Reinventing Myself at 51

Reinventing Myself At 51!

by Katie Petersen, LCSW

So here I am sitting alone in my office with my graying, blind dog.  We are recent empty nesters.  Our kids just left for college.  

I cleaned up some of their clutter. The only messes around here are from either my husband or myself.  Mostly myself.  I keep looking at their pictures.  We have so many memories in this house.  We brought them here from the hospital when they were days old. We went through the typical sleepless nights, diapers, teething, parent teacher conferences, fighting, holidays, tears, report cards, lots of laughing, anguish, braces, millions of bobbie pins, boyfriends, dances, more fighting, and more sleepless nights! I don’t worry about what time they will come home anymore because they don’t!   Somehow I just don’t worry the same way.  

I know my husband and I usually did the absolute best we could possibly have done as parents.  They know how to stay out of trouble by now.  They have become two people whom I would be friends with even if I was not their mother.  I have been so fortunate to have witnessed the birth and emergence of our beautiful young women!! They are gone for now.  

I know they will come back, but this empty nester stuff is an adjustment!  Yes, you have heard a million times how fast it all goes, but it’s really, really true. I wish I could go back to 25 year old Katie and give her a hug and tell her it will all be fine!! If I think back twenty five years and how that time went as quickly as a few heartbeats, how fast will the next twenty five go?   

This is why I am reinventing myself.  I want my kids to be proud of me, and I want my husband and I to continue to have cool stuff to talk about when we get home from work.  I want to discover new ways to enable myself, my family and my clients to be holistically vibrant. I want the next stage of life to reflect more growth and experience from learning new things every day.  I want to keep moving and be nimble enough to keep up with what happens next.  I want to continue my work as a clinical social worker and Yoga teacher as long as I am able, but I am not in charge of whether I get to experience many more years, or not.  

The only thing I am sure of is this present moment.  The reinvented Katie will try to remember that she always has choices of how she wants to feel.  She will try to remember that she can learn from every situation, good or bad.  She will try to remember that each moment is perfect, even if it is a horrible experience.  I am so grateful for the time I had with my family and as a school social worker, because it helped me be who I am today.  

If I am lucky enough to be alive and have the wherewithal when I am 75, I hope I can look back and write about this time of life being filled with the privilege of serving others to feel the best they can.  

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