A journey and the next chapter

urlI have been preparing for the empty nest chapter for the last 8 years.  Someone told me to look at my daily life and color code each of my activities.  I realized very quickly that a huge chunk of my time was devoted to the family.  That was fine for then but what would happen as each kid started to move out and begin their own life journey.  They would begin to rely on themselves not me and that huge chunk of time would become smaller and smaller until Josh went to college.  So I began a new journey for myself.  I had already been blogging and essentially leveraged that into angel investing, a conference (thanks to Nancy Hechinger) and a variety of side projects.  Fast forward 8 years and I have reinvented myself back into the business world in a way that works for me.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to do this on my own terms.

Even though I was preparing I still always put family first.  When plans were being made over the past 8 years I still thought about making sure I was present until Josh flew from the nest.  This past week I started to get some inbound asks about events to speak at and even some asks for a drink.  I had a huge aha moment when I realized I could make any decision I wanted.  I did not have to be home in time to make dinner, I did not have to even come home until late at night.  I did not have to be present.  I could do a drink, I could get on a plane and speak somewhere if it worked into my schedule, I could go on a quick trip with a friend for four days and not give it a thought.  The only person I have to think about in regards to evening or weekend activities is Fred.  What a concept.

We are entering the next chapter of our lives.  No better way to mark that chapter with a journey.  To go on a trip where there are no rules or restrictions and we can literally be on the road with no responsibilities is what we plan on doing.   Fred and I will be going on a month long vacation through Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.  We are staying on the coasts.  The trip has been in the planning phases for quite some time.  We will be off the grid (as much as humanly possible).  I can’t imagine not answering emails particularly with the businesses that I am involved with but I certainly will not be as quick on the response as usual.  Anything new will be ignored (must be that way).  No board calls either.  I do plan on blogging about the trip because not only do I enjoy recording all of our travel journeys it is a reference guide for life although the kids say I shouldn’t blog at all.  We will see.

The next chapter is going to feel strange but it is the progression of life.  Seeing our kids fly from the nest and become their own individuals who can take care of themselves is insanely rewarding.  I am sure it will feel strange having an empty house but how could it not.  This journey is marking the beginnings of our next chapter.  Having a lot of feelings from bittersweet to excited to I can’t believe it but all and all it feels good and it feels right.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Debbie Stier

    Have fun!!! And let’s grab a drink when you get back. XxD and … CONGRATS! Amazing job (ie mom)

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. Unha Engels

    you are totally rockstar. looking forward to see the new chapter!!

  3. Sunchowder

    So totally excited for you! Have the most wonderful vacation ever, my “baby” is in her 3 year at university now, I am so familiar with the empty nest, liberating and bittersweet at the same time. XO

  4. SallyBroom

    Awesome! Congratulations, you and Fred truly deserve that incredible trip – have an amazing time and can’t wait to see what’s next from the ultimate 21st Century woman that is the Gotham Gal

  5. Lisa Abeyta

    What a lovely way to begin to a new chapter … bon voyage!

  6. LGBlueSky

    What a great blueprint you have provided for other workerbees/mothers. Thank you! Can’t wait to meet for a drink! Have fun. Xo

  7. Steve Lerner

    A few years ago we dropped our youngest off at school, the next day our oldest drove off, and 20 minutes later we were heading to the airport (to Budapest, Prague and Vienna). The kids were pissed that we would leave them like that! With a cellular wifi hotspot device in one pocket and my regular phone in the other, communication over Skype and the like was probably more frequent than when we were home, the only barrier being the 6 hour time zone difference. But it worked – piece of mind for all and a beginning of our empty nest phase. But does it last? Fast forward a couple of years – my wife is busy as every and I have a startup. And the kids still come back to the nest to recharge. Good luck!

  8. AG

    Incredible perspective and sounds like it’ll be a remarkable trip. Selfishly hope you keep blogging 🙂

  9. pointsnfigures

    Have fun. Please blog a little-one of my bucket list things to do is eat my way around the Mediterranean. I love my children, but now they are gone. We have one that is a senior, and it’s different. But it’s fun in a different way. Loved having kids at every age.

  10. Snooch

    Josh is the same age as when I met you!! The time flies- congrats to Josh and have a wonderful trip!

  11. Marjan Ghara

    I got goose bumps opening the link from your email today as I figured it must be the day you are dropping off your son at college. As you have been writing and preparing for this day, I feel I have been doing the same along with you! I have a son who will be going to college in a few years and I already think of that day and I so appreciate that you share your anxieties and excitements.I love your blog, as it both gives me professional insight as well as personal. Thank you for that.I look forward to reading about the new chapter of your life and wish you all the best as you start this journey. Will be following, feeling and enjoying it along with you. :))

  12. William Mougayar

    “The only person I have to think about in regards to evening or weekend activities is Fred.” How about Ollie :)Best wishes for a great vacation.

  13. Mario Cantin

    It’s really awesome to be able to follow you and Fred on your respective blogs and and witness the next phase of your life starting in real time.I was trying to express to Fred a few weeks back (by leaving a comment on his blog) that I consider the both of you role models; but as he and I have had no prior interactions, I think it came across as me being a little weird 🙂 Nonetheless, it was heartfelt.Anyway, it’s clear that today will be a special day for the both of you…I wish you the best of trips to Europe.

  14. CCjudy

    Is Josh going to college out of NYC?

  15. awaldstein

    Enjoy the trip.I know these countries fairly well and I envy you them all in September. In some it will be harvest time and in each of these countries that means the energy of harvesting and crushing grapes.An ageless wonder.Safe travels.

  16. Anjuan Simmons

    I’m new to your blog, but, as the father of three young kids, this post is a foreshadowing of what I’ll experience in a few short years. I’m glad that you ignore your kids advice to not blog because you have created an amazing resource. Please continue to tell your story.

  17. daryn

    I remember a couple years back when you and Fred were going to come to Seattle, and you ended up staying back because Josh didn’t want to be at camp that year. Now you can make that trip one day :)Have a great vacation and beginning to the next chapter!

  18. Rohan

    Wishing you a wonderful trip Joanne! 🙂

  19. P.K. Fields

    Agreed being an empty nester is bitter sweet. Knowing that the children you raised are now on their own journey is exciting for everyone.If you get to San Sebastian – Arzak for dinner, it is one of the most memorable meals I have had.Enjoy your travels.

  20. deirdrelord

    Fantastic. I love the idea of a trip where you wander. Have a blast. I’ll be doing this in about 12 years and will surely look back to these posts as a reference!

  21. kirklove

    Neat-OSuper happy for you two. And a tad jealous as my “oldest” starts pre-school next week ;)Enjoy.

  22. Shelly Lipton

    Enjoy the ride Joanne! While your kids may have left the nest, home will always be a place they return to for a meal, a hug, or just the comfort of family.