Last month I met an old
friend for dinner. This is something we had tried to do for years, but between
raising kids, and caring for our aging Mom’s, time just got away from us. BUT, with both of us now having our children back at college for their sophomore
year we knew we had to make it happen.
OR, it may never happen.
Once seated at our table,
my first words to her were “How are you
doing since the girls went back to school?”
Without any hesitation
she stated sophomore year has been
tougher than freshman year. I agreed, confessing I was downright depressed
the first week or two.
I hate to say it,
but it was refreshing to find out it wasn’t just me feeling this way.
Freshman year I had many texts, emails, and even a
somewhat regular Sunday afternoon call from my Son. Plus, I had a few runs to the college to aid with
roommate issues and moving. And, bring things he discovered he needed for the
This year however
has been drastically different.
Which is good for my Son.
It means he’s becoming more independent,
self-confident and self-reliant.
For me however, it has been beyond challenging.
The feeling of not being needed was
overwhelming at times.
Before I let it get the
best of me though, I knew I had to put
my energy into something positive. I needed to be proactive and not dwell on
With an endless list of unfinished projects
staring me down, I set my sights on
those, and created a plan of attack based on the time I had till my Son’s
first visit home for Fall Break.
With my annual exodus to the beach to recharge my soul now behind me, I’m working hard at carrying the calm that comes from the sea air and surf with me as I face each day in the real world.
As I told a co-worker “I’m trying hard to hang onto my vacation
This is something I tell myself I’m going to do every year,
but a month or two into the real world
post vacation I’m working my way back into the “when is my next day off mind-set.”
I don’t mean the weekend;
I mean an actual vacation day, a day
with no real schedule, a day to play.
Like a day off is the cure all for the every day
stresses we all endure. Granted it
helps, but there has to be a way to find
peace throughout every day, not just on a vacation day. Especially when
they’re so few and far between.
Rumor has it, the key to finding this peace is to pause, breath deep and center your thoughts on something tranquil. This
may be true, but the real trick is to prevent
getting to this point.
As I drove to work one morning since my beach trip, at a point in my
travels where I crest a hill and the morning sun shines across the hills of the
valley, my thoughts meandered to the
calm I felt as I took in the beauty of nature. It was the same calm that happens when I’m free from schedules, deadlines and to do
I may have been driving to work, but my mind
and body were calm and free from the typical morning watch the clock en
route to work mode.
It was at this point that
I realized the key to carrying the calm
the beach gives me is to find that calm
from nature throughout every day, not just when I’m intentionally taking a
break to do so, like a week at the beach or a walk or bike ride on the trail
near my house.
I need to
consciously pause daily to observe this beauty and soak in the calm.
Observing nature around me when I’m driving is the norm for me, but while in the office it’s a different story. Like most, my office is
in a suburban area and I’m stuck in a cubicle. So observing nature takes more of an effort. Not that there
aren’t windows in the building, but I have to leave my cubicle to access them
which is certainly doable, but standing
at the front door staring out may concern my Boss.
It’s a matter of
being attentive to the smallest thing, even if just in passing.
A small bird building a
nest above the front door, the wind lightly rustling the leaves on the branches
of the tree in front of the building or the shadows the sun casts on the
sidewalk as it dances through the leaves of the tree.
attention to drift from my work to the beauty outside the window is essential
to me fulfilling my desire to “hang onto my vacation shine.”
This might seem a bit spacey, but taking just 30 seconds to pause and focus on something other than the task at
hand will allow me to clear the
clutter of the day from my brain and allow my mind and body to calm itself.
At home I
sometimes do this randomly,
especially at sunrise and sunset. I’m a real sky watcher and the drama and
colors that can explode at those times can stop me in my tracks, and often do.
SO, I do have this built into my make-up, it’s just a
matter of consciously taking a moment
during the busy work day to look out the window, soak up natures beauty and recharge, even if I’m not feeling
The idea of being pro-active when it comes to nipping stress in the budbefore it strikes is nothing new. There
are plenty of books, magazines and blogs with “how to” info, BUT, what works for one, may not work for
another, so the trick is finding
what calms you, and then figuring out a way to seek this during the flurry of every day.
