2020 has been a helluva year for all of us. We’ve all endured uncertainty, fear, frustrations, etc.
It has been a life-changing year for me. Displaced by COVID, I found myself unexpectedly moving from the town I’d lived in since 1998 back to my hometown – halfway across the country – Charlotte, NC.
My husband is a first responder. As a firefighter/paramedic, he had to treat and transport COVID patients every day in our old town. As a high risk individual, we decided it would be best for me to take my (now) 15 year old daughter and go east, where my family is, and hunker down with them until all this passed. My husband couldn’t guarantee our safety at home, given the job he was required to perform.
I packed my daughter up and went to Charlotte for what I assumed would be a couple of weeks. It was a 12 hour drive. I had 7 days worth of clothes in my suitcase, with the understanding that I could do some laundry at my parents house if it came to that.
Ha. If it came to that.
What started as a trip to stay with family for a short time ended up being a long-term stay, followed by the decision to just move here once we realized COVID isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
My husband, we decided, could find a different job in NC in IT (his first love). If worst came to worst, he could get a job as a first responder locally. I could still hunker down with family as needed. Quarantining with family who lives locally is not as big a deal as quarantining with family who lives halfway across the country.
I gave my 15 year old the option of whether to move with me to NC or go back to her hometown back west. Initially, she chose to come with me, but ultimately changed her mind. She was homesick, so she went back to west, and moved in with her dad.
As a result, I’m an empty nester.
I’m close to my family for the first time in my adult life, and I’m 42 years old. I have a beautiful home here, and my husband loves it as well.
Maybe it’s all the changes we’ve been through, or the countless hours in quarantine doing nothing but stewing…
… But lately, I can’t help but ask myself, “What else is out there for me?”
My job, which I’ve always loved, feels stale. I’m bored in general, and need something – anything – added to my life.
A new hobby? A new career? A new college degree?
What am I seeking? What is it I desire?
I’ve spent my entire life doing “whatever I have to do” to make ends meet, take care of my children… that now, I’m left wondering, “What’s next?”
For now, my youngest daughter is living 700 miles away with her father. My oldest daughter is completely on her own, living elsewhere. I can be something other than a mom for the first time since I got pregnant at 19, and I’m lost.
I’m more than merely someone’s mother or wife. There is more to life than going to work every day. Now that I don’t have to stress about finances or raising kids, I don’t know what to do with myself.
Perhaps this is what mid-life crisis feels like. Maybe I’m just in transition, standing at the crossroads. It’s not an altogether comfortable feeling to have. Let’s see where this takes me.