A NEW CHAPTER

Ahhhh, the inaugural post of a new blog. It’s that blank page in the old “blue books” or loose leaf pages where we were supposed to write our essays in school. You know you need to do it, but your mind goes blank and you start the first sentence at least ten times in your head before actually getting started because you can’t erase when you have to write it in pen. Well here it goes …

My kids and I in a photo together four score and seven years ago.
It was a rare occasion that I was in front of the camera.
Circa a long time ago, okay?
(Photo credit: Grandma, thanks!)

I’m Cari and I’m a single mom in South Florida. Actually, I was a single mom for nearly my children’s entire childhood and most of my adult life. Being their mom defined me more than any job or personal pursuit I had.  I’m still single and I’m still a mom, but my two children are now grown with one in college and the other having just graduated and started their career.

Time for a pat on the back then with retirement right around the corner, with days of lounging on the beach and traveling around the world, right? My life has been about being a mom for 22 years, but I’ve just started my 4th decade. As good as that retirement sounds, logistically and financially I’ve got a LONG way to go to retirement.  <insert sad, moping face here>

Enjoy the beautiful rainbow that comes after the storm.
(photo credit: me)

So, what’s next? What’s a single parent to do you when their nest is empty, they’re still full of energy, but financially nowhere near retirement? That’s pretty much where I’m at now. It was a shock at first, but since then I’ve settled in to a pretty good place.

By nature, I’m a curious person who enjoys learning about just about anything. I’ve always loved to cook, bake, and volunteer, and I’m very passionate about education. Oh, and my travel bucket list is longer than you can imagine.

I still miss the sound of the music and laughter that filled the air when my kids were home, but I’ve been reminded through experiences that life is a journey, not a destination. Moping around about being single or waiting for others’ plans to align with mine won’t get me any closer to where I want to be or to the life I envision for myself. An empty nest doesn’t have to mean an empty life. It’s just another part of the journey of a very full life.

Here I am on a solo trip to Disney. Yup, sans children.
And yes, I am smiling!!
(photo: me)

I’ve come to find I’m not the only one in this position. There is strength and comfort in knowing this is a journey you don’t travel alone. I want this to be a place where new passions are discovered, explored, and shared, and a place to share places to go, people I meet, stories that resonate, travel experiences both near and far, and more.

So maybe you’re in the same spot. Maybe not.  Maybe you’re a single mom who is looking at what their future is going to be like. Maybe you’re married and your kids are getting ready to fly the coop and the whole thought that your kids don’t seem to need you all the time is starting to set in. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for years and now you find yourself in the middle of your life and single. Maybe you want to know how to do this on your own. There are elements of this that are universal.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, but I can do the best I can to learn more about what I love about my life.  I can choose to see the happiness along the journey.

And this is where the next chapter starts. Cari Loves will talk about all these things I love while also diving into the things I'm curious about. There's only one way to see if you love something, and that's to try it!

For the record, no matter how they've grown, where they've moved, or what they do in their life, the first "Cari Loves" is and always will be my children. That doesn't go away (thankfully!), but what I'm learning is who I am and what else I love in a new chapter of my life.

So, join me. Share your stories, too, and share our journeys.

Life is a journey. Happiness is a choice.

Comments

  1. Oh Cari, this is wonderful. Consider me an avid fan.

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  2. Congratulations, my friend! You are beautiful, strong and caring! Enjoy being you and learning where that will take you!

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    Replies
    1. I appreciate your support and kind thoughts. :) Thanks!!

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