Mel Greenberg is a best-selling author, wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. Having worked as a copywriter and producer in radio and television before having children, Mel left her career in media to stay home with her boys. The catalyst for writing her first novel, Running With Our Eyes Closed, evolved when she became an “empty nester” and struggled to find her voice and direction. Recognizing the countless other women who navigate to redefine their role during their second half of life, Mel reminds us we are not alone. When we remain open to change, the passage of life we are in right now has the potential to propel us into new discoveries.
As I write this wrapping up Thanksgiving, I can’t help but note how unfamiliar it feels. We are all trying to manage the challenges of celebrating anything amid a global pandemic. Finding reason to celebrate does not always come easily, especially now.
So much has changed for us all. Most notably those empty nesters among us who are experiencing yet another life transition. Once worried about what life would be like when your youngest child headed out into the world, we now find them back home, attending classes online. Older children are also returning home to work remotely, save money and reevaluate their future, all the while impacting our households. Travel plans cancelled, weddings postponed, daily life as we imagined it when the kids left to pursue their dreams, we face a new reality.
When I reflect on where I was, what I was doing last December – it just blows my mind!! I was packing to celebrate the holidays and my sixtieth birthday with family and dear friends. I certainly never imagined my 2020 holiday shopping list would include stylish face masks, hand sanitizers, and portable thermometers! But here I am. Honestly, as I look around my house processing the unprecedented changes, I am in awe. There is so much to be grateful for during these times of uncertainty. For the first time in over a decade, my nest is full. Living with my adult children has offered us opportunity to engage and enjoy each other as never before – and perhaps, never again.
The pandemic has brought our frenetic pace to a screeching halt. Yet, one of the many silver linings I’ve found during 2020 is the reminder of just how precious life is, and how truly resilient we are. We are flexible and creative in the face of uncertainty. We appreciate the human connection more than ever, if only virtually at times. It helps us combat the unnerving emptiness the isolation as given rise too. We will get through this together.
During a recent Zoom chat with a friend, we found solace in embracing the importance of opening our hearts to new ways to connect and enjoy beauty in the presence which surrounds us. With so much uncertainty in the world weighing us down it is essential, now more than ever, to discover something, anything, which lifts you up and lightens your load.
I have found joy in the simplest endeavors, meditation, gardening, long walks with my dogs. I’ve even taken up golf! Spending Sunday afternoons on the course with my family has become the highlight of my week. Hours of laughter, creating new memories – the chance to frame 2020 in the most positive light possible.
During this holiday season I encourage you to find ways to connect with those around you. Take time to reflect and appreciate where you are. I’m grateful for the opportunity to chat with you here. To share experiences and thoughts on living the next chapters of our lives with purpose and joy. My wish for you all, this holiday season is that you are safe, and healthy. That you find within you the very thing that makes you smile.