For me that thing is obviously nature. It has a soothing effect on me. Using it as “therapy” during the workday is
something I never thought of before, at least consciously.
Beyond the anti-stress
benefits, I also find being in-tune with
nature to be very beneficial to my spiritual
growth which just so happens to also tie directly into my road of self-rediscovery.
Whether we want to admit
it or not, all journeys of
self-discovery or rediscovery involve
some level of spiritual awakening or
reawakening. After all, we are all spiritual
beings having a human experience and our spirit is here to experience all the lessons this life has to offer.
So I see this “30 seconds of nature to stay calm epiphany”
as a stepping-stone in my sojourn to
rediscover myself. A stepping stone that can turn into a leap if I can truly live by my words.
The pressures of
every day will be the real barometer of my success. I’ll keep you posted.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s you can’t force things into being. Sometimes you just have to be, and let things fall into place as they were meant to be.
If there’s one thing I’ve
learned over the years, it’s you can’t
force things into being. Sometimes you just have to be, and let things fall into place as they were
meant to be.
You also have to learn to
“trust” that everything is as it’s suppose to be and the
universe will let you know when it’s time to make a move. As my Mother would
say “God’s time is not our time. Be
I have learned however
this is easier said than done. It’s
human nature to want to find an answer or resolve a dilemma as quickly as
possible. It is not that simple to “just
There have been periods
in my life when I truly lived this
though. Sort of working at something I wanted to change, or resolve, but allowing things to flow, not forcing
anything. And no freaking out when things seemed to stall.
I have also had times when my frustration with my
situation had my mind constantly spinning on ways to force change or find a resolve. All this did was bring on more frustration and anguish.
And, even polarization. I was so consumed by finding an answer just achieving day-to-day
tasks was daunting.
To be honest, just going with the flow can be very
challenging, especially when you
want change or an answer so bad you can taste it.
When I look back over the roads I’ve traveled thus far, I realize the times when I did just go with the flow, my life was more pleasant and actually more productive. Being fluid and flexible, even bending when necessary is what brought results.
At this time though, I find myself somewhere in
between these two.
Self-Image – one’s conception of oneself or of one’s role the way you think about yourself and your abilities or appearance
One of the key things I’ve discovered since my Son went off to college is the fact that my self-image is very much tied to being a Mom.
Not that there’s anything wrong with this. Being a parent is at the same time the one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs anyone can take on.
As a parent you’re responsible for molding a little human.
For me I prayed every day I was making the right decisions in guiding my Son on
the right path to become a competent and compassionate human being, capable of
standing on his own two feet.
I put my heart and soul into being a Mom, working tirelessly day and
night never looking for anything more than a hug or an “I love you.”
My life revolved around my Son’s needs. I took a back seat.
Who I was before having my Son became a distant image in the rear view mirror of my life.
BUT, what happens to me when my position
as Mom is downsized because my Son went off to college?
It’s back to being about me, but who am I outside of
being a Mom?
How do I even begin to see myself as something more
than my Son’s Mom?
Becoming a Mom was a dream I had all but given up on, so when I became one at 38, nothing else in the world mattered.
By that point in my life,
I had done a lot of self-discovery, so “Mom”
became just one more facet of me. A facet I was thrilled to explore. And
one that quickly took over and became
the primary facet, which I was content with.
I absolutely love being a Mom, but I see now more than ever, I’ve also attached my purpose and self-worth to
this one role.
AND, with my Son off
learning to make his own mark on the world, I’m feeling a bit lost. I feel as though I’ve lost my purpose. I’m not quite
sure who I am any more. Am I still truly valued?
I realize my Son does
still need me and I retain the title of
“Mom” but it’s only part-time,
so I have to figure out just “who” I
really am beyond being a Mom.
The “me” before becoming a Mom has faded away over the years, and now that I’m older, I’m not sure that “me” is still valid.
I have to find the new “My Kid is in College Woman.”
And, I have to find a way to blend both the “Part-Time
Mom” and the “My Kid is in College Woman” into one complete “me.”
I figured once my nest was empty the rediscovery process would just come naturally, but I’ve found over
the course of my Son’s Freshman year this has not been the case.
