by Brenda Ridgley
Two years ago I shared with readers my struggle to figure out what I was going to do with myself after my kids went off to college. I’m sharing this story today in honor of all the MOMs out there who are about to send their kids off to their next adventure and begin “adulting,” and feel a little lost.
Over the past few weeks, I have been working toward and planning for a national event with my company happening in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, next week. My 16-year-old daughter Gillian begged and begged me to take her along for the ride to hang at the beautiful beachfront property. After thinking about it, I decided to oblige her request because there just happens to be a number of universities that she had been researching within driving distance that we could visit. Now we have a “girls’ trip” planned with campus tours and meetings with volleyball coaches as she aspires to play in college. My 3-day business trip is now a full schedule of 7 days wrapping up with what will be her beach time during my business meetings and one final day on the beach together. Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?
With all of this planning and wondering what the future will bring for my daughter and son who is already attending college, I am left with fleeting moments questioning “What about me?” Eighteen months ago I was in a bit of a pre-empty nest panic. As a work from home mom, I have been able to work around my kid’s schedules a lot of the time. As much as I hate to admit it, “MOM” is a big part of my identity. What will I do with no more basketball games, theater productions, choir concerts, volleyball matches, club travel, homecoming, prom…….? I found myself grasping for dear life onto every “MOMent.”
Then one day it occurred to me that once my children have moved on to their next adventure, I will get to move on to my own. I began to think, “Hey, I can do anything I want! I can do something totally different!” Now I get to contemplate, yet again, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I can further explore my current interests and passions and even find a few more! I can travel almost any time of the year without regard to a school schedule! I can re-decorate, de-clutter and donate years of collected stuff! Where do I want to grow? What do I want to learn? Who do I want to become?
My hope for you is that as you think about things in your life that may seem to be coming to an end and “flip-it” in your brain. Ask yourself, “What’s next for me? What do I want to be when I grow up? ” Then get excited about the adventure. You’ve got this!
All my best,
Brenda Ridgley is an author, speaker and connection guru helping people connect intentionally and meaningfully, finding success and joy through relationships. She has an MA Degree in Human Resources Development and her first book Lady and the Tribe will be available in bookstores and on Amazon early this fall.
Subscribe to her YouTube channel the Connection Connoisseur