Is anyone on the East Coast not talking about the emergence of Brood X from their underground home of 17 years? I remember the last major “invasion,” in 2004. Facebook had just launched, but no one was sharing photos of their kids playing with cicadas or recipes for cooking them (just …no.) I remember being worried about encountering huge swarms of the large flying insects, but I usually only saw them on the sidewalks after they had died.
Back then, I was working 10- to 11-hour days at a DC law firm, commuting 2–3 hours, and rushing home to make dinner and co-parent my 18-month-old daughter. I would put her to bed and log back into my firm’s VPN. I was tired and stressed out most days, but I made it work with the help of coffee at the office and wine on the weekends.
But then a few years later, my immune system shut down. I realized that if I did not change my lifestyle, I might not see my daughter grow up. I researched career options, quit my job, and went into business for myself through a franchise because I needed to know that I could replace my income in 2–3 years.
Now I make my own hours, earn more money, pay a lower effective tax rate, and have significantly more money saved for retirement plus a business to sell one day. More importantly, for the past 11 years, I have been doing meaningful work and have rarely experienced work-related stress. And as a bonus, I have been able to travel extensively and spend a lot of quality time with my daughter.
17 years seems like a lifetime ago. My daughter is now 18 years old and getting ready to emerge from her own nest and fly. High school graduation is less than two weeks away. Like Brood X, she now has the ability and the confidence to go out into the world and make things happen.
Here’s to making the most of the next 17.