introduced me to him, and they always marveled at the poetry in his music. I’m loving the biography because reading it makes me think he, as a person, is similar to his music; down to earth, a bit deep, quiet, and relevant to all times, not just the ones he wrote in.

This quote from him resonated with me.

“I think she understood that the one who are looking out the window are sometimes your best students, not the ones who always raise their hand and want attention,” Paul said. “I always thought that was embarrassing. I wanted attention, too, but I didn’t want to be seen as wanting it. I wanted it to come naturally, by doing something that warranted it, rather than me manipulating people to look at me.”

I can understand that! The book is really speaking to me as a writer. An artist is an artist. We want to be noticed for creating something people want to see, not because we read an article or hired someone that knows about social media ads and manipulating Amazon “best seller” subjects. It has inspired me to keep writing exactly what is on my heart and not worry so much about getting seen. I’ll be visible soon enough. I don’t need to sit in the front row jumping out of my seat with my hand up.

Thing I heard: “Live Life. Take Notes. Tell Strangers.” A couple of years ago, I saw this magnet on the fridge at the pregnancy clinic where I volunteer. Funny thing is that  I took a picture of it, posted it, and then forgot all about it until I was scrolling through my Facebook Memories. This time it struck home. This is exactly what I do on my blog!

I loved it so much that I immediately made it my blog’s profile picture on Facebook. Then I searched the internet for its source. It turns out that it’s from Tim Hawkins! He was asked what the secret to writing comedy was and this was his answer and I couldn’t agree more. I hope he doesn’t mind that I borrowed it for a bit of inspiration! I bought my own fridge magnet and a notebook! Want one? Click here!

Thing I want to do: Change the production schedule of this blog! The last couple of weeks have illuminated something important to me. I cannot produce publishable output every single day, not yet anyway. I need more time. From now on the schedule will go like this:

Every Monday and Wednesday I will put up a finished piece. They will typically be observation articles, things I’m thinking about or have noticed and want to expand on. You know…philosophical stuff.

Friday will always have a “It’s Friday, my Friends!” post like this one.

As they come up, I’ll post my book reviews here as well, but they aren’t scheduled. They’ll just be up as I finish a book and get the chance to write my thoughts about it. I’ll post those to my Goodreads account too!

Tuesday, Thursday, and some Saturdays and Sundays, will be my simply writing days. Every day I’ll schedule a couple of hours to sit at my computer and think, but I’ll only post the output three days a week. I think this time frame is feasible for me right now, but I may just drop to two days a week if it overwhelms me again.

The overwhelm comes, not from the writing itself, but from having to post it. What I’ve been doing is sitting down at my computer, thinking of something to write about, tapping it out, reading it over, and then immediately posting it. It’s not very conducive to coherent writing. It puts too much pressure on me, and I make a lot of mistakes! If I have only two or three days a week to post, the rest of the daily writing time can be better spent writing and then actually editing that writing before I give it to the world. We’ll see how it goes!

Picture of the week:

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It’s me, hiking with my husband this past week. He turned around and took it as I was walking behind him. I’ve always struggled with body image. Even when I was a kid, young and skinny, I thought I was chubby and not that attractive. My husband begs to differ and thinking back, I’ve never lacked for male attention, so doesn’t that mean I am attractive?

So…here I am, boldly making the statement. I like this picture of me. Yes, I’m chubby! But I’m fun. And I love life! My hair is going grey, my skin is starting to show its age, but I’m healthy, strong, and happy. This is what joy looks like in real life!

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