Part of being at this stage of my life involves looking back: a childhood that went way too fast, my young adult life that seems like a distant memory, kids who changed my world but themselves changed too quickly. Part of being at this stage of my life also involves looking forward: sending our oldest off to college next year, surviving the upcoming years when we will have two teenagers, empty-nest days ahead in the not-so distant future. But what about right now?
So many moms that I know are in this same boat right now. Our lives changed completely when our babies were born, and most of us never looked back. Some quit careers to stay home full-time; some continued working, but maybe not with the same intensity. No matter what our choices were, all of us were changed forever when we became moms.
I left a career in finance and accounting when my son was born almost 16 years ago. For years, I never looked back. But once my kids became more self-sufficient I started to need something more. I fell into my new job about 4 years ago, working with small groups of students at the elementary school level. Who would have thought that a CPA could help little kids with social skills? This has been the best thing for me at this point in my life, but who knows what’s next?
I have a very close friend who is expanding her interior design business now that her kids are older. Another good friend is my age, but has two kids under the age of 7 and runs her own business. A close friend from school is working on her PhD while raising three boys and teaching, and one young empty-nester I know just bought her first Harley! The “what next?” question cannot be answered with one answer for everyone.
On any given day, I am either thinking of returning to college, pondering raising guide dog puppies, taking up knitting, or writing a novel. Then, after my coffee kicks in, I really re-think these “what next?” scenarios. College is a lot of work, and a LOT of money! It’s enough just to be sending my son off next year. Guide dogs all start out as puppies, and if the past 6 months with my own puppy is any indication, being a professional puppy raiser is not my forte. Knitting? I would expect to be able to knit a sweater worthy of being sold in Macy’s after just a few weeks. So much for knitting being a relaxing hobby. And if I’m not patient enough to knit a scarf, I certainly don’t have the patience to write a novel. I guess my “what next” is usually going to be answered on a daily basis for now.
As for right now, what’s next is another cup of coffee…..