Yumiko and I decided to downsize after Emily left to begin life on her own. Our own move began just two days after Emily left our home on Saturday, July 11th. Our new place is a one-bedroom apartment in the same community where we've enjoyed living for the past two years. We really like this community, which we think is the best place we've ever lived in either Japan or the USA, and we are happy to stay here for another year. Though we got the keys to the new place yesterday, we left a half month overlap between our current unit and this new, smaller unit, in order to allow us a more leisurely transition - though I expect we will be fully moved within a week as we own so little of anything besides memories.
Curiously, the sense of empty-nest despair which we both felt on Sunday has seemingly passed. And while I described it to Yumiko as a "one day phenomenon" Yumiko told me it felt to her more like just a "twelve hour" despair. The open door to Emily's dark, empty bedroom hangs there off the living room as a reminder that she is gone, though it does not yawn with pain like it so acutely did the day after she left; and I imagine our moving to a new apartment will have the effect of more fully extricating us from the diminishing pain of a past life which is now no more. Moving on seems to help ease the pain.
Emily and her boyfriend Chris did pop in midday on Monday in order to pick up a few more things from Emily's room, and I used my lunchtime break to help them carry the heavier items down to Chris' truck. Emily seems quite engaged with her new life - no looking back it seems - as she told us a little more about her roommates and living situation. I reminded her that she will always have a home with us, and that whatever happens she will always be grounded within our family. She listened, and nodded her head patiently, before moving on to raid the fridge for an impromptu snack which she shared with Chris. I know that things are good for her just now, and also that life will likely begin to show her otherwise, as it so evidently seems to do for us all. Emily is a good person, and I expect she'll find, struggle and muddle her way through whatever comes like all of us do, emerging, if not richer, then perhaps at least better for the effort and attempt at living well. Yumiko and I have done - hopefully - all we can for Emily besides maintaining her now through the remainder of her college years, and being there for her when she needs us.
But now, we will do our supporting from our own new little home, a new and smaller "empty nest". Now, we too have begun to leave that old nest of our completed parenthood years. We've flown the coop! And Yumiko and I will begin to make a new home - certainly not our last if past precedent is any prediction of the future - as maturish parents of a grown adult who no longer needs us like she once did as a child. We are ready to make not just a new home together, but a new life - another life in the long list of lives we've lived together since we met way back in 1986.
Let the new living begin!
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.