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New year, new…sletter
Changes to POA and me for 2023
Happy Near, friends! I write to you still amidst our young-adults-home-for-the-holidays fog. I’m seriously delighting in their company (70%). We’re cooking together, revisiting favorite neighborhoods, laughing a lot, and even broaching some deep subjects. I’m also fingering the edge of anxiety (30%) that is baseline parental worry + a disrupted routine. (Both/and.)
So far, my second year of empty nestitude has been characterized by ambiguity. My surprisingly smooth start is in the rear view mirror and now I’m operating with decidedly less visibility.
Mirabai and I talked about this when I visited her last fall for Parent Weekend. Her freshman departure was a rocket ship blast to the stars, but her second year of college has been more complicated. Perhaps we’re both going through our own versions of the Sophomore Slump?
Granted, more has changed for me than my parental status. The biggest was managing my Mom’s move from my childhood home in the Bay Area to a retirement community here in Portland. There is so much in this single experience to unpack — as a daughter, as an only child, as one still grieving the loss of my father, as a wife, as a parent, as one stumbling through my own reinvention. It’s hard to know where to begin.
Helloooo, Big Picture Asha? It’s me, 2023 Asha! Where are you? A little help here?
I write this first newsletter of 2023 from the vantage point of joy without a lot of clarity. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), this is awkward. In 2022, I took a sabbatical, changed my social media habits, went on a transformative road trip, worked with a therapist, read, walked, journaled. I even took some college classes. It’s not like I’ve spent the last year in a cave. Things are good, for the most part. So why hasn’t the fog cleared?
Action leads to clarity
Lo and behold, a rather embarrassing truth has come into focus that’s so obvious I’m giving it a megaphone and all caps:
📣 ACTION LEADS TO CLARITY.
When you can’t see through the fog, instead of worrying about the fog, focus on the road. Take a small step. Then pause, look around, and take the next small step. Keep going!
But what if it isn’t the right step? What if I go the wrong direction? How will I know?
You probably won’t know, but that’s okay. It’s just one step. You can always course correct. Trust yourself.
Hold up, 2023 Asha! I’m pretty sure you know this already. Didn’t you co-host a whole podcast about the power of baby steps and course correction?
Sigh. Point taken, Big Picture Asha.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some things need to be learned over and over. Carry on!
Changes to Parent of Adults in 2023
When I launched Parent of Adults, it was without a set publishing schedule. This was intentional. I told myself this was because I didn’t want to email you unless I had something truly helpful to say. Good intentions, but I shot myself in the foot because the whole point of this newsletter is collective wisdom. How do we get there if I’m stuck behind my lack of clear “and therefores” and don’t send a newsletter at all?
We all know we’re winging it and life is unpredictable no matter what the Internet says. I’m as vulnerable to the terror that brings up as the next person. Especially now that my kids are adults making their way through an uncertain future.
But sitting here knowing that doesn’t help. We’re all making our way through an uncertain future! We always have been!
What does help is showing up here, week after week, and trusting our stories will light the way. Small steps, over time.
AND THEREFORE, I’m making a few changes this newsletter’s setup:
Most Thursdays, I’ll publish a new public post.
These public posts will be available to all subscribers, and the comment section will be open. I say most Thursdays because life doesn’t always conform to editorial calendars.
Most Saturdays, I’ll publish a community post for paid subscribers.
I’ll follow up each public post with a related community prompt. The goal of these community posts is to provide a cozy hangout where we can get comfortable and have more intimate, small-group conversations than we would in public comments.
Community posts might take the form of a Q&A thread or a crowdsource request or an activity or a list of related readings. Or something else we invent together!
Our first community post will be relaxed: intros (I’m so curious about you!) + an invitation to suggest newsletter topics.
Look for it this Saturday. Update: it’s live now.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, I invite you to join the community of paid subscribers. To thank you for hanging with me as I put my course correction advice into action. I’m discounting paid subscriptions by 25% through January 14.
(If you’re currently a paid subscriber: watch your email inbox for a note from me.)
A word about the public comments: I thrive on conversation: it’s how I learn and make meaning, and how I have the most fun. But Internet-based conversation is its own beast, which is why I’m committed to what I call “protected public” space. Distinguishing between public comments and paid community hangouts allows me to welcome conversational energy into this newsletter while maintaining a protected place for those of us who want it.
So much for ambiguity! Look at all this decision-making! Is this newfound clarity? Or a temporary break in the fog?
We can safely assume it’s temporary. Clarity…fog…they’re not opposites. They’re transitory states; weather patterns that come and go as we make our way through this big, messy life.
Let’s just keep going. I’m excited to spend the next year together, wherever it takes us.