The Next Phase

Knight Brown Nature Preserve Stream Rockingham County, NC

Last Saturday I hiked with my friend Marjorie. This morning she is on her way to a week-long retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico – “Hiking, Writing and Yoga for Women.” This Fall we will begin our own group with a similar focus in Greensboro, NC.

Marjorie and I met when our sons were roommates their freshman year of college four years ago. Our friendship and support for one another has extended far beyond the one year that our boys lived together. As graduation approached this May we talked about ways to enrich our friendship – ways that didn’t revolve around our children. Leading our women’s group this fall is one of those ways.

My job at Piedmont Land Conservancy provides easy access to hiking places in the area that are not usually open to the public. There are also many beautiful publicly accessible trails in and around Greensboro. Identifying locations to hike should be the easy part. Marjorie is a skilled workshop leader so I think we’re in for an exciting fall. We’ve decided on a one Saturday per month schedule, probably starting in September with a limit of 12 women per outing.

For Marjorie – the workshop at Ghost Ranch this week marks the culmination of 34-years of active mothering. She writes –

“Of course, I will always be a mom, but the last two children are now officially ‘grown and flown’ and are launching into the next phase of their own lives. And, so am I!”

I think it is important to find that “something” as a woman to mark such milestones. My entry into blogging 18 months ago was inspired in part by my effort to fill the void I experienced because of my “empty nest.” But it was also an attempt to begin writing on a regular basis.

Mother Box Turtle filling her nest
Mother Box Turtle filling her nest

True – I haven’t been as disciplined as I had hoped but I’ve never been a very disciplined person and I’ve just about given up that aspiration. I do want to find a way to write regularly and enough discipline to feed my four blogs at least once a week. Maybe even combine them into one blog. That seems a bit of a challenge since they have different themes but Blogging 201, which begins on Monday, should help.

There’s no doubt that nature will figure prominently in the next phase of my life. It is a return of sorts, although I never really left it. Like many people I find the restorative power of nature to be a healing tonic to the troubles of the modern world.  Why I don’t spend more time in nature is a mystery. Surely the heat and humidity of North Carolina in midsummer is a factor but again, it is a matter of discipline. It seems incongruous to “discipline” myself to do something I enjoy, but that is exactly what I must learn to do.

“ME” time – why should that be so hard to accomplish? As I approach (less than 100 days to go) a significant birthday I have a lot of thoughts swirling through my head. “I should eat right, I should exercise, I should lose weight.” Maybe I need to rewrite that script. Yes – I do want to achieve all of those things but maybe I should reframe the inner dialogue: “I should feed my creative spirit, I should exercise my right to do what I enjoy and I should lose my need for approval.”

Just seeing the words highlights the dilemma. I feel uncomfortable when I see it in print, it feels selfish; wrong somehow. But what could be more wrong than not doing those things?


4 thoughts on “The Next Phase

  1. I love this post, Kalen. I am excited to co-facilitate this hiking/writing group with you, and look forward to all the exciting ways that it will unfold just as our friendship has unfolded from that day in the guys’ dorm room their freshman year when we first met. Our two nervous guys with two equally nervous parents each, and two sisters each equaled a full room of folks trying not to step all over one another! I’m remembering Gerald was putting together some piece of furniture in the hallway while our Sarah refolded all of John’s tee shirts that I had already carefully folded. I also remember the families having lunch together with several orders of fried pickles – a delicacy that I had never had before. The greatest gift of John’s freshman year was making a new friend myself – YOU! As Anne said, it’s wonderful to keep making new friends. I look forward to making new friends this fall as we launch our hiking/writing group.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne. I agree that it is nice to make new friends. It is easy to get wrapped up in life’s fullness and not realize that making new friends and expanding personal horizons have fallen by the wayside.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s