Last Thursday my youngest child came home from high school for the last time — in an instant she was no longer a high school student. Last night she walked across the stage to receive her graduation diploma — in an instant she became a high school graduate. This afternoon, less than 24 hrs later, she got on a plane headed to Indonesia for a month — in an instant we became empty-nesters.
It all happened according to plans laid years and months ago. Milestones reached. Tasks marked complete. Mission accomplished. But the real work of adjusting to the change is just now beginning. For all of us. Change is external – it happens in an instant. Transition is internal – that takes time. Time to pull out the refresher notes on successful transitions.
As I look at this personal change curve, I see that I’m going to do everything possible to short-circuit the supposedly inevitable trough in the middle, with descriptors like fear and depression. Can’t I skip that part?! I’ve drawn a new thick red line that’s skipping straight across to “Moving Forward”. This is my vision. I will concede some moments of melancholy along the way. The occasional fleeting moments of nostalgic longing for the past. But I’ll be working to forge a new path as an empty-nester and thankful, that I’m not sitting here exhausted and relieved that the teens have finally emptied out of the house. They are such a delight — I look forward to their every visit with joyful anticipation.
“All Changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another”. Anatole France, French writer
Stay tuned …