Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reinventing the empty nest.

I'm taking a break from the fiction to talk about me for a minute. Yes, it's a self-indulgent diversion, but I'm taking some time in my thinking chair to figure out what's happening next in that wacky Feast of Funerals world. I've diverged from the initial intention of my site to jump into some fiction, and to do a bit of self-exposure. And tonight I've decided on the latter.

Connor's been accumulating items he'll be taking to college next week. The dining room area is slowly being filled with items that will soon be jammed into a micro-small dorm room.

His chalkboard is propped on a chair in my dining room. Yesterday morning, I was walking down the hall toward the kitchen and I read his chalkboard, which had been recently added to the pile of stuff that's going to college.

Instinctually, and probably because it was very early and I wasn't quite awake, I looked around.

Some messages are literal; some have a bit of a deeper meaning.

It took me a few minutes yesterday morning to get figurative.

I have yet to talk with Connor about why this is scrawled on the chalkboard that's heading up to UNC next week, but it seemed relevant to my mood lately.

It seems like I've been doing a lot of the "look behind you" lately.

Just a handful of months ago, my house was populated. As of next week, it's going to be just me, most of the time.

I've done a bit of poking around on the google about the empty nest concept, and apparently they're calling it a syndrome.

And I'm not alone, which is oddly comforting.

No one is alone when they call what you seem to have a syndrome.

Here's what wikipedia says about this syndrome: In order to fill the void of the empty house, many people look for something that is living and breathing that will take their minds off their feelings, like a pet.

That's so not going to happen with me. I have two dogs who I love to death, but suffice it to say that they will not be replaced.

Take you mind off your feelings? Really? And taking your mind off your feelings with an unconditionally loving pet? I understand that may work for some people, but not me.

Like packing for a trip, I've been trying to anticipate what my world will be looking like after next week. It's safe to say that I've been packing for a while.

And the suitcase is getting full.

But like packing for most trips, I know I'll forget something.

So, true to my hippie nature, I've been gradually, quietly (which is oddly appropriate) attending some dharma gatherings. There's a luscious underground of people in Denver who actively practice. So a few times a week, I get settled, and try to learn some ways to make this next step more graceful; less discordant.

I've realized lately that it's less about the "look behind you" and more about the "see what's in front of you".

I can worry if I want.

But I've come to accept that worry has no value. It's a complete waste of time.

I can get all wrapped up in the "look behind you" idea.

I'm opting for the Right Now.

The metta.

There are a lot of people like me, who are just as incredulous as I am that what once was full is empty. This nest was so intricately designed.

And there are lots of people like me who understand the value of stillness.

So instead of calling the next phase a syndrome, I'm trying to see this empty nest as a fresh start.

A reinvention.

Despite what the syndrome might suggest, there's a beauty in emptiness.

And as a bit of an homage to Connor, his departure, his new life, this image projects what I love about him - his courage, his fear, his willingness, his challenge, his potential.

These next few weeks will be interesting, adjusting to my empty nest.

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