The point of processing

You may have noticed over the last year or so that I've been doing lots of processing, writing, and reflecting on the kids growing up. There's an obvious reason for that - they're growing up.

Kids are always growing, so I guess more specifically, my kids are leaving childhood.


Proud Concordia University parent,
photo from Parent's Reception at Concordia Orientation week

I've experienced some grief and loss, nostalgia and regret in this letting go. For me, that just feels like a natural part of the journey.

I tend to be nostalgic to begin with. I forget past hardships so I see the past as the good ol' days. And even when I do remember a past difficulty, I can't feel the intensity of the situation anymore and all that's left is warm fuzzies for all the good stuff from that time.

This is a gift for a "the glass is half empty" person like myself. But it also doesn't provide a true comparison point. The past was not golden, but I remember it as such. I like having this kind of faulty memory but I compare any present pain, suffering or difficulty against an inaccurate memory (all memory is inaccurate) and I can feel nostalgic for a time that never was.

So there's been some of that as the kids leave childhood and I've had to remind myself, it wasn't as idyllic as you remember Renee. And regardless of whatever present pain, insecurity, difficulty, struggle we're currently experiencing, I'm going to look back on this time with fondness.

all together on our 2 day family vacation to the Adirondacks in August

That time we lived in Montreal and the kids were all still at home... Already it's tinged with gold.

I've always written about family life. Both the activities and happenings of our family, and the personal growth and development born from the fertile soil of mothering, marriage, homeschooling, and adventuring.

It's the growing and expanding edge of self that most inspires my writing.

Two big things are happening in life right now, the kids are leaving childhood and I'm actively preparing to launch a second career. And my writing has been a tool to process both of those changes, to chart the landscape at the unknown edges of my map.

Launching a second career is a process. Like I published in What's next? Aiming for a career back in January:

This figuring-out time is not a fast process. I'm not going to pop back on the blog in a month with a career plan. But probably in the next year or 18 months I'll write a third work and career series which tells the story of a path, a pursuit, and a plan.

This is not that post. There is a nascent plan. But I'm not ready to talk about it here. Not yet.

The last year has been a lot of vocational soul searching for me. As I see the kids through graduation and onto the next stage, I'm figuring out what's next for me.

I've been looking at the tapestry of my life; evaluating my experience, skills, fascinations, interests, motivations and needs and creating a plan for myself in how I will find my way into a career. I don't have the "this is the title of the thing I want to do" figured out yet. But I know who I am and the direction I want to go.

And so I've been making some updates, behind the scenes on the blog, that I wanted to point out to you. I've updated my blog about page and created separate pages for my personal biography and vocational biography.

My vocational biography is about my work till this point. And I've framed and highlighted that work thinking about the direction I want to move.

For example, homemaking has featuring heavily in my work over the past two decades and if the direction I wanted to go was "home industry" based I would highlight more of my domestic interests. That's not where I'm aiming, but it is where I've been, so I've highlighted those things I want to carry forward with me, specifically in statements like this:

I write, teach, think about, talk about, and take care of things related to human wellbeing in personal, familial, community, and educational contexts.

My personal biography is a page about me personally. Who I am. What (and who) I love. Where I'm from. That kind of thing. This type of content used to be on my blog About page but it's become it's own entity because I had a lot to write about who I am, separate from what my blog is about.

In this personal biography I describe different things about myself, including my dreams, personal history, and one of the most defining characteristics of my adult life - living in the North American east as a western-orientated person. It's complicated and needs more than a section on a blog page to explain. But it's a thing for me and a constant tension in my life.

My blog about page is exactly what it is: a page about my blog, which I describe these days as a spiritually aware, intellectually curious, and wholehearted memoirist lifestyle blog.

My blog has gone through many phases and iterations as my family has grown, and as I've changed and grown and developed new interests. Fundamentally, I blog about what's going on in my life. And the ideas I'm pondering in the context of my lived experience.

If you are new-ish to my writing, or if you want to take a walk down blog memory lane you can read the story of my blog, through the years, on the about page.

Writing and updating those pages was a thing I needed to do as I move forward in my life. That writing helped me summarize important experiences from my past, specifically those in the blogging period of my life which is the last 15 years (35% of my life, 60% of my adult life). It helped me close chapters and say goodbye to old ages and stages of self and family life. And it's helped define who I am now and the direction I'm going.

So I just wanted to let you know about these blog pages to read them if you like. My blog pages don't get posted to the blog feed and are therefore kind of invisible unless you explore the blog menu or have a direct link to the page. You also can't comment on these pages but you can always send me an email to renee at tougas dot net or on my contact form.

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A late summer rain

A late summer rain

They'll choose, and are choosing, their own path as adults. But we chose their childhoods, in the same way every parent does.

Wrapping things up

Wrapping things up

On these late summer days, as blackening red drupes weigh down the chokecherry boughs and the pears hang like pendants on the neighbor's tree, everything ripening and suspended, it feels like a holding year. Waiting for next thing to start, but knowing we won't get there till we finish this first.

It's not the same, so now what? (an anniversary post, part 2)

It's not the same, so now what? (an anniversary post, part 2)

This is the kind of marriage I celebrate on our 23rd anniversary. One that grows and changes. Where a life is built, and children are raised, dreams are cast and pursued, and sometimes abandoned.

It's not the same, so now what? (an anniversary post, part 1)

It's not the same, so now what? (an anniversary post, part 1)

Hopeful energy, inspired by dreaming about our future, that was in short supply for those post-crisis years in our marriage. Even though realizing previous dreams had cracked open our marriage and brought about significant pain in our relationship, I missed having them.

Learning all the time, mid-life transitions, and outdoor-living in Vermont

Learning all the time, mid-life transitions, and outdoor-living in Vermont

This is an interview where we're challenged to ask questions about the status quo - in society, in schooling, and our own lives. We're shown the courage of stepping into new opportunities and adventures, by necessity, and encouraged to trust in our ability to learn what we need to know, when we need to know it.

As we finish homeschooling 3 kids through high school

As we finish homeschooling 3 kids through high school

I don't have the same sparkly idealism. (It's fun! It's easy!) What I have instead is years of experience that have confirmed what was once just theory - it's possible to do something different with education and to build the kind of relationships I envisioned for family life.