Emptying the Nest

Our Dear Darling Daughter Hayley (D3H) has flown the coop. My brain and heart are out of synch and will be for some time. She had moved to Asheville several years ago, but that town is only a few hours away and was an easy drive/ride. Denver? Not so much. Hayley burned her life to the ground; she quit her job of 15 years, sold her stuff and kept only that which fit in her car, and left. But she has earned the right to do this. Debt free, plenty of cash on hand and a healthy 401k. The kid has her shit together. She has a place to live in Denver, a college dorm thing (?!) and has yet to move in or even find a job. But she will. It’s nice to have that kind of confidence in your child.

But now Saber and I are truly on our own, alone in a new way. We are really truly empty nesters. Ugh. We don’t like it. It’s bad enough that Philip and his family are almost on another planet (L.A. really is…) but over the years we have become accustomed to it and see them as often as we can. That sense of distance is difficult… D3H is another thing. We have 30 years of her presence, along with 6 (?) of DDD Teddy (Dear Darling Dog, or D3T.)

Today is the beginning of the ritualized cleaning of the nest. It’s not because D3T was not entirely paper disciplined but a ground up reordering of our home. We began last night with the recaulking of the shower and started today with the living room carpet cleaning. Gross. It’s a process, a ritual, and symbolic (to me anyway) of a mostly blank piece of paper on which Saber and I are writing the next chapters of our lives. Other than our jobs nothing else is off the table, keep/discard, stay/go, whatever we want to do and whenever. Mostly of course, regardless of what American Express says we can do.

I have wanted to move to the Rockies for ever, and with D3H leading the way it is much more likely that we will. When? Who knows. 2 years? 3? Saber is getting on board; as we are pointing at a new car in the next year or so she is talking about a 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a start! If and when we go we will follow Hayley’s example and scorched-earth our lives, offloading nearly everything (except my Kitchenaid mixer of course!)

I like blank sheets of paper. So much – or little – can be written on them. Each new day is in a sense this, and what we choose to write is much more accessible that most think. We have a sad tendency to become attached to our stuff, not recognizing the enslavement (too strong?) that ensues. Other than the basics nothing is off the table. Sell, give away or throw away anything that creates a burden, gets in the way or is no longer useful. Diminish the burden of chaos and enter into the experience of less. Every day is an opportunity to rethink, well, everything! Our daily routines, what we eat, the style of dress we have (not) cultivated, everything. One day at a time of course, but the idea of choice is powerful; it’s the only real freedom we have, to examine ourselves and choose our responses.

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