The saying goes, “ The only thing constant in life is change.”

Here we go again. Four days ago my wife took a full-time job. This is the first time she’s worked full-time out of the house since Kyle was born over twenty-four years ago. I think of the days when the house was full. I loved those times. Kayla, Shayna Zoe (our dog), Stevie (our other dog) Tywwana all here together,  all day long, every day. Those were are fun times. I loved spending time with the girls. Even though I would mostly be in my office, we would stop and have lunch together. And we would check in with each other during the day.

Then Kayla graduated from high school and went off to college. Just a year later, Shayna passed away. We were suddenly, unexpectedly, and against our will, empty nesters. That was an adjustment. The house seemed so quiet. It seemed so empty.

In August last year, we had to say goodbye to Zoe. Stevie is still adjusting to not having her playmate here. I miss Zoe still.

5 1/2 years later, I had pretty much adjusted to this new lifestyle Tywana has worked part-time jobs during that time. But, mostly, she has worked Treasured Locks full time. Her office was in the basement. My office is on the first floor. But, things change. Health insurance costs continue to rise. Treasured Locks is not doing as well as it once did. Manufacturers whose products we use to move a lot of have gone direct with their own websites or to retail locations. So we’ve had to adjust to the new levels of income from Treasure locks. Our health insurance is now about one and a half times what our mortgage is. At almost $20,000 a year, we have to sell a lot of shampoo just to pay for healthcare. A couple of years ago, Tywana took a job.  It was full time, but she was working from the house. It was nice because we could still be together, and she could still work on Treasured locks. And our health insurance was down to just half of what our mortgage is. Covid-19 put an end to that job.  For the last several months, we’ve had to pay our own healthcare insurance again until she could find something else.

About a month, ago she found something else. She got a job with GE Credit Union that she started this past Monday.  As I sit here on Thursday, she’s been in training for the last several days. I’m here adjusting to the New Normal. It’s just Stevie and me now. Neither of us us likes it. Stevie’s adjusted a little bit. She comes into my office and whines. She whines when I’m packing orders. She wants me to play with her. Stevie does not get the concept of work. Finally, she will give up and lay down and let me get to work.

While Tywana’s working the full-time job,  I’m juggling my consulting business, my coaching business, and managing what remains of Treasured Locks. I pack orders in the morning.  I ship the orders. I make products. I do marketing. Then I work on my podcast, my courses, my coaching, my presentations, my writing, and my social media. I’ve also taken on a part-time sales job with a new software-as-a-service company that’s starting today. It’s fifteen hours a week right now, with the opportunity for more if things work out.

So, there are lots of irons in the fire. No, wait. There are lots of new seedlings planted. We’ll see what takes root.  If they all grow, I’ll have to cut something out. For now, it’s the let them all grow up together approach.

What I have to do is to be patient, to not get ahead of myself. I can easily get overwhelmed with so much going on and so much to do. Since I don’t know where things are going, I have to trust for now.

I love what I’m doing with Grief 2 Growth. It’s my passion. It’s what I feel I’m here to do. But, there are bills to be paid, and most of what I do- like the podcast, doesn’t pay. Ahh.. the life of a “lightworker.” 

Things have always worked on in the past. So, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t continue to work out in the future. And, as I approached 60 in just a few weeks, the planning horizon is not that long anymore. We have savings, and our expenses are decreasing as Kayla graduates college in the spring, the home remodeling is over, the furniture is bought, etc.

As I look back over the years, I’m grateful for what Treasured Locks has been able to provide for us.  We started the business in 2002, intending just to make a little bit of extra cash.  For fifteen of the nineteen years we’ve been running Treasured Locks, it’s been our primary income. It’s put Kayla through college. It’s paid the mortgage. As Treasured Locks possibly winds down, I have to keep in mind every good thing comes to an end. Everything in this life is temporary. One of the traits of wisdom is knowing when to let go of things. Another is to let go of things with gratitude rather than with regret; to smile because it happened rather than cry because it’s over.

It’s not all bad. Tywana is working just about six miles away, and we see each other every morning and every evening. But, it is an adjustment not to be together in the house everyday all day the way that we have been for the last 24 years. It’s an adjustment to be alone all day long, with the exception of the dog who would rather I play “bone” with her than work.

This new new normal too shall pass. I will be eligible for Medicare in 5 years, drastically reducing our health insurance costs.  Hopefully, Grief 2 Growth will continue to grow.  The job opportunity with a software company may turn into something full-time.  At some point, I’d like to retire,  as would Tywana. For today, I’m grateful for what I’ve got. I’m thankful for all the opportunities before me, even though they have not yet come into full bloom. I’m grateful for what I’ve had in the past. And, I trust that whatever comes will be for the best 

3 replies
  1. claudia milligan
    claudia milligan says:

    Holy Cow Brian!! Lots of changes! Thanks for the reminder on gratitude. Sometimes I forget and think “I goitta” instead of “I get to.”

    Reply
  2. Annie Bones-Tucker
    Annie Bones-Tucker says:

    Really enjoyed this article and that with change you are still grateful. With our son passing almost a year ago we are still adjusting to change of the loneliness and the emptiness of our house. But we are making it day by day and grateful we still have each other and no other worries. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Brian Smith
      Brian Smith says:

      The struggle is real. As parents, we always know that one day our little ones will leave the nest. Some of us even look forward to it. We did not. Both are gone now. But, in very different ways. This is an adjustment every parent has to make.

      Reply

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