After the first few
months I thought I had reached a point
where I was past the lost feeling
and would be able to jump that hurdle, but last
month kicked me in the butt. I lost
all momentum and feel like I’m back at square one.
Just when I start to allow myself to tap into the
“who” I am beyond being a Mom, my
Son is either home on break, or has an issue at school that requires my
In a few weeks my Son’s Freshman
year of college will be completed and he’ll be home for the Summer.
What happens then?
Do I put my whole rediscovery journey on hold?
That would certainly be
the easy route, the avoiding the growth route. BUT it would also be a disservice to both my Son and I.
My Son needs to see a Mom who is a healthy, happy and vital woman. He needs to see me as more than just Mom. This way he knows Mom will be fine when the day comes for him to officially go off to start a life of his own.
AND, I know for my own wellbeing; emotionally,
mentally and physically; I need to push
myself to grow beyond seeing myself as just a Mom.
They say the first step to change is acknowledging you
need to change. So, at least I’ve gotten to that point during my Son’s
first year of college.
I know I have a long way to go, but once I peel back
the first layer of soul searching the real adventure will begin.
In so doing I’m quite
sure I will find a new direction/purpose
and finally begin to feel whole again.
Let’s just hope I can stand my ground once my Son is back in
the nest for the Summer. In all honesty that will probably be my biggest test.
So, after my ever-optimistic
“Dare to Dream” post last month I headed into March feeling really good about
everything. All seemed right in my
I had direction and
an end game when it came to my writing. Even if I wasn’t sure how I was going
to get there.
I was adjusting to being an empty nester and even looking forward to free weekends that I
could start to fill with unfinished projects.
I was in a rhythm at work, busy, but not overloaded. I felt like I was firing
on all cylinders.
The first week of March when I started to feel ”out of sorts.” Everything seemed out of whack. My mojo was seriously off and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
OF COURSE THIS MADE ME WONDER…
Was it stepping back into the world of the music
boosters at my Son’s former high
school to help with a fundraiser I had already retired from? Going to a
meeting after months of being away felt very strange. I most certainly felt out
Was it the unexpected trip back and forth to my Son at
college because his computer was on the fritz? This
of course ate up a weekend. And the following Saturday because when I returned
the computer to my Son, he injured his foot coming down the steps to meet me,
which landed us a trip to the local emergicenter. So much for the free weekends
to get back to unfinished projects
Was it the slow period at work that lasted longer than
a day or two? Which is not the norm.
So much for firing on all cylinders, my cylinders were stalling.
ALL THIS WONDERING DIDN’T HELP – IT MADE THINGS WORSE
It put me into an overthinking mode, especially about work and money. Which pushed me
into the “how am I going to make ends meet if this slow period keeps up?” and
“should I start looking for a P/T job just to be safe?” mindset.
My brain got caught up in a constant loop, chronically rewinding and reviewing the same thoughts over and over again. This is the kiss of death and guarantees there will be no resolve to whatever the dilemma was I had built up in my head.
This doesn’t happen
often, but when it does, it takes over,
usually for a day or two, and then I snap out of it. This time was different. It lingered, and meandered into every
aspect of my life.
I wasn’t depressed. I
just didn’t feel like myself. It felt like my
sense of order was gone. I was not inspired about anything.
Even thinking about writing wasn’t enough to snap me out of the
funk that had taken over. As a matter of fact I was at a loss for what the
topic of this month’s post would be. Which is kind of ironic because being “out
of sorts” is a perfect topic.
As the month unfolded things picked up at work, like a flip of the coin, so that helped me shake some of the funk, but it wasn’t completely gone. My mind felt very distracted at times, and my focus was off. And the fears of another slow down still lingered on the peripherals.
To be honest, as I write
this it’s still kind of lingering around, especially with the writing. I’m
truly struggling finding the words.
ADDED TO ALL THIS WAS…
My Son home on Spring Break for a week. Of course having my Son home is always nice, I enjoy
the company, but it seems every time I start to get into the rhythm of just me
at home, I have to switch back to being
Mom full-time and all that goes with it, like making dinner every night.
Something I don’t have to do when it’s just me.
