Friday, August 26, 2016

Empty Nest Syndrome - A beginner's guide

Let's review my to-do list for the past 5 months:

  • Oldest child gets engaged
  • Put favorite house up for sale
  • Find somewhere other than car to live
  • Youngest child graduates
  • Move
  • Plan wedding
  • Help youngest get ready for college
  • Have wedding
  • Send youngest to school
  • Be really tired
Now that I have checked off everything on my list I am faced with the fact that my little nest is empty. Well, not completely empty. It turns out that if your children's angelic faces plead to adopt new little kittens when they are 5 and 7 (or was it 6 and 8?) you will still have said kittens 13 years later when the children leave. So my nest is empty-ish. And, while I have worked full-time since my girls were small I have ALWAYS thought of myself, first and foremost, as mom. So losing the full-time parenting gig, while anticipated, is a bit shocking.

My first thought, as I'm sure would be yours, was now I can finally star in my own reality TV series, "The Crazy Cat-Lady Chronicles." I have asked an underutilized local band, "Iron Donut" to come up with my theme song. I'm hoping for something that's a mix of The White Stripes, Foo Fighters, and Tom Jones. I really feel like Tom deserves some kind of comeback. It will be amazing. (No pressure Iron Donut.) I'm currently lacking a few of the essentials for a reality TV show, such as scandalous friends and ridiculous amounts of time devoted to whining and inventing drama. I have asked a few friends to spice things up a bit, but so far they've let me down. (Cathy? Lisa? Come on ladies!) Also, it seems like some kind of vacation episode is popular, but can't imagine that a trip to Utah county would feel exotic on the screen.

So, while that's getting underway I decided to do a little research into coping with this whole empty-nest thing. (And let's all agree to not talk about dating.) Here are the recommendations:

1. Spend more time on your hobbies. This one has potential except I seem to be missing mine. Several months ago I asked Lisa, part of my single mom power duo, what her hobbies were with the hope that I could copy them. She just sat there staring at me, speechless. Three days later she came up with one. Three days. While it took her three days I'm still at a loss and it's been months. Zilch. Granted, I was taking care of that pesky list above, but you would think I would have had something come to mind. I have contemplated designing a line of leisure wear for cats, but find that in my heart of hearts I am a dog person and find no inspiration in the feline lifestyle. Don't worry, this won't impact my reality show...it will merely add to the drama. "Crazy cat lady is actually a dog person!" 

2. Reignite the flame with your partner. While the thought of a romantic dinner over tuna tartar with the cats is intriguing, I know it will inevitably end with one of them distracting me by shredding the furniture while the other pukes in my shoe. After all, this isn't my first night alone with the cats. Now I know someone is wanting to bring up dating, but if you remember I mentioned we weren't going to talk about that. (see above) If you think dating is a possibility for me you need to refresh your memory...so please read this Michelle dating= painful awkwardness

3. Volunteer. This one I have thought quite a lot about and plan to pursue because I am actually pretty good at caring for others, but apparently most places looking for volunteers need ones that don't work 50 hours a week. I would like to be needed from 6 - 9 pm, but not every night because I have my reality show to consider and also Netflix needs me to check in. Oh and nature. I like to be in it and at some point I should try and enjoy house cleaning. (The downside to children being gone is I have to admit I'm the one messing up the house.) Other than these issues volunteering has real promise.

4. Go back to school. I have also thought about this one. The only problem seems to be when I think about it my gut response is "No! I don't wanna!" While my two pointless bachelor's degrees are lovely, I find no excitement at the idea of getting a master's degree. I still think degrees should function like the game Monopoly. You can turn in two bachelor's and a hundred dollars and get a master's degree without having to actually do any more studying. (PARENTING MOMENT: Girls - school is great! You should keep going! You will get better jobs! Studying is fun! This is the best decision you've ever made!)

5. Seek therapy. I realize it's clear that I probably should be evaluated on a regular basis by the mental health profession I find that I'm not in a very "therapy" kind of mood. Maybe after a few tapings of "The Crazy Cat Lady Chronicles" I'll change my mind. It would make for a fabulous episode. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

jmsmusings said...

I would love to binge watch your reality show, and I hope you reconsider the cat leisure wear line because that will be both adorable and hysterical.

If you're working 50 hours a week, surely there is little time for much else other than minimal housework, food intake, Netflix, visiting teaching, whatever calling you have, and writing more witty posts...no hobbies needed.