Rabu, 05 September 2012

After the Kids Have Returned to College: Adult Adjustments

I remember it well -- the first day both of my daughters were in school. I had been dreading this day for weeks and it felt just as I expected. "The house is too quiet," I said to my husband.

He thought for a moment and replied, "I'll take you out to lunch." We had a wonderful lunch together and during the course of our conversation I mentioned that we should go to lunch again. "I can't take you out to lunch every day," he replied. He spoke the truth and I had to deal with it.

My husband had a demanding job. What was my job now? I was still a mother and a homemaker, but what else could I do? The answers to my question were surprising. One of the things I did with my newfound time was to create a story hour at the local library. AAUW (American Association of University Women) staffed the story hour and it went well.

Because I had been away from teaching for seven years, I tried to update myself and learn about the changes that had taken place. The next year I got a job teaching kindergarten at a local school. Though I felt the same feelings I felt many years ago, I am familiar with them. Our twin grandchildren live with us. Last week my grandson went back to the university and my granddaughter left for college today.

The house is quiet -- too quiet -- but now I know what I will do with my time. After I returned to teaching, I continued to teach and taught for a dozen years. I started to write articles for education journals and had a feeling of satisfaction when they were published. Eventually, the tug of writing exceeded the tug of teaching. I retired from teaching to become a freelance writer.

Now that the house is quiet again, I will crank out more articles. I will work on book marketing. I will revise the outline for a course I'm giving in a month and practice my presentation. I will create handouts to go with the course. I will get in touch with friends that I haven't seen all summer. I will spent more time with my husband and savor every moment.

Your child or children may have gone back to college and you are left with a quiet house. This is your time, a chance to pursue things that have been on your wish list, a chance to reactivate hobbies, a chance to read the books piled on the coffee table, a chance to learn something new, a chance to make new friends, a chance to volunteer in your community, a chance to support causes near and dear to you, a chance to travel.

Thinking back, I realize I wouldn't be an established author today, were it not for my too quiet house. If your house is too quiet I hope you will embrace this time and follow your dreams. Make each day count, as you discover yourself and all you can do. Get going!

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson


Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author of 31 books. Her recent work focuses on loss, grief, and grief recovery. Check on her two new books, "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" and "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids." Visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

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