And, this makes me feel
like I’m starting all over every time my Son goes back to college.
AND LET’S NOT FORGET…
The time change. That certainly didn’t help. The first week went well, but by week two I
started to feel like I had jet lag and it’s still lingering. I’m tired off and
on all day at work, but at night can’t sleep through the night.
OH, AND THEN THERE’S…
Mercury retro from March 5 – 28th. Mercury retro can wreak havoc on many fronts, the
most of which are all things electronic and communication.
Although mercury goes
retro a couple times a year, I don’t recall ever experiencing this level of
funk in the past, but considering all that has gone on, I can’t help but think it comes into play. Especially the mess with
my Son’s computer and the stuff at work.
For those of you who
aren’t astrologically minded, and would like to learn more about mercury retro,
below is a link from my favorite astrologer Melissa Stratton.
As the month of March
draws to a close, I am still teetering
back and forth with coming out of the funk and meandering back in. Something is definitely off with me,
but just what it is, is still not clear.
Despite all the
wondering, I have not come to any clear conclusions.
Throughout the month however, I have tried many things to help break through the cloud of confusion. Some have helped, while others had no impact.
The one thing that aided
me the best was verbal and written affirmations,
especially in regards to my work/money anxieties.
Affirmations and prayer all
tie into spiritual development and
if there’s one thing I’m sure of, when on a journey of self-discovery, part of that journey has to tap into spiritual growth.
So, maybe this swirling cesspool of discombobulation
is really just the universe nudging
me, or should I say pushing me, to dig deeper into my soul before any real
self-discovery can be accomplished.
IF there’s one thing I have discovered since becoming a parent, it is so much of my time has been spent doing, with very little time to just be. It is in those moments that we have revelations or discoveries.
I honestly don’t know what that means any more,
and this month has certainly brought that to light. When I left my husband back
in the nineties, I spent two years doing some major soul-searching. It was during that time I unearthed my love and passion for writing.
As I look back at that
time, I remember how alive and free I
felt. I know I can get there again. I just think it may take a little longer.
Because I’m twenty-some years older now, and the life experiences I have had
have made a huge impact on who I am now. Becoming a Mom being the most
Although my Son may be
away at college, I am still caught
between two worlds, the world of Full-Time Mom and Empty Nester. And it is
in this limbo world I need to learn
to exist, and grow.
SO, with all this said,
I’m guessing my “out of sorts”
feeling is one that will more than likely come
and go until I can get to the other
side of this limbo world.
Until then, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s hope April brings greater clarity allowing me to move forward.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the
beauty of their dreams.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
This is one of my favorite quotes. I used it often when discussing college with my Son, and his dream of becoming a video game designer. Having a child just starting out on the path to pursue their ultimate dream is both invigorating and scary.
I know first hand the passion
it takes to truly hang on and persevere,
even when all the odds are against you.
You most certainly need to believe
your dream is attainable. If not
it’s much too easy to give up.
When the spark to become a screenwriter ignited
in my mid-thirties, many people thought I was nuts. And to be honest, they were
probably right, but it didn’t stop me. I dove
head first into learning everything I could about screenwriting, from
concept to finished script, to all that goes into actually seeing a script
become a finished film.
It truly became my passion. I could see nothing else but the dream of seeing one of my stories come to life on the silver screen. To say I was driven is an understatement.
It is hard to believe my Son’s first semester of college is now behind me. Those first couple weeks my heart ached. I missed him immensely.
As a single Mom with only one child, when that child heads off to college, your empty-nest becomes salt in the wound of being alone.
I reminisced longingly at all of the highlights of his Senior year. And for that matter all of high school.
With time though I settled into my new norm and even embraced the opportunity to re-discover the me that got lost while raising my Son.
Don’t get me wrong, I looked forward to every visit home he made, and was thrilled when we started to have weekly phone conversations. Something I certainly didn’t expect from a teenage boy.
So, I could hardly wait for Winter Break. He would be home for five weeks. And with how wonderful all his other breaks went, I thought for sure him and I were heading into a whole new dynamic between parent and child.
I was however in for a rude awakening, and a reminder that change does not come quickly or easily.