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Stepping Off The Ledge

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

We visit Las Vegas at least once a year and each time, try something new.. A few years ago, I did the free fall from the Stratsophere. From a perilous ledge, the more than half my age operator counts to three and you are expected to step off and drop 800 feet to the target below. It's a slow, controlled drop but most would find it frightening but excitng. We are about to step off another ledge. In some ways, we already have taken that step.

In approximately a year, a move to Florida will occur. We will leave the state in which we were born, grew up, graduated high school and college, married, and raised our family. Frightening - Exciting - Scary. I have told my kids, since they were young, that I did not belong here. As a person that is cold - almost all of the time - no matter what season it is in Pennsylvania, I need a warmer climate. Ironically, our original plan was to move to the Las Vegas area where one can view the snow topped mountains while remaining in the hot, dry heat. We toured homes, worked with a real estate agent and gave the idea much consideration but abandoned this plan as we thought about how far this move is and whether our kids would be able to visit.

So, our sites turned to Florida - beautiful weather and beautiful beaches. I spent months on Zillow looking at homes, researched the best places to live, downloaded guides on living in Florida and looked up crime statitistics. A house caught our eye and we messaged the realtor for more information. This evolved into a connection and resulted in a visit and meeting. He showed us five

very different options. After thought, discussion and exploring the surrounding area, we eagerly decided to build in a new development. And now, the work begins; both physical and emotional.

Our house was home to five wonderful kids that grew to five amazing people. And, as most families probably experience, as each moved on to their next phase of life, they packed furniture and items they needed and left things they did not. This on top of all we have accumlated, sentimental pictures, kid's crafts, the figurine bought at the Christmas Shop at school, heirlooms from parents gone too soon, his collector cars and my love of everything Sponge Bob, leaves us with much to sort. The new home does not have the space nor will most of our furniture fit. Downsizing is in progress - more on that later.

We cannot even imagine all that we face physically with this move but we also are looking at an emotional ride that actually began as our home emptied. I know I am not alone when I speak of the loss felt as each child moved out of our home. The joy of watching their independance is equally matched with the sorrow of watching them go. I remember the worry felt when they were toddlers and then when they went to school. The anxiety grew as they learned to drive and then as they went to high school and college. But, nothing compares to the extreme fear felt now. Parents and soon to be parents are not warned, we didn't get the memo, that even when your children are grown adults, you will worry everyday.

This is much more than empty nest syndrome which is definded as extreme sadness when your child leaves the home. It's an irrational fear that builds and manifests into a nightmare. I have been researching and experimenting with ways to help with this anxiety. I have anxiety about what my anxiety will be when we are living so far away. Prescriptions have been tried but not currently as I prefer a holistic approach. A functional medicine doctor, prayer, guided meditation and counseling have helped significantly. What have you tried that has helped with empty nest anxiety? Staying busy has always been my go-to. My still mind is my own worst enemy.

With so much to do to prepare for this move, there hasn't been much time to worry but it still creeps in and sneaks up on me. I remain hopeful that although this step is a scary one, the ride will be exiting and smooth.

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