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Imagine Starting Over / When Your Last Child Leaves For College

Updated on May 12, 2011

Starting over. Imagine the possibilities that lie ahead. Chances are you have lots of life left to live when your last child leaves for college. How will you plan to really make something of your new-found freedom? Please read on for inspiration.

The Best Investment You Can Ever Make Is In Yourself

Successful people often invest in themselves because they know it guarantees amazing return and can never be lost. Today I am doing just that, investing in myself. I am thinking about the possibilities that lie ahead.

My last child will be leaving home soon for college and I am beginning to feel the excitement of ‘returning to my life’ or even possibly ‘starting over’. That is not to say that I have no fear about significant changes soon to take place. Starting over is like a set of building blocks. Our mindset and our thinking can make everything possible. Everything happens twice: once in your mind, as what you think, and once in reality. That is why you need to think about what you want daily.

Thinking equals building. If you think about how you would like to start your life anew, you are actually building a new life.

Imagine The Possibilities of 'Starting Over'
Imagine The Possibilities of 'Starting Over'

A Valuable Lesson I Learned From a Stay-At-Home-Dad

For the past five years I volunteered at a local church to mind toddlers while their moms attended a mom-2-mom connection group. This year I had the honor to mind the 2 and 3 year olds with Steve, a stay-at-home dad.

When I got to know Steve better I began asking lots of questions; curious to learn more about his life starting over in his new stay-at-home role. Both of Steve’s children were in our class. As you can imagine they demanded his attention frequently. I admired how he consistently taught them right from wrong and corrected them when they got out of line, as all children often do. He also never neglected to mention the good with the bad.

One day, Steve told me that the more time he spent with his children, he could see within himself that he was becoming more like his own father. Without mention of what that was, I gathered it wasn’t something that he liked. So Steve went to his pastor at church and courageously asked for help. The next day, the two of them went on a day long hike. They shared much and returned exhausted.

That evening, Steve phoned his father and talked for two very productive hours. Before Steve went to sleep that night he broke down and cried like a baby.

Since that day, I could sense a freshness in Steve’s spirit. A new joy had sprung from his soul. Although, I don’t know what the conversation was between he and his dad, I did start to notice that Steve’s bond with his children was beginning to change. He was beginning to not only teach his young son and daughter right from wrong but to truly love them both for who they uniquely are.

I learned a valuable lesson about courage and reaching out for help. Steve made the best investment and that was in himself.

Re-Awaken Your Dreams

It can be very easy to lose sight of your dreams. Don’t let your thinking kill your ideas. If you choose to abandon your dreams, you risk becoming a slave to other people’s projects.

The steps toward your dreams are built in the present. It is in the NOW! Your thoughts and choices you make when you begin ‘starting over’ form the foundation of whether you will achieve your dreams or not. In fact, your thoughts and choices are the very lifeblood of your dreams.

Forget about the dreams that the world sells to you and what others say you can or cannot do. Listen very carefully to your soul. For within it are the secrets to your happiness and fulfillment of your purpose.

Positive energy is the gateway to your dreams. Reaching for your dreams is a state of mind that believes everything imaginable is possible. And the path to your dreams is clarified by each small step that you take.

What Not To Do

Recently, I read a comment posted on a webpage about “The Empty Nest Syndrome”. It went like this: “I have a 22 year old and a 17 year old at home. I am trying to prepare myself for when the time comes as I know it will be so lonely, and I will not know what to do. Just the thought of it now makes me…”

Now, I did not have to click on this post to find out where her life is headed. (There was once an old lady who lived in a shoe. She was so lonely she didn’t know what to do).

I hope you clearly see how this woman is self-sabotaging her own dreams. Avoid this at all costs.

Congratulate Yourself

Although the job of being a parent is never done, you have reached a goal. You have raised an independent young adult, which is no easy task. Give yourself a pat on the back. Allow yourself a bit of pride for a job well done.

Here’s What You Can Look Forward To

How many times have you heard parents jokingly say how they can’t wait for their children to 'fly the coop' so they can finally enjoy some much needed peace and quiet? The days of shuffling children from their commitments and staying up late hoping your teenagers are really where they say they will be are over. And before you know it, water, electric and grocery bills take a dive and your home seems to be a whole lot cleaner all by itself. And last but not least you may notice that even though you’ve lost a teenager, you’ve also gained a bathroom.

Upon returning from picking up my mail today, to my bewilderment, was an official government business letter from the office of the jury commissioner addressed to me. I am being summonsed to serve as a trial juror commencing on Sept. 4th, 2008. A knowing failure to obey this summons without justifiable excuse is a crime. That is the same week that my freedom begins when my daughter begins college. Jury duty is not included in my starting over plan. I say robbing me of my long deserved freedom is a crime. I’ve come to learn through the years of raising children that you pick your battles wisely and sometimes you just have to let things be and I just had to laugh.

Best wishes as you imagine starting over. You now have your very own life, so go lead it!

John Lennon / Image

"Starting Over" / John Lennon


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    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks Jonni for stopping by and adding your positive outlook on a subject underdiscussed and that is for sure!  I love your thoughts on the sprinkling of the fairy dust.  Hope to "read" you around more.  I couldn't say "see" you around more because it's Mike I'm looking at up there, lol!

