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#findyourpassion

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“You’re posting all these stories about empty-nesting, and I haven’t even gone back to school yet—you aren’t really empty-nesters,” joked my twenty-one-year-old son.

As if I wasn’t already suffering from imposter syndrome as a want-to-be-blogger. Now, I was being called out by my own kid—for my ‘𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵.’

“Well, your sister is fifteen-hundred miles away, doesn’t that count for something?” I tossed back. (I can’t believe I am actually having to justify whether or not I can call myself an ’empty-nester.’)

“Not really,” he shook his head, not giving an inch, “and then there will always be John…”

“Yes, that may be true,” I agreed. John is our twenty-four-year-old son who has autism and still lives with us. He does not want to move out, and we love having him here, so it’s a win-win.

However, at times I do feel like we have a renter upstairs. John has a busy life with work and daily activities, so when he’s home, he likes to retreat to the peace and quiet of his ‘apartment’—“No Visitors Allowed.”

So maybe by some standard, we at least qualify as ‘quasi empty-nesters’?

All joking aside, this is a new season for us, with our youngest having just left for college—I know it is a new chapter in many of your lives as well. For most of us, there have been years of these little bursts of energy swirling through our lives, our homes, and most importantly, our hearts. So after the whirlwind of laughter, late-night snacking, football, soccer and basketball games, tennis matches, and band practice subside, there is most definitely…a void.

Of course, they’ll be back for the holidays—thank goodness. For turkey and stuffing smothered in grandma’s special gravy, their favorite apple pie, and opening gifts on Christmas morning. Sure it’s a magical time, but it’s still not the same as when they lived under our roofs full-time…(insert ‘a sigh’ here.)

Fortunately, in an effort to help me prepare for this new chapter in my life, my mother gifted me with a golden piece of advice a few years ago. She told me to “find something you would like to try, or you would love to do and get started BEFORE your youngest leaves for college.”

And, so I did that just that when I launched this blog, I Do Part Two—Empty Nesting & More, about two years ago. Maybe for you, it’s not about writing or blogging or podcasting, but I hope you will see this time in your life as a chance to try something you’ve always wanted to do. Now, is a great time to rediscover interests you may have set aside while you were raising kids.

Ask yourself–

What did you use to like to do?

What do people ask you to get involved in or compliment you on?

What kinds of books, podcasts, and activities do you gravitate towards?

What lights you up?

What leaves you drained?

“Listen to the whispers,” a friend tells me, because everything you do or decide not to do, is leaving you clues.

I truly believe if we stay open to the possibilities, this season in our lives can be a time of amazing growth, new connections, and beautiful opportunities. The world is waiting-you are never too old, and it’s never too late—to discover who you were truly meant to be.

P.S. Just for the record, my son is back on campus. Maybe now, we can officially call ourselves ‘quasi empty-nesters.’

Sydnei Kaplan, author /Photo by Nina Uhlíková from Pexels

As a mom of two college kids, I have a birds-eye view of this blessed journey we call Motherhood. It touches each mom in unique ways. 

Some may feel profoundly altered as if they were shaken up and settling back into place in a brand new way. Others have described this transition as a rebirth. Many have been stunned by the complete shift in focus from self-to-others. 

The possibilities are endless, but none of us emerge unaffected, and the changes continue throughout this incredible journey. 

Motherhood’s effect on me was and still is, very powerful. It has been life-changing in the best ways. 

From my vantage point, with many years and priceless memories tucked in my heart, I know with a comforting certainty that Motherhood is forever – it doesn’t stop at a certain age or stage. 

It evolves and grows with us. 

Facing the “growing up” of my children forced me to look deep within myself. To explore the next steps on my path.

We had waited some years after we were married to become parents. Those years were filled with work, friends, travel, and lots of “just us” time (which I loved). This was joyful, and it was comfortable. I also thought I loved my job, but in hindsight, I realize I mostly loved the people. It was comfortable. I liked my work (marketing and writing) but never fully felt it was my calling. 

Sydnei and family

Even though I had beautiful friendships and a loving marriage, there was a sense of insecurity deep within me that had followed me from my teen years. I’m guessing some of you know what I mean. You can be a happy, confident person but still have doubts within you that affect how you live your life.

