When I was growing up we lived on the outskirts of town had some benefits other kids didn’t have. The fields and wildlife were my natural playground and I loved it!
One of the fields was where an old-timer had a donkey, a couple of cows and a horse or two. One Sunday afternoon we went for our after lunch walk and my dad decided to let me experience riding on the back of the neighbor’s donkey – without a saddle! Mr. Donkey was always such a friendly fellow poking his head over the fence for carrots and hay. His eyes were so dark, fringed with long and beautiful eye lashes. How could the beast behind those eyes be anything but trustworthy.
Ya, I was naive. And I was a little apprehensive, but I thought this would be a fun and new experience so I “saddled” up.
His attitude was gentle at first. But after a few lumbering moments things quickly changed. He started walking quickly. Then he started trotting. Soon, he shot off like a bullet and I kept my head down concentrating on trying to stay upright which meant holding on to the only thing I had which was his mane. We were bumping along the path with my legs bouncing up and down like drum sticks bouncing on a drum.
I never saw that limb coming. That little furry bugger ran under a low limb and walloped me right off his back onto the hard, dusty Texas ground.
Soon I found myself rubbing the knot on my head and dusting off the dirt!
I looked up and saw he had trotted a few steps ahead and then looked back at me as if to say “I hope you learned your lesson.” I wasn’t too sure at the time what lesson I needed to learn then except to not trust dark eyed critters.
But I have reflected about that scene often.
Empty Nest Survival Lessons from a Donkey
Isn’t that how life is sometimes? You are stepping along, and think you have “it” all planned out when all of a sudden you realize you’ve lost control.
Life has arrived with a change you didn’t expect. It’s as though a limb out of nowhere appears in front of you. And you wind up knocked off your feet, breathless, and trying to figure out what happened.
Sometimes “knocking you off your feet” events can be avoided if you keep yourself more aware. In other words, there is a way to stay ahead of the “Empty Nest Survival” game.
I never thought I would be thinking about that ride on the donkey years ago and associating it the Empty Nest journey.
Had I not kept my head down and been so clueless, I would have had warning about the limb.
My folks were hollering at me to get me to look up. But, I didn’t. Had I looked ahead I would have seen that limb and could have ducked.
What can you do to be prepared for change?
Accept and realize you are growing older and life is changing. Take inventory of where you are now and what obvious changes are on the way. And lastly, be prepared as you can for the unexpected.
And a little Texas Wisdom: Keep your head up and listen! Be watchful! And don’t ride a donkey bare back!
Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who find they need to RePurpose and ReDesign their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.