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Travel & Fun Over 50: Goodby Empty Nest!

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This week my husband and I are in Madrid, Spain visiting our son who is a college Junior spending a semester here.Plaza Mayor - Downtown Madrid

I just was thinking today about how different things are since this last offspring hit the road and left for college. I was so fearful…felt old and alone and left out, quite frankly. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like home alone, a ‘la empty nest.

This week we find ourselves in another country, in a beautiful city where we know no one, don’t speak the language, nor do we have any background in what it’s like to get around and see the sites. Learning to negotiate the Madrid Metro is a huge accomplishment in and of itself! We are here because that last child is here; so once again, our kids have been our impetus for doing new things and experiencing sights, sounds and events we otherwise never would have.

Even more importantly, we’ve seen with our own eyes something amazing. We had dinner with our son’s host family…a lovely, educated and articulate Spanish couple with whom we dined in a small and incredible restaurant on authentic, delicious dishes we would have never otherwise experienced. Our son, an Economics major, interpreted for all of us in Spanish and English, and the warmth and genuine affection his host family feels for him and his American roommate Stu was visible. We visited the Prada museum, and once again he rose to the occasion, sharing his recent knowledge of many of the paintings from an art class he’s been taking while living here.

Our takeaway from this week’s vacation? Incredible gratitude for having seen the degree of success and growth in our youngest child, of course. Part B of that piece is feeling like all is as it should be – no yearning for things to be like they used to be or wanting to go back in time. My feeling at this time of life is that you have to keep moving forward all the time or you’re going backward.

So far, so good!

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