Today was completely exhausting. I was on my feet the whole day and was more stressed than I had expected or wanted to be. That was the downside of the day. The up side was hearing about a friend’s retirement home and community. The house, which sounds beautiful and is in North Carolina, is expected to be completed this month. The community sounds awesome. There are community-wide clubs and activities. Plenty of opportunities to keep a freshly retired couple busy and happy. And, I can not imagine retiring. I feel the exact same way I have felt before every “next stage.” First, it was, “I can’t imagine getting married.” Then, “I can’t imagine being pregnant, giving birth, sending my “baby” to Kindergarten, having a child in high school, and of course, the until recently feeling of, I can’t imagine being empty nester.” The beauty of the “next stage” is that it is usually preceded by just enough of the current stage to help you become prepared for it. So, while I am very excited for my friend and her retirement home, I know that I am not there yet. The fact that friends of mine are entering this phase of their lives is like a window into what the future holds for us. It is just like when I used to look in curiosity at how other moms were handling having their worlds turned upside down when all of their children left home. I saw that they seemed fine. In fact, I learned that all of them were thrilled to have their lives back. Hopefully, when we are ready to begin thinking about and planning our retirements, we will find a great place like my friend has found, and we will have had just enough time in the “current stage” to be ready for it. This evening I choose to focus on the up side of my day and be happy for someone else’s good fortune.