Coming to terms with my new life in an empty nest
I’ve been absent from my writings for quite a while and some in the community have been wondering if I was still around or if I’d vanished off the face of the earth. I’ve been going through some strange times lately and haven’t been much for writing about things going on in my life. There’s been a lot of changes in my life that have me in a “funk” of a mood that sometimes seems insurmountable. I have good days and I truly appreciate them for what they’re worth but then some days are almost surreal in nature. During these times, little things will set me off and I retreat inward in an attempt to get past these dreadful times on my own terms. Sometimes these inward sessions take up most of my days. It can’t be very easy or pleasant for those around me.
It seems that life is a series of events that define a person’s existence and these events dictate what’s to happen in the future. A person’s childhood and adolescence is probably the most defining time. A young persons’ state-of-mind during this time adds to the end result in their adult lives. I‘ve always been an introvert and have kept things that were bothersome to me bottled up inside where they would sometimes fester and oftentimes pollute my frame of mind.
After high school, I settled into my life as a farmer and devoted everything I could to hopefully make my life’s ambition a success. This consumed most of my 20s until I realized that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life alone. I met and married my now wife. This was yet another momentous event in my life. After that, my daughter was born and I settled into my world as a father to the second love of my life (after Amber). There were so many wonderful times with Amber and Layton that I will forever cherish. But I knew these times would fly by faster than I wanted them to. I realized that once Layton graduated from high school and set out on her own, these wonderful times with Layton would no longer buoy me as they once did.
I miss having her around. There was just a certain youthful attitude that was a natural high for me whenever Layton was at home. When she’d have friends over to watch a movie, eat popcorn and just “hang”, there was a youthful exuberance that seemed to elevate me to “Cloud Nine.” With Layton in college, it seems that the “Junior” has been sucked right out of me.
What I miss most of all are the times when Layton and I worked together toward a common goal. Sweating in the summer sun stacking hay for the horses (Layton did the majority of the sweating), working to load pig manure into the trailer for disposal (Layton did most of the work) or helping Layton get her animals ready for the annual county fair are memories that seem so many years ago and yet they are only a few years old. I ache for those times like I’ve longed for the days as a young man where I work by my dad’s side fixing a motor, digging a pit to work on vehicles or burrowing to China in the hot summer sun to find a leaking underground water line.
Those days are gone forever and all I seem to have are the memories that haven’t been much of a comfort these days. I feel I am no longer as important to my daughter as I once was when she was a child. That hurts…a lot. I guess maybe that’s the danger of investing too much of one’s very heart and soul in the raising of their child.
I’ve also come to the realization that my best days are probably behind me. I must somehow come to terms with this and forge ahead. What I need to do is just throw some dirt and grease on my “pity party” and start living again.
Some days I’m alright. But other times, the days are more of a struggle. I hope those days are fewer and farther between. Writing about stuff like this has helped in the past. I hope it will again. Thanks for listening.
Allen Hrubes an ocassional Glendive columnist for the Ranger-Review can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.