"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Adaptability
November 4, 2019

The First Monday Of The Rest Of My Life

It’s Monday. Not just the start of the week but the start of something much bigger.

The summer is over. And what a summer it was. Leaving Tokyo. Packing up, then saying goodbye to the best house I’ve ever lived in. And closing the door on the best studio I’ve ever owned. Watching my kid graduate high school then leave for college. Before planting my feet in a new home in London.

It’s been a long, hot summer of change.

Now what?

This might be the moment to cue the obvious clichés, like the empty nest. But that’s a terrible metaphor for this stage of life. Birds spend days and weeks in a nest. Children spend years and decades. And the relationship between parent and child doesn’t end suddenly. I stopped living under my parents’ roof more than 25 years ago. But they continue to be a source of inspiration and wisdom for me. Because humans are familial, cross-generational animals, in the way birds are not.

And yet something fundamental has changed. Because now, I’m not watching the clock come mid-afternoon, waiting for my daughter to return from school, asking about her day and any homework that needs to be done. While my new home in London has a room for her, right now it’s an empty, bedless shell. So, of course, there’ll be no need to ask if clothes need washing or picking up off the floor.

The challenge is the one we all face when life shifts suddenly: what to do with our time. Time that’s been so thoroughly structured for so long. Organised along the rutted paths of well-travelled routines.

While I was travelling over the summer, I didn’t feel it. But now, settling into a new home in London, I do. I feel lost in the morning not having the routine of getting my daughter off to school. Lost in the afternoon without home-from-school routine. And lost in the knowledge that none of the routine interruptions – sick days or calls from the school nurse, parent-teacher conferences, being on the sidelines of sports events or in the seats for performances – will be part of life anymore.

The days feel long. Not long like holidays. But long like an unexpected delay at the airport.

There’s an inertia I didn’t expect. A whiff of, does it matter if I do it now or do it later? I’m not quite at the not-having-a-shower-in-the-morning or not-putting-on-pants stage. Not yet.

Last week the first shipment arrived from Tokyo. Some clothes, three guitars, my photo editing Mac mini. As I sat among the untuned guitars and clothes that smelt of Japan, I wondered: how do I restart?

Thankfully, I have building blocks from the journey to creative health. Walking – there are lovely parks close by. Sleeping – the foundation for good living. Eating well – including regulating my coffee intake. Simple planning – putting the few things I need to do down on paper. Writing – even if it’s just getting the pain out in the open.

This is how we start the first day of the rest of our lives. Simply. Quietly. With plans light enough that we can lift and carry them. Even when the path ahead seems unclear and uncertain.

Paul 5 years ago

Glad to see that you’ve settled and are back onto a path of sharing your creativity and experiences again.

Toni 5 years ago

Welcome back Fern.

As you know, life will never be the same again once the child moves out. It’s a difficult time for us parents, even though the moving out and becoming properly independent is something we’ve been training them for years to acheive.

Hope you’re able to keep enjoying the new place as your normal stuff arrives.

leonie 5 years ago

I always find your posts thoughtful in a way that causes me to examine my own choices and motives. Whilst I can’t relate to having a child leave home, I can relate to landing in a new place that’s different from every other I have previously experienced and finding myself needing to adjust to a new rhythm in some way. Hope you are settling in well and finding some enjoyment in the new space you’re in. Big love to you and L

fernando 4 years ago

Leonie – thank you so much. It’s been such a big change from Japan. Not sure my heart is still in one piece.

fernando 4 years ago

Paul – thank you.

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