My new senior in the house, my youngest, and last child, will be finished with her school journey by this time next year. It is such an odd feeling, and one I’ve never felt before. Unlike many people I know, who are either married or splitting custody where they have reliable time to themselves, as a widow I don’t know what that’s like. Usually, I’m on parenting duty 24/7 and have been for many years.
Since both my youngest kids now have jobs, I find myself ALONE on some evenings. How odd that is. While I’ve filled some of those evenings with “dates” (whatever you want to call that hellscape LOL), most evenings I find myself with time on my hands. It’s a different kind of time, not the kind where the kids are home and doing their own thing, but no one else is here. Sure, many evenings I take the time to relax, do some yoga, work out, or watch a movie, I find myself reflecting on what I will do when the nest is actually empty.
While I do love to travel, and have traveled many places alone (and wouldn’t mind doing more of that to be honest), it is quite an unusual concept to think about this next phase in my life. While I have made interesting connections in my recent past, none intrigue me more so than the connection I will make with myself. As I come to a place where my novel is almost ready for publishing, my freelance writing career is comfortable and I’m improving my health by leaps and bounds, I contemplate what will come next. Will I stay single and navigate this world on my own? Will I find someone who isn’t unhealthy in so many ways who will actually be good for me? Will my kids continue to live with me, not changing my life that much? Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I guess I cannot know, but the thought process is new and intriguing.
There are many things I’ve contemplated doing. While I will be working on book two of my trilogy in short order, I have those bucket list items many of us have. I want to see the aurora, a lifelong dream that I don’t want to give up. Unfortunately, in the time of the plague, it is a partially unattainable goal, so once again, it will go on the back burner for now. Sure, I have my hobbies such as crating, gaming, reading etc, but they are constants…I want the paths less chosen. It’s easy to list all the things that I WANT to do, but affording them is another. So, I have to find some balance. Usually, when I start going down the travel search rabbit hole, I get a rude awakening when I price out the trips. I recently received an email that a slot was available for the cruise of my dreams, Star Trek: The Cruise, but it was just too expensive. In a lot of cases, the single person is penalized for traveling alone. So, I stick to local things like antique shops, being out in nature and the like.
In the meantime, my two youngest children live here. With their omnipresent autism and the challenges that can bring, they are not ready to drive. I’m glad they recognize this. While they will both be taking driving lessons in the near future, I think the process will be a bit longer than the standard path to a license. That’s fine with me, because they recognize that their social anxieties are there, and will need to be tamed in a different way. In their jobs, they deal with more anxiety than most, in unusual ways. So for now, I’m there for the support, the sounding board that helps them understand that their apprehensions are valid and real. I know I will always be needed by them, but I do hope they will one day vacate the nest and lead productive and independent lives on their own. But I want them to know that if they don’t, that’s OK too.