Rarely has there been a year when our family has celebrated so many milestones and major events–
Our oldest (and only daughter) graduating from college and accepting an incredible two-year fellows position 1,500 miles from home.
Our youngest graduating from high school and going away to college.
Our middle son turning 21. Something about – everything about – that age means so much.
My husband and I becoming official empty nesters.
Not to mention the intricacies of life no one needs to know about; because even in this culture where there’s a bizarre compulsion to tweet, gram, scope or stream Too Much Information on a regular basis, some things are better served and reserved as Personal Matters. Sometimes what happens in a person’s life is none of my or your business. I think we forget that, what with all the opportunities for oversharing.
It takes one to know one, yes?
Anyway, what most of you precious blog readers of mine can’t possibly know is I’ve had a job for a few years with a company called GO GROUND. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it in this space or even as a social share. GO GROUND, a ground transportation logistics manager, is a young company beginning its fifth year as I begin my third. My role for the first two years was solely related to collegiate travel during the championships for fall, winter and spring sports. It has been short-term and seasonal, lasting about 6-8 weeks during each championship. An intense 6-8 weeks.
I’m proud to say I’ve worked with several national champions for Division 1, 2 and 3 schools, in mens and womens’ sports ranging from lacrosse to softball, volleyball to basketball. It’s fast and furious, and I’ve learned that March Madness is, indeed, a road to insanity.
In addition to serving as the NCAA’s exclusive ground transportation travel partner, GO GROUND also manages special events. We’ve just concluded work with the World Meeting of Families, which might not mean ring a bell to those who aren’t Catholic, but pretty much everyone will know who brought its closing remarks: Pope Francis. The World Meeting of Families is what brought the Pontiff to Philadelphia.
GO GROUND handled logistics primarily for those traveling by chartered bus to Philadelphia for the Papal visit. Mine was a dual role for the event: account coordinator working with bus operators and groups attending the event, and director of communications to the motor coach industry.
The Department of Homeland Security designated the WMOF as a “national special security event.” As such, extensive measures were put into place to assure the safety of all pilgrims and officials in attendance. Until you work with an event of this historic magnitude, you cannot imagine the intricate detail and planning that must take place. In addition to WMOF officials, GO GROUND worked with Homeland Security, the Secret Service, local and state law enforcement, local and regional transit authorities, departments of transportation in the tri-state area, and others.
My role began in June, the Papal weekend in Philly took place September 26th and 27th, and I’m still tying up a few loose ends before we close the World Meeting of Families book for good.
Did you notice the timing? I started working on this event within the month after my daughter graduating college and my son graduating high school. What began, by design, as a part-time position in June, had morphed into 30+ hours/week by August – right about the time we took my youngest to college. By Labor Day, I was at full-time hours, which happened to be the weekend we drove cross country to move my daughter into her new apartment, where she was to begin her fellowship.
Three weeks out, I worked almost 80 hours/week, and by the last week and week of the event, I was clocking around 100 hours/week.
Never have I been more thankful to be busy.
I simply didn’t have time to dwell on my children’s absence.
I tell you all that for the sake of sharing this: I learned an invaluable lesson through my experience that will serve those of you younger than me. Tuck this away until you need it:
Plan s o m e t h i n g that occupies space and time when you’re facing empty nest.
I wish I could claim the wisdom of intentionally throwing myself into an all-encompassing work role, but the reality is it fell in my lap. Regardless, I see its great value.
Writing is a wonderful, creative, and sometimes therapeutic outlet. But it’s done in isolation and I’m given too much time to live in my head. For me, that can be defeating and sometimes dangerous. My job with GO GROUND has been the perfect compliment to my skill set, flexible enough to allow me to continue writing (except the past few months…!), but busy when I needed it to be.
Even though I didn’t realize the need.
I’m beginning to see more clearly the value of simply living a lot of years.
Experience provides insight you can’t possibly understand until you live it.
It’s incumbent on me – of all of “us” a few years farther along the way than “you” – to share what we’ve learned.
It’s up to you whether or not you’re listening.
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