By Jodi Baretz
Endings are naturally sad and beginnings are naturally scary. The end of the school year is bittersweet. June is full of graduations, whether it be from high school or simply moving up to the next school or grade. Wrapping up the year comes with many feelings, some of accomplishment, pride and excitement, and some of sadness for it’s the end of an era. It simply can have many meanings to different people based on their experience and where they are in life.
Moving up and moving out for our seniors can be an adventurous time. What will the next year be like? Will they make friends? Will they be happy? Will they survive? There is plenty to be nervous about. While there is plenty of uncertainty and unanswered questions, going into the unknown with a spirit of adventure can definitely allay some fears. Embracing this time of life, and being confident that all the preparation they have done has gotten them ready for this next phase is key. They are warriors and will prevail. While it’s all a new adventure, be prepared for the ups and downs. Be accepting of the fact that it’s ok if all doesn’t go perfectly.
“Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.”
–Sarah Ban Breathnach
When we learn and grow, there may be some obstacles along the way, but that is what makes it all the better when we succeed. When we hold on too tightly to the notion of perfection, we fear the house of cards will fall at any time, so we can’t relax and enjoy the journey. Believe that you will be able to handle whatever comes, and so will they. There is nothing in life so far that you couldn’t handle. We get through it all, and the fears and stories we tell ourselves are so much worse than reality.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well not have lived at all; in which case, you’ve failed by default.”
–J.K. Rowling to Harvard in 2008
My oldest son will be a senior at Greeley next year, and there are so many emotions that go along with that. There are many ways to look at this, and based on the way I think about it, will determine how I handle this transitional period in our lives. I know that it will be time for him to go, and he will be ready for his adventure. However, every time I think of him moving on, I become an emotional wreck. I keep reminding myself that this isn’t about me, and he is ready. We can’t freeze time. On the other hand, I am ready for my next adventure.
While I thoroughly enjoyed raising my kids, (for the most part), now it’s time for me. It’s time to travel, dive into my career, and do things that I am passionate about. So many of us tend to lose ourselves when we are tending to our kids. I see this often in my practice, and it’s so important for us to have our own adventures, desires and time for ourselves, even while the kids are still home. Making time for yourself is not selfish, we become better parents and people when we have things in our life that have meaning besides our kids.
When my children were younger, my husband told me that I always seemed to be “searching” for something. I needed my adventure, and to find something I felt good about doing.
I got out there and tried many things until I found what I loved to do. I talk a lot about how fear holds us back, especially a fear of failure. Yes, you may fail. I have many times, and each time brought me to my next step in my journey. Failure just means you had the courage to get out there and do something.
So whether it’s you or your kids, we all have adventurous spirits inside of us, and need to get out there and do what we love to do. Beginnings are scary for everyone, and things may not always be perfect, and that is ok. Perfectionism is way overrated, and living and embracing all that live has to offer is way more important. Congratulations to all the graduating seniors and empty nesters that have successfully raised their children. You will both be off on your own adventures…be that warrior, take your spear, and don’t fear the peaks and valleys.
Jodi Baretz, LCSW, CHHC is a psychotherapist and holistic health coach at The Center for Health and Healing in Mt. Kisco. She specializes in helping busy men and women reduce stress and anxiety using mindfulness and meditation. Jodi runs a Mindfulness Bootcamp group called “Mindful is the New Skinny,” and speaks to various groups, schools and organizations on the topic. Please visit www.jodibaretz.com.