A week from today, I shall be sitting in an auditorium watching my youngest son graduate from high school. It is the end of an era. This milestone has stirred up my thoughts, emotions and really has me asking myself the question "What's next?"
The short story I wrote in my head upon the birth of my oldest child (when I was young and naive enough to believe that raising a child ended upon them attaining their eighteenth birthday) was "Only eighteen more years ..." I didn't even have an end to that thought thirty eight years ago, so it is no wonder I am having trouble completing that sentence today.
What did I think was going to happen after I raised my child(ren) to a state of adulthood? Was it a sense of responsibility that would be lifted? An opportunity to do what I wanted with my life afterwards? Was I going to pick up where I left off with my education? What life goals were pre-empted that I had that thought that I would continue after eighteen years?
I remember the panic I felt when I was raising dependent children. The fear that I may not live to see them through their dependent years was an overwhelming concern. I often thought that the only reason I would want to know my expected "date of departure" from this world, was if I had children dependent on me so I could ensure proper arrangements were made.
I survived the years of raising children. There has been an overwhelming sense of "My work here is done" wafting through my mind.
Honestly, what could possibly be left for me to do? I have raised my children. I have written a few books. I have made family connections, initiated a few reunions and fulfilled my purpose within our family. I gave while the giving was good, I danced as far as my dancing shoes would take me, I wrote, I learned, I wrote, I shared. What else could I possibly have to do to make my life worthwhile?
I suppose I could pay off my mortgage. That's it! I guess I'm going to be around for a good, long while after all. I may as well look for some positive diversions while I chip away at that next item on my to-do list.