We spend our childhoods with others trying to mold and shape us into what they want us to be, and their intentions are for the best for us. Our lives for ourselves, as we live them with our own purpose, essentially begins when we leave the nest. Some of us are pushed out of the nest way to early, and some of us really drag our feet over ever leaving the nest.
Our lives for ourselves, though, really begin as soon as we're out of the nest that our parents feathered. Most of us don't give this a lot of consideration at that time because we're too busy chewing through the tether our parents have been restraining us with. I didn't go through adolescence gracefully. I was a lost child who 'slipped' between the cracks of the educational system and I slipped through the cracks at home, as well. I married right out of high school, the child bride incarnate. Fourteen years and five children later, I became a single-mother of five children. And there I remained.
Nearly twenty years later my own nest emptied. When I started raising children I would say that we all get about twenty years to ourselves to do with as we please, and I would be getting those on the back end of child-rearing. I would say that I'd be young yet when my children were grown, and I could have my adventures then.
Well, then is now. My own nest has been empty now for nine months, and a couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany: I am, essentially, just like that new graduate who has the rest of their life ahead of them. I've never remarried, so have no one to consider other than myself. I can do anything that I want and go anywhere that I want. I just have to figure out what that is, where that is...and how to get there from here. I am entering that summer after graduation that I never got because I started a family at 18. I spent the first phase of my adulthood raising five beautiful children into beautiful adults. Now begins Phase Two.