    • Mike the salesman profile image

      Mike the salesman 

      9 years ago from birmingham alabama/sherwood oregon

      This is Jonni (not Mike) Thanks for this great article. I think this subject is underdiscussed. From the start I thought of raising my kids as a finite endeavor with the goal of making myself unnecessary. I think I started the process when I was in Junior High and read Kahil Gibran's "your children are not your children". I like your thought that things happen twice, once when we think them and then in reality. In a way there is a third time too - when we recall them and sort of sprinkle fairy dust on them, if you know what I mean. Anyway, well done.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Thank you Shirley and VioletSun

      You both are such genuine human beings that can touch my heart and leave me speechless as I am right now.

      It also doesn't help when the cursor is not cooperating. I have been back here twice hoping it would reset but to no avail. I wish I could explain.

      Thank you so much for dropping by.

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Like Ripplemaker, I am not a mom, but  this hub touched my heart, and made my eyes wet. It can apply to any stage in life when we start over, be it a New Year or letting go of what no longer works. I likes these words:

      "Forget about the dreams that the world sells to you and what others say you can or cannot do. Listen very carefully to your soul. For within it are the secrets to your happiness and fulfillment of your purpose"

      I also liked the part where you said, " successful people often invest in themselves because they know it guarantees amazing return and can never be lost. Today I am doing just that, investing in myself. I am thinking about the possibilities that lie ahead."

      I see you have the "Imagine" video here, which you mentioned in one of my hubs. Cool. Didn't know, when I clicked on it to read this hub.

      I am so pleased to find that in this community we have writers like you, who have depth, humor and are simply amazing human beings. I haven't lost faith in mankind because I always get to meet the ones that are angels.   

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Dottie! I'm even further behind in my reading than I thought, because I thought this was new until I started reading the comments. Oops, sorry!

      I can't believe that you said to me that you're not a writer. You are, this is great! I'm giving you an extra thumbs up just for having our John's vids on here with two songs that can make me cry.

      Steve's story is very touching. It sounds like it was a big relief or cleansing for him, how nice!

      As you know, I fully believe what you say about positive energy and about putting your thoughts and visualizations in the present tense. I have to thank you for reminding me about the self-sabatoge trap. That one can get me before I realize that I've done it.

      Great hub, writer angel Dottie!

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi anjalichugh

      I'm happy you enjoyed this hub. You are absolutely right, it is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams and the adventure is thrilling. Your visit and comments are very much appreciated. ~Dottie~

    • anjalichugh profile image


      9 years ago from New York

      Thx for such an inspirational hub. Most parents (especially moms) tend to lead a stagnated 'sort of' life after their children grow up. Truly, it's never the end. Life begins from where you want it to. It's never too late to pursue your dreams.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Best of luck to you indy cindy. Thanks for passing through and leaving nice comments. It's nice seeing new faces here at HubPages. Welcome and I hope to see more of you around. ~Dottie~ :)

    • indy cindy profile image

      indy cindy 

      9 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Although I am getting a peek at the 'loneliness' factor that I'm likely to experience when I actually have an 'empty nest' ... I am also looking forward to the excitement that independence from 'hands-on' child raising will bring. Great hub.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      You may not have your own daughter per se, Rippi, but I heard you have many sons and daughters that you are like a mom to at your school.  My daughter just said to me as she is packing for college "Don't think you are getting rid of me this easy".  I said the same to her.  I told her I was going to keep in eye on her over the live streaming cams that I learned about from Comp-smart.  He said he could locate these for me, all I have to do is email him the school address and PRESTO, I'll be there.  And thank you for sharing yourself with me too.  Have a blessed day my dear friend.  :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Dottie, I may not have a daughter going off to college anytime soon LOL but at some point in our lives we all need to "start over" so to speak. I smiled as I read your hub, allowing myself to learn more about how to live a full life. Indeed we do need to invest on ourselves because in the beginning and in the end, that is what we really have. And the more we can become, the more we can share of ourselves. Thanks so much for blessing me with our little conversations and making me smile with your comments. Keep on my dear sis as I will! :)

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Dayzeebee, thankyou for your positive comments. I shall unselfishly shower of myself today for I need all the blessings I can get. From reading your hubs it appears this comes very natural to you.

    • dayzeebee profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      dottie this is such an empowering hub. your positive attitude will help many more. the more you give of your self the more blessings are poured upon you.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks Cgull for stopping by. Somebody has to keep working and influencing the world. Why not each one of us. That would make it a whole lot simpler.

    • cgull8m profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Inspiring story, we have to keep working and influencing the world. Cheers.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Thankyou MoonLetters for stopping by and for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the video.

    • MoonLetters profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for these insights. I really enjoyed the "Imagine" video - its one of my favorite songs. Peace on your journey.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Thank you Lilymag. I would appreciate that. Thanks for the very nice comment.

    • Lilymag profile image


      10 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very nice hub, my aunt is sending her last son off to college soon, I will have to recommend this hub to her!


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