Roots, wings, and an empty nest

Life has made another quantum shift this week, as I officially became an ’empty nester’. This weekend, I moved my son into the University of Southampton. He has an amazing room in his hall of residence and I’m impressed that he made efforts to ‘chat’ with fellow freshers before he even arrived and seems to have continued in that vein in these first days. His sister, who has just started a job in corporate tax moved to the same city a month ago. She is in a shared professional house and has amazed me with how she has adapted to the work routine and with how invested she is in succeeding in her training.

On the one hand I am immensely proud – of my kids for what they are doing, and of myself for having got them this far. They are bright, confident, go-getting young people, and seeing them happy makes my heart sing. On the other hand, I am desperately anxious. I don’t mind my own company, but the idea of facing a future where I wake up to an empty house, work in an empty house, and go to bed in an empty house takes that to the absolute extreme.

Yesterday evening I had a mini meltdown… my mind was racing, over-thinking, catastrophizing, replaying past traumas as well as inventing future ones. I reached out to friends, listened and was listened to, and in spite of some incredibly strong ‘flight’ feelings, I made it through the night and woke up feeling slightly better today. The evenings still loom large though, as this is the time I hate most to be alone. And I hear from other friends that Sundays aren’t great either. Maybe there’s a gap in the market for a ‘Sunday Singles’ club, where people who live alone and get lonely on Sundays can go to put the world to rights…?

I’m hoping that I will adjust to the new rhythm of life and begin to appreciate the freedom to do my thing without have to plan around others (apart from the dog!). At the moment though, all the feelings that consumed me when my marriage ended have resurfaced… The plan was not to be alone at this time, yet here I am. The pandemic and its residue have not helped either, as my desire to travel has been curbed by general unease at whether it’s really safe to do so. I must remember to take one day at a time, and to breathe through the anxiety when it threatens to take hold.

Meanwhile, if you too are at a loose end and fancy some mischief or adventure, I’m definitely game… and brave… as the first 50 entries of this blog testify.

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