Motherhood changed that for me. It was, and continues to be, healing in the most perfect of ways. It didn’t happen in any particular moment, like when I first held Mia or when Ben made me the mom of two. There wasn’t a specific accomplishment that made me say “aha” – like when I traveled home on a plane from our first family vacation, without my husband, and with 3-year-old Mia and not-yet-1 Ben. 

This healing – finding myself – has been a journey. It’s been a compilation of the many moments of being a mama. 

Sydnei enjoying life as it comes

More importantly, I began seeing myself in a refreshing new light. Really it was more of a subtle feeling—yet so empowering. I noticed myself feeling less dependent on others to feel happy, capable, or complete.

Through my children, I began sensing not only what I had to offer but who I truly was. 

Some steps were effortless, like starting to work in a preschool—nurturing and supporting the blossoming of little ones had always come naturally to me. 

Other pursuits, like venturing into the world of Motherhood writing, took a little more nudging. My family participated in this “nudging” in various ways — offering encouragement, sharing other’s blogs as examples to inspire me, and just continuing to be who they are and reminding me of the exquisite blessing that Motherhood is. 

So here I am, always a work in progress—feeling a renewed sense of excitement and purpose. Not only from writing, but also from the exceptional people who have come into my life because of it. 

It’s never too late to discover YOUR other passions. You will always be Mom, but there’s a world of possibility waiting for you to shine your own special light. 

Photo credit Anna Shvets via Pexels

𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘂𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗸𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰? The ‘Perfect Mom’ mask, the ‘Successful Business Person’ mask, or the ‘I Got It All Together’ masks…Almost everyone wears some sort of mask.

One woman shares her story

It’s Time To Take Off The Mask by Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer

I wear a cloth mask everywhere now. It doesn’t really bother me.

What did bother me was the metaphorical one I wore for years. I wore a smile but it was a lie.

No one knew the pain I was in. It was difficult to even admit it to myself. I stuffed it down. Locked it up tight in my heart.

It was my box of darkness. Only mine.

So in the world, I pretended. I faked it. I told everyone I was fine. I was ok. I was good.

Those masks, layers of them, kept my secrets and tears hidden.  I hated who I had become but I didn’t know who to be anymore.

I came to the end of myself, the edge of the proverbial cliff. Dangling. Desperate. Alone.

Then I walked into a room and sat down with a bunch of strangers who could see the face behind the mask because they recognized the pain. They had worn it themselves. They had put it down and left it behind.

So slowly, my masks came off. One by one. Ever so carefully.

I didn’t have to be afraid of my reflection anymore. I could change. Grow. Transform into something I never imagined.

I could learn to love myself again.

And so, my smile turned real.

I was accepted. I was welcome here.

And so my masks stayed off.

And I never want to wear them again.

Is now the perfect time? What is holding you back?

For years, fear held me back from starting a blog, writing, or pursuing any projects I thought they might appear— “frivolous.”

Who am I to start a blog?

There are so many accomplished writers out there— I’ll never be good enough.

How will I ever overcome all the technological hurdles of building and maintaining a website?

Well, something happened when I turned ’50’—I let down my guard. I stopped trying to be perfect. I realized I didn’t want to look myself in the mirror on my 60th birthday, having still not launched the blog I had wanted to start in my early 40’s. The time is now!

What about you? Do you have a passion you’ve been wanting to pursue? I will tell you a secret…there will never be a perfect time to start, but it’s never too late and you are never too old.

Join me in my conversation with Amy Schmidt, the host of Fearlessly Facing Fifty about how I finally got the courage to pursue my passion.

Click on the link below: “EP 72: Making deeper connections with I Do Part Two…

Amy launched her business and brand six months before turning 50. Her mission is to encourage women over forty to push fear aside and find that hidden treasure of confidence that may have been pushed aside for a while and not let this time of life allow them to lose their identity. You can also find her on socials:  Fearlessly Facing Fifty on Facebook, and Instagram: Amy.K.Schmidt and https://fearlesslyfacingfifty.com/

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