When Jennifer and her husband decided to start a family, Jennifer, who was the primary breadwinner at the time, wanted to ensure she had the flexibility to be home with her child. With only $7K in their savings account, a mortgage to pay, and the prospect of having a baby, she jumped ship from the advertising agency that gainfully employed her and started her own business. Her husband’s response, “Have you gone bananas?” (Actually, he didn’t say “bananas.” He would never use that word unless he was asking her to put them on the grocery list, but you get the gist). Her reply was, “Nope. Watch me.”
That was 1997. Two years later Sophia was born. Now twenty years later after taking the plunge, Jennifer has never looked back. Having her own business allowed her to, not only pay the bills, but to be there for her daughter every step of the way – nursing her, putting her down for naps, playing Polly Pockets and My Little Pony to no end, participating in field trips to the pumpkin patch, consoling her when she came home from school after bad days, hosting sleepovers, driving her two hours/day to school and back, attending her ethics bowl meets, watching hours and hours of Gilmore Girls and re-runs of The Office. Okay, perhaps a little helicopterish, but the point is, Sophia has been her life…and she’s loved it.
In the fall of 2017, Jennifer’s daughter is heading to University of Denver, officially moving Jennifer (and her husband) to the empty nester category. There’s no doubt it’ll be lonely at times. She will miss Sophia’s presence. But she is so excited to see what her girl does with her life. And she’s so excited to start her own next chapter…even feeling a little bit giddy. There are endless possibilities and opportunities in front of Jennifer. Her most daunting task will be to ensure she makes the most of them.
If you’re an empty nester, or soon to be one, or just want to take advantage of the prospects in front of you, here are some great resources to understand what the opportunities are and how to seize them.
This article sums up the opportunities nicely:
The key to seizing the new opportunities is to get motivated and stay motivated. This article from Real Simple, 9 Secrets of Motivated People, gives us the motivation to get motivated.
Because she’ll have more time on her hands, Jennifer sees it as an opportunity to get fit, but she’s going to need some help to get herself off the couch and to step away from the bag of chips: