Gen X’s (Least?) Favorite Bird

If you are 40/50 “something” these birds might keep you up at night. 

I can guarantee that these birds are frequent topics of conversation – or at least I hope they are.

When it is an egg, we worry and fret about it.  It is slow to grow, and seems like it will never mature. 

When it is starting to fly, growth and change are happening all too fast, and we are not ready for it to fly away. This bird is annoying and frightening at times, and yet, when it is gone, we miss it.

What is this dreaded bird?

First, I have to confess that the description above is about two different birds, but they are, at least metaphorically, related.  Ironically one stays forever in the embryonic stage: we call it the Nest Egg. This is the bird we want to grow fast and keep growing.  When we reach the stage of life where we are ready to crack this egg open, we hope and pray that it will provide a life-sized omelet.

The other bird is our child(ren).  We love and educate and pour our energy into them.  Sometimes we lose sleep worrying about them. We grow them as best we can.  Sometimes we are ready to wring their necks, and sometimes we really admiring the impressive young adult they are turning into.  Then, “all of the sudden,” it is time for those birds to leave the nest.  Then we enter “the empty nest.”

What on earth do these “birds” have in common?

The Nest!  The nest represents the couple that have invested their lives together.  Two people who have devoted time and effort to many things, including two very important tasks: making and saving money for retirement, and raising a family.  As the children grow and become independent, there is an emptiness that cannot be filled with any amount of saved money and the things it can buy.

As you evaluate your nest, regardless of what stage of development your birds are in, hopefully you have developed a habit of teamwork: nurturing both the nest and your “birds.”  Some people pour all their energy into the children, and when they have grown and “left the nest” the couple are strangers.  Some people save and scrimp and build that egg, only to have one of them die and never enjoy that egg.  So, I want to challenge and encourage you; however big your egg, whatever stage of development your children are in:

– pay attention to those two birds, but focus on the NEST!

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