It’s September. School is starting, and families everywhere are beginning a new chapter of life.
My family is one of those. You’ll know I welcome change if you read my column regularly. I’d be bold to say that I thrive on it, but this new chapter of life hasn’t been the easiest to adjust to.
A New Chapter of Life With Grown Children
You may have seen my post about moving my oldest daughter to college. She received a scholarship to Northern Arizona University, which is just far enough away to experience being away from home, but just close enough to easily visit.
The school has asked that families refrain from visiting until six weeks in when they’ll host a special family weekend. Let me tell you; it’s taken everything in me to keep from hopping in the car and making the day trip just to hug her.
Rachel made me a mom. I made a ton of mistakes raising her along the way, but she’s so kind and forgiving that we’ve been able to work through it all together. Parenting her has made me a better person in general.
She’s a very chill person, content to sit on the couch with me scrolling on our phones with the TV droning in the background. I really miss that in this new chapter of life. The house feels quiet and empty despite having another daughter and two dogs.
My younger daughter, Allison, is in the midst of getting her GED and is planning to attend beauty school. She’ll be 17 shortly and has always gone her own way. I love that about her. Never did I imagine that I’d be a proponent of allowing my child to drop out of school to get her GED and work. Yet, for her, it makes perfect sense.
If she’s not working, she’s out with friends. If she’s not out with friends, she’s at the gym. If she’s not at the gym, she’s making time for herself and relaxing. We are close. She tells me everything, and I do my best never to let on that I’m often terrified. It’s an honor that she trusts me so much and wants my advice.
I tell you all this because it’s like I am beginning a new chapter of life with grown children. While it’s true that Allison is still at home for another year, she has her own life. Her life is more adult than some of the actual adults I know. And Rachel is away at school, living in the dorms, starting her own new chapter of life.
What’s Next in This New Chapter of Life?
As I sit here writing this, I’m literally wondering… “what’s next,” and I don’t really know. That’s kind of exciting. I view my life as an adventure, which seems to soften the difficult times.
The universe knows exactly what’s next. We just need to be open to it. There are signs and signals everywhere if you’re paying attention. This is something that I’ve become very adept a,t and it’s served me well. Listening to the universe is exactly how I fell into my current job. Yes, I said, “fell into.”
I believe nothing happens by accident. We certainly can miss out on opportunities, but that just means it wasn’t the right time or the right opportunity. This is the perfect time to have taken the next step in my career. My girls, who are my priority, are both beginning a new chapter of life. They’re responsible, stable and excited to experience every moment of it. It’s this knowledge that allowed me to know now was the right time to start focusing on myself (a little at a time).
Focusing on myself isn’t easy. Moms have a singular family focus that works against any sort of self-care or personal growth. Don’t get me wrong; we work that stuff in. I’ve actually learned over the years how to make that a priority. If I can’t care for myself, I can’t take care of others in the best way possible.
Knowing that my girls are settling in successfully to a new chapter of life makes it easier for me to go off on my next adventure. I’m currently writing this on an airplane. Much of my life has been spent on an airplane lately, and I absolutely love it! I have a tiny studio in the cozy little town near my office. It allows me to focus on my work and, yeah… on myself.
I’m ready for this. It’s time. It doesn’t mean I’m stepping out on my family and responsibilities at home. It means that I am growing as a person. I’m finding room for new experiences and giving myself permission to enjoy them. That’s precisely what I want for my girls too. It will take time, but soon enough, they’ll be enjoying their new freedoms too.
So there you have it! A new chapter of life doesn’t have to be scary. Go ahead. Turn the page. You’ll probably discover that you’re enjoying it, and that’s exactly how it should be.
My Direct Messages (DMs) are always open. Take care. xo @KellyInPhoenix