All throughout my adult life, I have been aware of the phases that my friends and I were going through. The first one was the wedding phase. That was a good one. I remember one fall, we attended 6 weddings in 5 weekends.
The wedding phase was followed by the baby phase. All those newlyweds eventually had babies .. and so it was time for baby showers and visits to the maternity ward to visit the new parents and the newborn babies.
There was the occasional divorce or death of a parent sprinkled in with these phases, but in general, most of my friends were marching along the same path. The kids got older, some moms went back to work. Things were good.
The reflective and somewhat pensive phase has begun. This fall our kids are going to college and we all ask ourselves … Is this child of mine ready to live independently? Did I prepare her for life on her own? Am I ready to let go? Luckily, I can answer these questions with a yes.
I have only ever struggled with one phase — and that is the aging parent phase that I am going through right now. I’m an optimistic person by nature, but it’s hard to find a silver lining in the situation when my mom is lonely and doesn’t really make an effort to help herself. I have made many mental notes on what not to do when I get to this phase!
So what is the next phase for me? It’s certainly not retirement — that sounds too old, plus, I need to get a job so that I can retire from it! I think this is the planning phase. My son is in 10th grade. He’ll be in college soon. I need to start planning for an empty nest. I will take some time to reflect – and then form a plan – and that will be the next phase. I don’t have a name for it yet.