The End of an Era

Katie moved out yesterday.

I knew it was coming. We both did.

This is why I dropped offline for a few months. I wanted to spend every last moment with my baby. This was my last chance to make memories with her, memories of her being my baby girl instead of my married daughter.

I did just that.

We’ve been joined at the hip these past few months, my Katie and I. We did everything together. We even got a job together, on the exact same shift, so we could pick on each other as we passed the other’s station.

I have no regrets for taking these last few months and devoting them exclusively to my daughter. I have no regrets about dropping offline and focusing upon my life here in the world. I have had one goal these past years, and that goal was to be the best mother I could be.

I did everything in my power to make that goal a reality. And, if the last conversations I had with my daughter are any clue, I succeeded. I believe I even imparted the importance of being a loving parent, a parent who chooses family over the pursuit of money or other goals to my daughter, since she shared with me her personal thoughts and concerns about raising her children in the future.

But now that time is over. My Katie is grown. She moved out, and is on her way to starting her new life as a married woman.

Society doesn’t guide us when it comes to life after parenthood. It seems that we’re to grow up, get a job, find the spouse, raise the kids, then fade into the sunset, visited only on holidays or whatever the kids find convenient. We are to wait until we qualify to enter a nursing home, go there, and wait to die.

I say fuck that shit.

It’s time for me to start a new adventure.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing, but if you think I’m going to allow myself to wallow in loss and self-pity you are wrong. The best cure for sadness is action, so I intend to keep busy until the shock wears off. Somewhere in the busyness I’ll figure out what to do next.

My very first step is reclaiming the bedroom. I’ve not had a bedroom in a decade now; while I hadn’t planned to stay in this tiny house for quite this long, I did, so now, for the first time in a long time, I’ve gotten an empty room in which I can dedicate to sleeping.

Katie’s empty bedroom
Katie’s empty bedroom, alternate angle

I didn’t allow myself to dwell upon the shock of seeing that empty room, of seeing the little things my baby decided to leave behind. Instead, I started cleaning. I gave that room a good scrubbing, called a friend, and asked for a ride to the store. Since fresh starts and new adventures don’t happen every day, I didn’t even look at the prices as I purchased the supplies to paint that little bedroom. I even treated myself to a new lava lamp in my favorite color (red) for when I’m ready to move in.

I stayed up incredibly late patching the damage that only a kid can do as I laughed. I’d not realized one child could create so much work, but she has lived in that room for a decade now. To my surprise, I found spots on the walls from before we moved in. I hadn’t paid attention when I rented the place. That room was to be my Katie’s room so I’d barely glanced at it, and I’ve barely stepped foot in there until now.

It’s faded, but a previous tenant logged the date on the wall back in 2009!

Today I intend to sand the spots and start painting. I picked white, plain white for the walls and ceiling in order to give myself a blank slate with which to work. I don’t know who I will become on this next adventure so that seemed the safest choice. I did select a different color to paint the floor, a dark barn red that will cover the paint splatters and abuse that poor floor has suffered from well before I ever thought of living here. I had to choose between white, gray, or the red; red seems to suit my mood the best at the moment.

We each of us live through different eras as we journey through our lives. We’re a child, a student, a youth, a spouse (sometimes), a parent, and then…

…and then the door is wide open to create a new era, and era that can be anything we choose it to be.

Once I finish this post I intend to eat breakfast and get back to work. This is my day off, so I want to get as much done as I can today.

I’ll write more later.

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

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4 thoughts on “The End of an Era”

  1. Congratulations on your determination to move in to new adventurers over the expectations of society. I also love that you were able to focus on spending so much time with your daughter by cutting out the Internet for the past few months. That was clearly the right thing to do as far as I am concerned.

  2. You make good choices in all situations so I’m sure this next phase will work for you. You go, girl!

  3. Annie, welcome back to your cyber-friends. Glad you could take the time with Katie. Our time is the most precious gift we can give, I think. Bravo for you for powering through this transition in a positive, creative and curious manner. Awesome things are in your future!

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