Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | December 16, 2012


Transitions… that is what this is all about.

It’s been months since I’ve made the time to sit and write.

Therefore, the Universe –  in its wisdom and glory – has gifted me with a sleep reduction plan that allows me to wake up early in the morning and not go back to sleep.  So, here I am before 7 in the morning on a Sunday, typing a long overdue  post for this blog.  There ‘s so much to catch you up on  and so much for me to just take stock.  That is the beauty of these early mornings when no one else in the house is up.

I last wrote about searching for a dream job.  Update: new job acquired.  I now work for a small construction company in Berkeley with nice people trying to get the company to transition from tiny to small.  I’m the new office manager.  Let me describe the office.  It is the converted garage of a 1920s era house…and definitely showing its garage origins.  I support the owner and about 12 crew guys if they need administrative, customer liaison, or vendor help.  I work off a cell phone and a laptop.  Email is a tool used throughout the day.  Texting has become a regular communication method.   I do scheduling, data entry, research, customer service, vendor  interaction, and general  admin duties.  No, it isn’t my dream job, but all things considered it is a good move.  I’m making a decent wage and my stress level went down.  It’s an opportunity to help build a small business, wear jeans instead of office clothes, and learn about owning a business.  My latest learning curves are about getting insurance quotes for worker’s comp, setting up payroll, and navigating a much too complicated version of QuickBooks for Contractors.  After the last four years of employment upheaval, I think the Universe is giving me a chance to catch my breath and regroup.

Husby and I have been transitioning to the status of “empty-nesters”.  Daughter went off to Oregon for college.  We have been learning how to support her as she takes steps and leaps into adulthood…cheering her on when she is homesick (mostly missing the people and the good food in the Bay Area) and frustrated (she was the only one in her biology lab group who really got the assignments), offering advice of how to navigate bureaucracy (getting help from the housing department after reporting that they turned off heat during Thanksgiving break because they thought there was no one left on her floor – she was a popsicle for 4 nights), and visiting with her via Skype and listening to the new discoveries she is making as she builds a life 400 miles away from home.

Although Daughter went to college, I continued to volunteer with the San Leandro High School’s drama department.  True to my promise to Husby, I did not do as much volunteer work as in the last few years, but I did continue with the costumes.  Once I figure out where photos went on the new computer (old one crashed…can’t find where photos got saved!), I’ll post the pictures.  Although I’ve transitioned from being a parent of one of the students, I’m finding that it is hard to walk away from the program.  Every time I try to back off and say “okay the kids I know have mostly graduated, I can leave now”, a new batch come in and make me care.  It doesn’t help that I’ve become good friends with the drama teacher and the theater manager.  They are good guys and we have a shared dream of creating a self-sustaining drama program that keeps theater alive in this public high school.    So I want to explore transitioning to a different kind of support role.  I am interested in how to do the practical support to the program…how do we find affordable plays and musicals for the students to perform?  How do we build community support for the program?  How do we store costumes and props and scenery?  How do I balance this volunteer work with my full-time job?  No answers yet, but I’m working on it.

Speaking of working on it…Husby and I are transitioning back to being a child-free couple.  We haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.  Our work keeps us busy and we come home tired.  I’m starting to figure out that we need to build up our “couple-y” muscles.  We need to stay up a little later, need to reclaim our evenings from the zoning in front of the favorite television shows, build in more activities that we like to do together.  When one is in the throws of child rearing, you don’t have as much time to focus on the couple-y relationship.  You are busy working on the maintenance of the family schedule and abode and obligations.

This transition to being an independent couple again is odd. We’re going to the movies again.  We’ve visited Ikea to see what kind of furniture we may upgrade to after years of second-hand.  I’m starting to plan romantic dinners again…ones that include a little more spice now that we don’t have as picky an eater to accommodate.   I’m hoping to gradually plan more day trips re-exploring our beloved Bay Area  and Northern California.  I’m looking forward  to puttering in the garden more.  I know that we have a lot of house improvement and maintenance projects we want to take on.  I sense paint chips in my future.  I’m hoping to do more sewing of new curtains and cushions.  We’re in the process of re-feathering our empty nest.

Our nest is even emptier after our cat, Brigit, passed away in November because of a quick-moving cancer.  It is amazing how you can let a little furry critter into your house and they become a loved family member.  We still walk  into the house after a day at work and expect a friendly meow to greet us at the door.  This year we will be choosing to donate to a no-kill animal shelter in memory of Brigit The Loofa Porter Burress, a loving and sweet tabby  who came to us as a rescued feral kitten and became our furry girl for 12 years.  She is missed terribly.    Transitions can be bittersweet.

Also bittersweet is dealing with the way I see myself.  I’m thinking about what kind of projects I want to take on, what hobbies I want to continue with, what baggage (both physical and psychological) I want to abandon.  I’ve had other women tell me that when your kid leaves the house you get to change you life.  I’m wondering how I want to change it.  Here in my late 40s, I’m keenly aware of how I have transitioned away from a life where it is easy to take risks or be unanchored.  I feel the worries of the sandwich generation, worrying for my child and my/our parents, while not quite at ease with my own station.  And yet, there is a part of me that is optimistic and curious about how I can redesign my life.

I’m having to think about  what is Magaidh known as: wife, mother, daughter, worker, volunteer, friend, neighbor, crafter.  Where are my interests pulled?  Where is my time obligated to?  How do I want to redirect my energy and resources?  I’m finding myself less patient with narrow thinking (both liberal and conservative) and more willing to laugh (often sarcastically) at what others are putting as priorities.

The fall season is ending and winter arrives in a few days.  That is a transition that shows how life and cycles will continue regardless of our intellectual consideration of them.

I think I’ll grab a scarf and go out.






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