Empty Nest Syndrome

Our wonderful contributing editor, Sally Edelstein, adds more reverie to the thoughts on today’s graduates:


Thoughts in a Mothers Eye -Vintage Gruen Watches Ad 1945

To the click of camera shutters and the ring of stirring oratory, hundreds of thousands of students have stepped forward this spring to receive diplomas from the colleges and universities of our vast country, thus marking an age-old rite of passage into the American Dream.

Amidst the ivy-covered towers of venerable universities, that familiar ritual characterized by cheers and tears has been repeated for generations.

Like many parents of past generations, today’s teary eyed baby boomers are gripped with a host of feelings – sadness, depression, grief and worry. But for today’s parent their constellation of feelings is less about the loss of their child moving on as the fading dream of their own retirement.

Ever the ground-breakers, boomer parents are gripped by a new condition-empty nest syndrome.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Visions of that dream retirement home deep in the blue mountains of Asheville, North Carolina get dimmer with each day as savings are slowly dwindling between supporting their adult children and aging parents.

As more boomerang kids live at home due to the bleak job market, and the elderly life expectancy is ever-increasing, feathering the boomers nest egg becomes an impossibility, as much as an outmoded pipe dream as that high paying job is for their kid.

Sandwiched between the millenials and the greatest generation, baby boomers may soon go bust.

Now that’s something to get teary over.


Advice to Graduates

Yesterday as I traveled through our small town I saw a multitude of graduates, in caps and gowns, gathered with family and friends taking group pictures, selfies and generally congratulating each other for having survived four years of “education.”  The university in our area is part of the SUNY system – State University of New York at _________________, fill in location blank as there a multitude of SUNY’s across NY. In fact it is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States.

Today, the bittersweet vision of U-hauls filled with the possessions of our temporary residents were scattered all about town. These graduates full of hope and promise in anticipation of the real start of their lives.

To salute these graduates I share an article that was in the Spring issue of Our USA Magazine. Bill Watterson who gave this speech in 1995 at Kenyon College, concluded it by echoing Rilke: “Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself.” (Click on images to enlarge).

Advice to Graduates #1

Advice to Graduates #2

This is from a speech delivered at a commencement at Kenyon college in 1995, by artist Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbs. The cartoon is actually a tribute by cartoonist Gavin Aung Than.

Help give Americans a fair shot at getting out from under the burden of student loan debt.”