There is no progress without pain I recently read. Immediately I reject the validity of this statement, but history holds many examples to prove it’s truth.

Currently, my life is full of choices and transition. Progress insists that my children, now young adults, leave home to pursue their dreams. At the same time, I am left for the first time in two decades with choices that are mine alone. On many fronts this is good news. I woke this morning thinking I do not have to do anything I do not wish to do. The obligations of marriage and early motherhood are behind me now. I am free. Freedom looks better when capitalized. It insists on boldness. I’m slowly getting comfortable with the idea that I will have more freedom than ever before.

Having a rare day off, I spend my morning planting flowers, and then in the early afternoon, I trim my spectacular Meyer lemon tree. As I cut the fragrant branches, I reflect on the twelve years I spent lovingly cultivating it. The tree took four years to bare fruit, now providing my family and many of my friends with lemons year round. I’ve been cultivating my business in the same way. Slowly developing my knowledge and my skill and watching it grow.

I’m also teaching language arts. It’s play based and we play games while learning. Many of the games have a money element. It’s easy to see the executive functioning of a child by how they organize their money. For many years, I didn’t care about money. My husband handled that. That changed after my husband died and I became solely responsible for my two daughters. Now, I remind the children to pay attention to their money, count it, and keep it organized. I watch as they put it in neat colorful stacks with their small hands.

I’m reorganizing my work, my time, and my money. I’m capitalizing on my assets and calculating the pros and cons of each decision I make both economically and emotionally.

I’ve discovered that in order to make the progress I am seeking there are painful choices to be made. In order to gain something new something will be lost.

While looking at my options, I stop and try to put myself in Corvallis on the day I leave my youngest daughter behind. Because Oregon State University is my alma-mater it doesn’t take too much imagination to picture the two of us saying goodbye on that familiar street beneath the oak trees in front of her red brick dorm. It’s a reasonable guess that it will hurt like hell. Maybe not as painful as child birth, but a close second, and just as necessary.

Love and blessings.

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