Having long had a motto that "I'd rather burn out than rust out," I sometimes run into real danger of doing just that -- burning out. I've always felt like there was just so much good stuff out there to do, and I want to do it all!
But occasionally, it feels good to pause a moment and catch my breath. This is one of those times. Sam left for college last night, and Bob is fully booked with activities today. Warren will be around once he wakes up, but for the moment, I have a little quiet time to myself. Even after that, the whole weekend is pretty much unscheduled and stress free. And I want to really relish it, because after this weekend, my calendar sends me off and running again pretty much nonstop until the second week of November.
Bob and I have been talking a lot lately about how we're right on the brink of a new life phase. This is Sam's senior year of college and though he does need three semesters yet to finish, he has made it clear that he is unlikely to live here next summer. So barring the always possible change of plans, he has effectively lived here for the last time. His future presence will be just visits, which I suspect are different in nature.
Warren is moving out in just over a month. He has finally gotten his act together and worked steadily for the last six months, saved money, and reached a point where I think he stands a fighting chance of making it as a self-supporting adult. Now he just needs to spread his wings and fly.
So soon, Bob and I will be empty nesters. We're really looking forward to it at this point. We envision it as being almost a return to the early years of marriage, where we could follow our own whims and schedules without really having to worry about anyone else's needs. Of course, it won't be exactly like that. These two young men aren't going to just disappear and never show up with needs. And we each have an aging mother who wasn't a concern back in the newlywed years. The two of us are blessed with excellent health, but even at that, our bodies certainly let us know we aren't the same kids we were then. So we know it won't really be the same -- but it's the closest analogy we have.
We're also at an age where people get serious about their retirement plans and decisions. We have been working with some professionals to consider those options, and have decided we prefer to stay in the workforce for another ten years or so, given the choice. (I know all too well that often, those decisions become not a matter of choice. But we plan for what we can control, and deal with what we can't control if and when it comes along.)
So realistically, we're probably about to embark on a ten-year new phase in the journey of our life -- the empty-nest, pre-retirement phase. I don't really know what to expect, but I am confident of two things: I have the best possible traveling companion, and it will never be boring!