This post is in response to the WordPress daily prompt: Aimless
Have you ever felt aimless?
I have felt “aimless” since becoming an empty nester when my youngest went off to college almost 5 years ago. Now he has graduated and started his own life and a new career, as has his older brother. They both live in a different state and while they’re not too terribly far away, I don’t see them as much as I’d like. Now I’m left feeling like I’m not real sure what my purpose in life is now that I have no children to raise. Yes, I know I’m still their mom and always will be, but this empty nest thing? I don’t like it. Not one bit. I’m aimless and still trying to find my way. Sometimes I feel as though someone has blindfolded me and I’m stumbling around with both arms outstretched, trying to feel my way around in this crazy big world, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do now.
For as long as I can remember, I knew without a doubt what I wanted in this life. Thumbing through my senior high school yearbook recently took me on a stroll down memory lane. In the back of the yearbook was our senior directory where there was a list of the graduates and the clubs and activities we were involved in and also our ambitions. I wrote under my ambition that I wanted to be a veterinarian, get married and eventually have a family. I did all three (in that order). I heard it said once that there are not many people who accomplish their high school dreams and goals so I guess I feel somewhat blessed that I was one of the few that did.
Since the second grade, I wanted to be a veterinarian. My uncle was a veterinarian and he was someone I always looked up to and admired. I guess you could say he was my mentor. I thought he had the most awesome job in the world. And while I have no regrets about going to veterinary school, it was not the career for me. As soon as my children came along, I felt my place was to be home with them. When I was at work, I always felt guilty that I wasn’t home with my boys. When I was at home with them I often found myself thinking about my animal patients or reading and studying up on a particular case. I felt I was always constantly struggling to be both a good mother AND a good veterinarian during that time and was always looking for a healthy balance between the two. I never found it. I was miserable in the midst of always struggling. So I decided to become a full-time stay at home mom and I have no regrets. Wouldn’t trade that time for all the money in the world and I mean that with all my heart. Several years ago, when my youngest was still in high school, I tried going back to the veterinary world but found that clinical practice still was not for me. I wasn’t happy. However, I have absolutely no regrets about going to vet school nor do I feel it was a waste. I’m grateful I did it and am grateful for all the knowledge I received. I’m grateful for the time I did practice, for the experience I gained, for the animals I helped who taught me so much, and for the friends I made. I’m hopeful there’s still a career in the veterinary world for me and that I just haven’t found my “niche” yet and that time won’t run out before I do. I’m no spring chicken ya know?
Now that my youngest has graduated from college, I’m wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out what in the world my purpose is. I wasn’t ready for my empty nest. I guess I didn’t prepare for it very well, but in all honestly, I didn’t know how to prepare. It’s like one minute I was bending over tying my little boys’ shoes, I blinked, and then I was watching them walk across a stage to receive their college diplomas. One minute I was pushing them on their swing set and reading Berenstain Bear books to them, and the next minute I’m moving them and their belongings into an apartment, waving goodbye and choking back tears.
I know children grow up and parents must let them go but I never knew how hard that process is. I wasn’t ready for my empty nest and the mothering part of my life to end. And it didn’t help that all this coincided with menopause!! I’ve heard a few friends say that they couldn’t wait for their empty nest to get here and that it “couldn’t come soon enough.” I can’t even fathom feeling like that but I’m quite sure they don’t comprehend my feelings either. Maybe there’s a happy medium in there somewhere! I hope I find it.