I was 57 and comparing myself to my children. The girls were at exciting points in their lives. Sophia 24, was starting medical school in NYC. Nina 21, was in South Chicago teaching preschool with Teach for America. Meg was in Sydney, Australia finishing her junior year at college. I was (and still am) happily married to Kevin for 26 years. With 35 years in the field of early childhood ed I was (and still am) the President of Imagine Early Learning Centers LLC. Imagine is a child care management company with 10 centers for children 2 months to 5 years old.

I understood the girls were taking a next step in their lives. It was their turn. Steven Jobs said in his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” It makes sense and for a second that’s how I felt. Then I thought, I am not dead yet. I have to have another few moves.

Alison Shaw Photography

So we bought a one bedroom solar (completely off the grid) house on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. We have a fenced in garden for sustainable gardening, rain water catchers and the Tiffany of composting toilets, a Clivus. (We also have a regular flush toilet and a septic system….this transition is a process).

We have owned the house for one year. We love it. The process of making it ours is rejuvenating. Kevin and I are learning, exploring, having fun in uncharted waters. We are making plenty of mistakes but enjoying ourselves along the way. When we are on Chappy we relax. We read, have a chance to swim, ride bicycles, and explore. The girls and friends visit and we share a bathroom, eat by candle light, play scrabble, scattegories and badminton. Often we talk.
I know how lucky I have been in life. I know I am lucky now. At 57 I have a new “next”.

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