Flying Out of the Nest Adjusting to Our NewNormal in Parenthood
I ’ll never forget when Patti and I moved our third and youngest daughter to college. Madison was attending Elon University in North Carolina, which meant loading our family car and Madison’s vehicle with all her essentials for college and making the 12-hour drive up the coast. After getting Madi settled, we said our goodbyes and headed to Gainesville, Florida, for dinner with our middle daughter, Courtney. Around midnight, we walked into a quiet, empty house for the first time. When I climbed to the top of the stairs that night, I stood on the landing and stared at the three empty bedrooms. The beds were perfectly made, and any signs of our daughters were packed tightly in drawers or stashed away at their respective colleges and apartments. The sight tugged at my heart. I realized we had finally made it: Patti and I were empty nesters. Today, rather than kids filtering in and out of our house, it’s just Patti, me, and our 16 1/2-year- old dog, Frosty. (You may recognize Frosty if you have been in the office. The front desk employees like to give him treats, so he tends to hang around with them!) It’s a bittersweet phase in many ways. Every parent wants their children to grow up to be happy, healthy adults who move out and lead successful lives. There’s certainly less fighting over the television, but it’s still very different. It’s a major transition that takes some adjusting for everyone involved. When they were kids, we tried to fix everything for our daughters. Today, we act as a sounding board, only offering our advice when they
ask. And in the end, it’s worth it. Our three girls are confident and independent, and we could not be prouder of them and the young women they have become. Our eldest daughter, Gabrielle, or Gabi, as we call her, is 25 years old and works for Thrive Global in New York City. She’s been away from home for about eight years, and while it’s hard to be apart, we are so proud of her for taking a chance. She’s created her own life, and I have no doubt she will continue to make us proud. (We also love her boyfriend of five years, Benji.) At 23 years old, Courtney is our middle child, and she is currently enrolled in the physical therapy doctorate program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, my and Patti’s alma mater. It’s great to share that part of our lives with her. When my partner, Michael Hill, and I were at the Heckerling Institute this January, I slipped away for a few hours so Courtney and I could grab dinner at Satchel’s Pizza — the best pizza restaurant — and see a basketball game. Of course, Courtney keeps herself busy. She was elected class president, so she will represent her class for her entire three years of physical therapy school. Who knows where her career will take her, but she’s already making tremendous strides. Our youngest daughter, the one who officially made us empty nesters, is still in school as well. Madi, who turns 20 this April, transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University here in Fort Myers after my recent bout with heart surgery. It was sweet of her to move closer to home after that scare. Madi has a heart of gold and a wonderful capacity for knowledge. She received full honors at Elon, and I have a suspicion that she will transfer back once she feels confident that I’m back in great health. Our girls give us plenty of reasons to be proud, and while we may no longer see each of them on a regular basis, Patti and I have adjusted well to a quieter home and a different dynamic in our relationship with our daughters. We haven’t been perfect parents — each of us has our fair share of mistakes — but as Gabi, Courtney, and Madi have grown into the young women they are today, I’ve become more and more excited about their futures. They have already made me one very proud dad.
– Craig Hersch
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AGolden Opportunity in Your Golden Years 3 Tips for Changing Careers Later in Life
It’s 6 a.m. on Monday morning, and your alarm clock blares in your face. You groan and, with the thought of another week looming over you, pull yourself out of bed. But the early wake-up call is the least of your worries. Another week has begun, and you’re still stuck in a job that you no longer love or maybe never did. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may believe changing careers isn’t worth the hassle, especially if you’re close to retirement, but here’s the secret: It’s not too late! There’s nothing stopping you from finding a career you love later in life. Here are three tips to get you started. Be Flexible If it’s been a while since you’ve
only hinder your ability to find a job you actually love. Instead, take a deep breath and be open to what comes. You may discover a hidden talent or passion! Forget the Money Money matters, but it shouldn’t be your first priority on the job hunt. Instead, consider what’s going to make you the happiest. What’s your dream job? What have you always enjoyed doing? If money wasn’t an option, what would you be doing right now instead of counting down the hours to 5 p.m.? Be realistic in your goals and find something you love. Seek Guidance Remember, you’re not alone in this fight! Plenty of people switch careers midway through their lives to focus on something they really enjoy. Seek guidance from those who have had a similar experience and look to professional job hunters or consultants for help. Furthermore, after years in the same job or industry, you’re bound to have made a few connections. Reach out for professional support. Regardless of what path you choose, remember that a career you enjoy is always possible. We can’t promise that you’ll love getting up at 6 a.m., but at least you won’t dread what comes next.
