I am not exactly sure why I am writing and sharing this but I feel compelled, almost like looking for advice, clarity or someone to help me better understand and transition into a more simple life……..or maybe by sharing it’ll just help me!! Is this the start of a Mid-Life Crisis or Empty Nesting?!?!
My husband is 42 and I am 39, we have been married for 21 years. We have 3 sons, our oldest just decided that college may not be for him after 2 years and is now trying out the real world, our middle son graduates this year and heads into the Marines in July and our youngest graduates in 2 1/2 years and plans on going into the military after graduation. Ages 20, 18 & 16….throughout our 21 years of marriage we have maybe 5 years of just US (our little family) and not extra kids and/or adults living with us…..we both like to help others and be there for them but my husband is fed up and ready for it to be just the 2 of us!!!
My husband had somewhat of a mental breakdown a couple of years ago…..he has always worked hard and even worked harder than most to provide for his family (refusing to take handouts or live off of the system). Even though times have not always been easy I have always been able to stay home with the kids and then as they have gotten older it allowed me freedom to do an odd job here and there for something to do but NOT a necessity.
We had a great big 5 bedroom house with a large garage/barn and property, vehicles, toys and lots of bills. With his breakdown came changes….he has needed to simplify his life as he cannot handle all the stress, commitments & extra responsibilities (trust me, it’s better for all of us)! Last fall we moved into a small 3 bedroom home with tiny back yard and maybe an 1/8th of the things we use to have!! (It wasn’t easy for me, we built that house and I loved it!!! I get emotional and attached but I have learned how to let stuff go as it’s who we have in our lives that matters and NOT what we have!! Still I have struggles and battles with myself!!) I have learned that it is nice to have a smaller place as I can clean the whole house in 1/2 a day instead of several days but now have a ton if time on my hands!!
My husband is ready to hit the open road, he wants to travel, be free, leave everything behind and especially get out of the colder weather so we can ride the motorcycles & golf year round! Yes, I too would like to enjoy these things but we argue (not really fight but bicker) about this as we still have responsibilities….we still have teenagers at home!! He’s planning for the now & our future and I am more stuck in the here and now…..I am mom, I have kids to still take care of and help guide………maybe I am just a little scared that they may not need me anymore!! I have always dreamed of having my kids, grandkids and gatherings at our home, I love to cook and be here for our loved ones, I tend to be the one guiding and giving advice (including with my mother and others that are both younger and older than me….Some, I think I should be going to for guidance but instead they come to me)………how can I do all of this if we do not have a home and are just traveling or get into a small 1 or 2 bedroom place?!?! I want the best of both worlds and am battling myself from within on how to deal and cope with all these changes!!!
How do I learn to let Everything GO and focus solely on my husband and myself?? I have been doing a lot of soul searching to remember who I use to be, to see where some of my issues stem from, to see what I want out if life and to see what has changed and what I need to work on to be happier and myself again!!! I’ve been nurturing and taking care of others which includes my mother and brother (8yrs younger than me) since I was about 9 years old!!! Don’t get me wrong, I Love my Mother and am who I am because of what I have been through in my life but I don’t know how to let go and NOT worry, nurture or want to take care of others or try to fix problems!!! I do know that my husband has been put on the back burner more than he should and I am really trying hard to put him ahead again like before we had kids as well as myself!!! Somehow I have managed to lose touch with myself!! Baby steps towards progress and I’m truly trying, everyday!!
I love traveling with my husband regardless if it’s by plane, motorhome or by bike (I ride behind him as I’m still learning to ride by myself)!! It is very different by bike…..we have both learned this!! It is a type of freedom, as if the whole world slows down just for us!! We ride on roads we have been on many times but by bike it’s like taking it for the first time….we see, we enjoy and cherish everything more!!! We talk about taking trips through several states and maybe all the way to Costa Rica and what we want to see……but yet I’m torn about leaving the kids alone for too long!!! Yes, they can cook, clean & take care of themselves but I partially feel as though we are abandoning them when we are gone for a week or two let alone an entire month!! After July it will be just out youngest, he will be 17 and a Junior but is it fair to leave him for 1-3 weeks alone? We have never left the boys this long by themselves let alone just one by himself…..the mother in me says HELL NO but yet he is old enough to be on his own….they all are!! My husband and I were both already on our own when we met at 18 & 20 then married exactly 6 months later and had our oldest son 7 months after that……my boys are NOT babies but yet they are my babies!!!
I am sorry about writing a short novel and I have tried to make it as simple and to the point but I have so much random stuff going on inside it’s hard to know where to start or what to share!! Am I the only one going through this or is this normal? Does anyone have any advice? Is there a trick to making the transition easier to let things go? Am I just starting to Empty Nest or am I starting to go through a mid-life crisis or my husband, maybe it’s both of us??!?!?
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this…sincerely & confused, Robin Robinson