Tuesday, September 3

BTS in the Empty Nest

I don't think I ever graduated from that back-to-school "BTS" feeling ... you know how every Fall it seems like there's a brand new start to life?  It's an even stronger feeling than on New Year's Eve for some reason, at least for me.  BTS is the beginning of a new year, at least in my book.

This year is a very different BTS for me, on a variety of levels.  It's an entirely New Year for sure.

I'm teaching the second semester of my NYU graduate class, all about Product and Brand Management.  It starts tonight, and I'm thrilled to be teaching it again.  It'll run all semester.  It really is back to the classroom for sure, which is a different way to celebrate BTS.  I'm loving it.

Even more importantly, this is my first BTS as an empty nester.  Wow.  My daughter started her junior year at Penn State, and my son started his freshman year at IUP.  I'm so excited for both of them as they live their lives and grow towards their life goals.  I'm loving it.

But for me, admittedly, it's very strange.  We didn't have the run to Staples to gather new backpacks and school supplies.  No first day of school sign to wish them well at the bus stop.  No bag lunches with hidden messages written with a Sharpie.  None of that.  They'd kill me if I did that now.

Just an empty nest.

Now it's not that I'm having separation issues, really, because I don't think I am.  I am thrilled for them.  It's just so different.  Twenty years of taking care of kids - and getting ready for BTS - is just hard to change overnight.  I'm not worrying about their whereabouts, nor am I thinking about how we'll get dinner tonight with so much going on.  It's just weird, that's all.

So while BTS is a time for change, I wasn't quite ready for this year's version.  You'd think after twenty years I would have been.

Thankfully, I've got plenty of work and an NYU class waiting for me!

Good luck with all your BTS and your New Year!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

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