hunted for a job, then you may have forgotten what it’s like. Job searching can be exhausting, and some job requirements can look overwhelming. But getting stuck in your ways and focusing on the things you cannot do will
Travel Tips for a Retirement Budget
Retirement is the perfect time to travel. These are your golden years, and you can spend themdoing whatever you’d like, wherever you’d like. But before you jet off on your next great adventure, consider your budget and travel wisely. Leverage your position. Retirement sure has its perks, so use this to your advantage. There’s no reason why you have to travel during traditional vacation times, such as over Memorial Day weekend or winter break. Instead, take advantage of lower rates, fewer crowds, andmore lodging options during the“off-seasons.” In addition, you can claimdiscounts through AAA, AARP, or your credit card company. Do a little digging and see how you canmake retirement work for you! Keep it local. The best way to experience a new city is to live as the locals do. Sure, there are the sights you have to see
when you’re in Europe, but what could be better than enjoying a fresh pain au chocolat and glass of red wine on a Tuesday afternoon at the little cafe down the street from your Paris hotel? You don’t have to
fork over loads of money to experience the wonders a new destination has to offer. Check municipal event calendars, performance centers, and reviews of restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and wineries for a sampling of life in a new city. As a bonus, these are often free or low-cost options because they are not tourist attractions. Make a budget — and stick to it! Traveling is expensive, but it doesn’t have to suck your bank account dry. If you can afford to, stash away money eachmonth or set up a specialty savings account for your travels. Next, establish what you want to do and set realistic expectations for your expenses. If you are a museum fanatic, youmay want to reserve more funds for your activities and pack your meals. But- if you’re a foodie, youmay spend less on the sights andmore at local eateries. The key is to decide what’s at the top of your wish list and ensure you have the cash to support it.
Our Guide to Preparing Your Winter Home for Summer
Ward off unwanted visitors. This is the perfect time to examine your home for damage. Inspect it for holes where animals could sneak in or where water could puddle and cause damage. Next, thoroughly clean your house, linens, furniture, and kitchen appliances to avoid mold and mildew growth during the humid summer. Lastly, get professional help. HVAC experts, exterminators, and contractors can catch signs you may miss and offer advice on repairs. Finish last-minute touches. Before you say your goodbyes, don’t forget to clear your home of any perishable foods and spices. Once the refrigerator is cleaned out, unplug it and crack open the doors. Some homes may also require sealing the drains and faucets with tape to avoid any backlog or water drips. Finally, ask a neighbor or a friend to check on your home during the summer. They can water plants, monitor your appliances, and notify you of any damage. This will give you peace of mind because you’ll know your home is in capable hands until you return.
The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and some of our Floridian friends are preparing to fly north for the summer. Whether this was your first winter in Florida or you’re a professional at splitting your time between two states, there will always be tasks to accomplish before heading north. You can get started with this list! Save money. You should not pay for a full year of services when you only use those services seasonally. That being said, there are some stipulations when it comes to what you should cancel, pause, or keep. You should call your cable company and phone provider to pause or cancel your subscriptions, but do not cancel the insurance on your Florida home. However, you may be able to lower your rates or protection to save some money. You should never cancel your power because your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system will regulate the dewpoint and temperature in your home to prohibit mold and mildew growth. The key is to analyze your situation and make a plan for what works best for you.
See Ya Later!
Thank you for spending your winter with us. See you next year!
B e e t , G o a t C h e a n d A r u g u l a S a
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1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 3 tbsp shallots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 6 beets, peeled and quartered
6 cups fresh arugula
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 oz crumbled goat cheese DIRECTIONS: 1. Heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 2. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, shallots, and honey. 3. Gradually whisk olive oil into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. 4. In a small bowl, toss the beets in dressing until they are coated. 5. Place coated beets on baking sheet and roast them for 12 minutes. Set the beets aside and allow them to cool. 6. In a large bowl, toss arugula, walnuts, and berries with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. 7. Top salad with beets, avocado, and goat cheese. Inspired by FoodNetwork.com
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INSIDE this issue
Celebrating the Empty Nest and the Daughters Who Make Us Proud.............1 Finding a Job You Love at Any Age...............................2
Traveling on a Retirement Budget .....................................2
Prepare Your Winter Home for Summer .............................3
The Best Locations for Spring Blooms.........................4
e e S
n T h
e s pring is here, whichmeans beautiful flowers are finally showing themselves after a long winter. Here are some of
the attention of flower enthusiasts for its unique pink, orange, and gold alpine wildflowers that appear in the spring. This natural phenomenon even inspired the creation of the annual Wildflower Festival inmidsummer, which features nature walks, art, photography, culinary experiences, andmore. For a truly unique experience, you can even ascend the town’s titular Crested Butte to spot some rare alpine sunflowers next to the picturesqueWest Elk Mountains. Antelope Valley The California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California, is a 1,780-acre park that features sloping hills covered with fields of vibrant orange, yellow, and red poppies in the spring. Warm temperatures and heavy rainfall across Southern California during this time of year create a brief period of thick blooms as far as the eye can see. And while the poppies can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car, the best way to experience them is to walk the leisurely Antelope LoopTrail for a breathtaking, up-close adventure. Spring flora is gorgeous and naturally attracts large crowds of people every year. If you plan to visit any of these destinations, just remember that their ecosystems are delicate. Respect park signs, stay on designated trails, and do your part to make sure these flowers return year after year for future generations to enjoy.
the best places in the U.S. to see flower blossoms and welcome the season.
Great Smoky Mountains The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across North Carolina andTennessee, and while its scenery is beautiful year-round, the park is especially alluring to nature enthusiasts during the spring. Through this season, miles of lady’s-slipper orchids, irises, cardinal flowers, and lilies dot its lush green landscape. It’s dubbed“Wildflower National Park” throughout this time of year, and you can experience it by car or on foot. The park also offers expert-led tours that weave through the flowers during their peak bloom. Crested Butte Crested Butte, Colorado, is best known for its winter sports and summer hikes. But recently it has drawn
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