Since August, I have been very focused on helping Brooke prepare to leave the nest. She has been tracking along pretty well over the past few weeks which gives me a bit of time to consider the adjustments I will be making as well. It looks like her college applications are in and we are awaiting the results with confidence. I know it seems a bit odd, but it hit me–she’s really leaving the nest.
For the past 17 years, I have devoted the lion’s share of my life and energy toward helping Brooke grow into a healthy, strong, well adjusted adult. I have known from the beginning, that this job would end. And now, with seven months until she graduates, it is time for me to start thinking about what comes next for me.
Two years ago, Brooke’s father and I divorced. We moved from our home of 25 years. We divided our furnishings and belongings having plenty left over to give to neighbors and charities. I was shocked at how much had been stored away in our little home. I continue to down size, pruning away things that are no longer a part of my current life. With each box I donate I am closing one chapter and making room for another. Over the last several weeks, I tackled my office and an old file cabinet, recycling, shredding and tossing bag after bag of old records, notes, receipts and ancient documents.
I saw glimpses of days gone by, resumes outlining my work experience and accomplishments which oddly feel like they were the work of someone else, unearthing old receipts reminding me of when we purchased our home, the porch furniture which was the first thing we bought as a married couple, medical records reminding me of ups and downs with my health. All of which feel oddly surreal.
There was a time that I held on to all of this stuff, thinking that I might need it one day, but some of it was as much as thirty years old. Coming across these memories at once seemed like yesterday and a millennium ago.
At the end of this tossing and organizing frenzy, I totally cleared my full sized file cabinet. Only the top drawer contains paperwork, the rest is craft and art supplies for now. I still find myself dusting off the craft items from time to time, but they are due for a major purge some time soon.
It now occurs to me to think forward, to dust off dreams I have put aside, such as travel and making new friendships and to focus on some of the things I have taken up in recent years, such as my ice dancing and yoga.