I expect this to be the hot concept in social constructs in the coming years. Everyone in my generation is aging rapidly, and our children are finally heading out into the world of academia and work. (Don't tell me that one quarter of all recent college grads are living with their parents. I CAN'T HEAR YOU lalalala--) Where was I? Oh, yes, the empty nest. Picture the bliss: one load of laundry each week rather than seven. Gas that stays in the tank rather than evaporating overnight. Opening the NETFLIX envelope and finding the Miss Marple series you ordered, instead of 2FunkCrew Live in Concert.
Of course, my generation will also be working, rather than retiring. We will do this because we've spent years chasing the ideal that work shapes your living, rather than makes a living. We'll do it because we want to stay in peak form, mentally and physically. And I, for one, will do it because as of today, my retirement accounts consist of $57. 49, a Lotto ticket, and a dollar-off coupon for Wendy's. Many of us will be self employed, due to the
massive layoffs labor consolidations of recent years. Expect to see a future filled with hand-beaded jewelry and intuitive Tarot therapy.
How did I get my preview of my life as a SEEN? My husband and I dropped the Youngest off for a week at camp. The Smithie and the Boy were self-sustaining units over the weekend (we rely on our policy of Mutually Assured Blabbing to make sure the rules are kept while we're away.) From a library fundraiser this spring, we had a coupon good for one night at a lovely seaside resort. So – and this is the part that will have all of you still raising children clutching your throat and breathing heavily – we spent 24 hours completely child-free.
We went shopping – and no one begged for clothes, snacks, candy, magazines or toys. We took a long walk along a sea wall – and never once had to tell a soul to get off that railing right now before you fall in. We ate at a restaurant that did not have baskets of crayons at the maitre d's station. We enjoyed a delicious meal with several glasses of wine and never once engaged in a debate as to why a seafood restaurant doesn't serve pizza or chicken fingers, and shouldn't they? We spent the night in a comfortably-appointed room without a roll-away wedged in at the foot of our bed. We wandered for hours through the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a destination that would have rendered our teens catatonic with boredom in fifteen minutes.
Reader, it was divine. Even coming home to find a full litter box and a pot of mac and cheese that had been sitting out in the heat for 48 hours didn't dampen the pleasure. I know it will be a long time coming. The Youngest is only ten, after all. But it's out there, the far country filled with classical music on the car radio and dinners a deux.
I have been to the mountain, and I have SEEN the promised land!