by Carlene Carrabino Vital
Carlene Carrabino Vital has a Masters Degree in Public Health and has worked mostly in the area of health education. She has a 17 year old daughter and a 13 year old son and made a conscious decision to stay home with them when they were young. However, not completely fulfilled at home after obtaining her degree, she and a friend decided to start their own business. They created a small finance company and bought and sold personal property and later owned rental properties. After moving to Chattanooga she got involved in the community by serving on various boards. She graduated from Leadership Chattanooga in 2012 and served on the Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association and will be President of LCAA in 2015. When she read about MomSource Network, immediately she felt committed to the mission. Helping educated professional women find flexible work for a more balanced life is a natural fit.
I’ve started planning my midlife crisis. Well, maybe more of a “Not- quite-MID –and-Not-quite-CRISIS.” Both seem so definitive, as if I have exactly half my life left and I need drama…to which I say, hopefully not and absolutely not. Though I really am starting to sketch out a plan for ‘my own event’ time. One, by the way, that doesn’t involve sports cars or trying to reclaim my youth. My son has two years left in high school. I’ve been doing this parenting thing pretty much on my own for a long time (it’s too long a story to get in to and way too personal.) In any event, I’ve put a LOT of time and effort and more importantly love into raising my two kidlets. Have I made a ton of mistakes? Uh, yeah. Would I do it all over again and be WAY more relaxed? Uh, yeah. Am I kinda looking forward to moving in to the next chapter when the laundry loads are a little smaller, the dishwasher fills up more slowly, and my children start to realize I’m actually an adult who always has their back? Uh, yeah. And, I’m thinking if I announce it now, I also remove the power of the ‘gossip’ mill. If I’ve already told you, then what is there to talk about? No one need be surprised or alarmed.
Some people may think this is sad. I understand that. But you see, I’ve already grieved the empty nest. I like to plan ahead as you can surmise. I actually came home from the hospital almost 20 years ago and put my sweet innocent beautiful daughter on the bed and burst in to tears and said, “Someday, she is going to grow up and leave!” So, again, please don’t think I haven’t had all the feelings about the up and coming empty nest. You know you are seriously and obviously grieving when you drop your daughter off at college in Boston and the TOLL BOOTH lady offers you tissues as you stop to pay. I’ve also used that sadness to remind me not to flip out when the hockey (a.k.a. lacrosse, a.k.a. wrestling, a.k.a ultimate Frisbee,) equipment is left strewn all over the living room floor. I’ve told myself, “Someday, there won’t be any hockey equipment here to flip out over.”
So some people may call it a bucket list. I’m too young for that and it sounds morbid. But I am planning.
Do I sell the house? Buy a VW bus? Travel in the US? Travel in Europe? Get in to the most amazing physical shape of my life? FINALLY nail a handstand without relying on a wall? These are all on the list in no particular order at this point. I have time, remember? I hope.
How am I planning it? I’m a stalker for people on FB talking about vacations. I’ve gotten great ideas which I copy and paste in to a file. I’ve gotten some great ideas simply by asking questions. Do you use a travel agent? To which I received websites with GREAT deals. Travelzoo.com and Gate1Travel.com I’m now following closely. I’m also following “The Minimalist.” When it comes down to it, I not only want to be ready physically and emotionally, but lean when it comes down to possessions that own me. Luckily, I work remotely. So, wherever I go, I just need to plan ahead and make sure they have electricity and wifi. And if not, I’m truly on vacation.
So, call it what you want, My Own Event is coming. You’ve been warned. No need to discuss it further. Unless, of course, you have great advice for my file. Then, please forward it on. I want this NOT-Quite Mid-and-NOT-Quite-Crisis to be HUGE. (And hopefully the toll booth folks with have plenty of tissues.)