Ijust finished helping the daughter pack up a few things to take to her dorm room. My stubborn womanchild was determined that she didn't want to live in the dorm at the beginning of the semester. She found herself constantly running up and down the highway. She was going to try to hang on to two of her three part time jobs. (Do you know how frustrating it is that she can walk in a business and have a job the next day while I am slogging and slogging through rejection after rejection? I am so tempted to say it's because she's young and cute, and well, I'm not, but I don't want to give myself excuses.) All of her spare time was given to the ex-boyfriend. She didn't have time for the social life at her college, and all I heard about it was, "I hate college!"
Well, with the (unregretted on my part) ex out of the picture, she decided to move into the dorm -- like I and everybody else has been telling her to do from the start. Hallelujah! Today, while we were discussing which books she could take, I could recognize the real pangs of the empty nest. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud as I can be. She's actually doing what I want her to do. But before, when she was staying with her aunt, I knew it was temporary. This really is it now. She'll be home for summers and holidays maybe. She asked me if I was lonely, and I honestly answered yes. I also told her that this is the way it's supposed to be. Your children are supposed to grow up, and life is always changing.
She's really beginning her life now, and I find myself in the position of beginning mine all over again. When you're nose deep in the rounds of kid's activities and problems, you do put part of your life on hold. It's easy to dream about what you would do if you had some time for yourself.
With no husband, no child at home, no job and thus limited resources, and for the moment, spotty transportation, I have more time than anything else.
Being brave and positive, it's time to build the life I want. Floating somewhere between realism, fear and depression, I'm constantly asking myself what and how. These are big questions I thought I should have settled by now. Many days, I can only make my goal for the day staying off my butt as much as possible. When I was in a corporate job, I hated the omnipresent lingo and slogans. The one that always got me the worst was, "Every problem is an opportunity." Every time I heard it, I was tempted to shout, "It's also a freaking, difficult problem!"
I have quite a few problems now, and I'm reminding myself that they are also opportunities. I'm also reminding myself that there really are very few shoulds. Life doesn't always unfold in the expected ways, and there's no telling what I'll turn out to be. I've disappointed myself a lot so far, but it doesn't have to stay that way. With such a strong reminder of mortality in my life, I find myself asking (too often for my comfort) if this is all I ever turn out to be, is it enough? I don't think my life has been well lived, but I don't think I'm a bad person. I just have to keep going on, and staying off my butt is still the best advice I have for myself.