Empty Nester

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Saturday Night

Another Saturday Night logging video. I have to transcribe every word of my interviews or I can’t be certain I get the very best material in the piece

A Single Empty Nest Sunday

Maybe Sundays are the most emblematic of the empty nest change of life.

Look at my Sunday (which is only half over as I write). I woke up late. That in itself is a major achievement and something I never thought could happen to me again. (big win!) But when I looked at my phone I realized I had only half an hour to get up, feed/walk the dogs, ride my bike to church, find a seat and be ready for service to begin. My good friend Larry Watchorn was to preach for the very first time. No time to make coffee.

Larry’s sermon was spot-on for what I needed to hear today. He used himself as an example. Like many of my friends just past 50, Larry is hearing his calling more clearly than ever before and has decided to become an ordained minister. He said he feels like Scrooge waking up and realizing there is still time!!! Those words gave me goose bumps. There is still time! It is a reminder we all need to hear. He talked about seeing signs recently (actual ones) saying “Do What You Love.” It was a sermon for all of us to live our truth. Larry has a wonderful professional career and is a seasoned marathon runner. With all the awards in his trophy case, I am certain his mother was never more proud than she was today. She ran to the alter to give Larry a huge tearful hug after his sermon (and while service was still going!) and then proceeded to hug half of the congregation on the way back to her seat. I was weeping as I witnessed.

After the service, I spoke with Joel Ogburn, the music director for Joy Metropolitan Community Church. He told me he recently left his successful career/business as a hair dresser to work for the church full time. I was looking at a man who looked 10 years younger than he had a month ago. His joy was all I needed to see to understand. Joel’s enthusiasm during the service had me raising my hand to purchase two pet calendars for 25 dollars when 1 pet calendar costs only 5 dollars. That’s what enthusiasm will do for you!

Two minutes later I phoned a girlfriend who is finding herself again after turning 50 and after divorce. I shared Larry’s sermon. Life is like that: good things have a ripple effect that never end.

I rode my bike home and pressed a quick pot of coffee (a girl can only hold out so long), and then jumped back on my bike to go to Yoga in the Park, a popular and well attended Sunday tradition here in Orlando where a group of great yoga instructors teach a donation based class. People bring their kids and dogs to their practice while drinking in the gorgeous blue skies, the aroma of flowers and the views of swans swimming in the reflective Lake Eola.

I thought about Larry’s words as I practiced today and wondered what I will do with my own realization “there is still time!” That brought me to think about Patricia Arquette’s character in “Boyhood.” I could write volumes praising Ms. Arquette’s performance, which is precisely how I can focus on the character of Olivia as if she were a real person! Olivia breaks down emotionally when her nest empties. She had made a life of providing for her children. Her life is suddenly as empty as her nest. I want the movie to go on a little longer. I want Olivia to understand “There is Still Time!” and then I want her to “Do What You Love!”

I ate lunch – you guessed it – at Tijuana Flats! That makes the day pretty perfect, and played right into today’s theme. I can do whatever I want!! I’ll head to the bike store this afternoon to add a few accessories on my bikes. I may also do some yard work. I’ll leave work work for tomorrow and enjoy this single empty nest Sunday doing what I love. (Camera in hand!)

SEC Gymnastics

At Georgia vs. LSU gymnastics meet in Baton Rouge. Tiger Mike roams in his habitat right outside. Not sure how I feel about that. (Yes I am sure ?.) But he sure is gorgeous.


Business Trip

It occurs to me that today is my first “business trip” in almost 20 years. The last one I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter who is 19. Her birth grounded me — at least as far as work was concerned.

It may not seem all that significant except when you consider I traveled nonstop for a decade straight covering Wide World of Sports — and any kind of sport in between — often visiting two cities in a week. I didn’t know how to be at home.

Many memories came flooding back the minute I began yukking it up with the ESPN travel department — joking, reminiscing and (maybe) gossiping with Andrea (she is the best!!!). And then while meeting other people traveling for business in the airport and learning all about jobs I had no idea existed!! (Later I find out that they Facebook friend requested me [I can make a verb out of anything]. That’s a new thing that didn’t happen 20 years ago.)

I made a concerted effort to go old school today – ignoring the inflight wifi, leaving iPad  at home, and just shutting down completely during the flights. I remember flying being my greatest chance for rest and recovery.

I have my camera so that hasn’t changed!

My daughter is boarding a flight to LA today. Though she hasn’t lived home for 18 months, I still feel this is a big deal. While it may seem a random and sudden topic change, it also feels significant that while she flies further and further from the nest I should also be on a plane traveling to an old space occupied by a much younger me.

Empty Nester Goes Back to Work

Other than my early career, I spent the bulk of my adult life standing behind a kitchen counter. Don’t hear me complaining. I was lucky. I got to stay at home with my kids. I always considered that a privilege. I love to cook. I cooked all the time as the kids were growing and I still do whenever I get the chance. Eighteen months ago, my life changed drastically. My nest emptied four years earlier than I expected. A long term relationship ended. My dad had a stroke and became paralyzed. So I sold my house and moved to be near my parents. I started networking and got back to work. I was a television producer, director, associate director in my early career. I loved it. But I wasn’t looking to repeat. I am older now. I live down south now. I started producing videos for large companies and non-profits. I found a lot of joy working on a smaller and more intimate scale. But when I was asked to shoot head shots and portraits, I’d respond “I am not a photographer.” (Secretly I was. I just had never charged for it.) That has all changed too. The best part of life for me is letting it unfold. Over-planning was never a thing for me. I couldn’t have predicted a year ago that this particular day would have me editing photos, researching for an online education project launch, and “attending” an online meeting (Love those! I stayed in my sweats) — or that tomorrow I’d be flying to Baton Rouge for a show. Work is a tremendous blessing to an empty nester single mom. BUT truth be told, I often take my computer and camera equipment out of my office and into the kitchen because that counter is still my comfort zone!! And I’m happy as a clam to sneak a little cooking in too!!