Real Talk: Midlife By Design

Ep. 10 | Empty-Nest A Dad's Perspective with Anthony Trucks

November 02, 2021 Ericka, Curator of Zest/ Anthony Trucks Season 1 Episode 10
Real Talk: Midlife By Design
Ep. 10 | Empty-Nest A Dad's Perspective with Anthony Trucks
Show Notes Transcript

Anthony's personal mission is to help others understand their past and present so they can shift their identity and elevate their life in business.

Anthony relishes the opportunity to give keynotes, professional trainings and workshops to teach and empower people to take control of their lives and unlock the potential and success that awaits. 

One of the greatest challenges as a parent is leaving your child for the first time on their chosen college campus.

Yes, you do this moment was coming and yet, you're still not fully ready to let go of those once chubby cheeks you come to love so much.

Oftentimes, the scenario is shared from the point of view of a nurturing mom.

But it's not plausible to think that I Dad doesn't have his own emotional moment in this transitional time too.

Stay connected with Anthony and find out more about his work with the quick, access links below:



We're inspired to become the #1 Resource for Midlife Women. Go get access to articles, expert insights and more at  The Zestful Movement 

Ericka  00:04

Midlife. What does it mean to you? I believe that midlife is a place to recognize, reprioritize and redefine your purpose. It's a place of new beginnings, new personal growth and new adventures. Midlife is a chance to release your outdated labels and begin designing your second like journey. How? With heart centered experts, tangible tools and a supportive community. Why? Because if not now, then when? Now that's real talk. I am Ericka, your host and Curator of Zest. Let's begin building our Midlife by Design together. If you're enjoying this content, please follow and share this podcast with someone you care about too, as it truly helps to keep that zesty energy flowing and visit where you'll find more resources cultivated for your midlife journey on health, relationships and more. Anthony's personal mission is to help others understand their past and present so they can shift their identity and elevate their life in business. Anthony relishes the opportunity to give keynotes, professional trainings and workshops to teach and empower people to take control of their lives and unlock the potential and success that awaits.  One of the greatest challenges as a parent is leaving your child for the first time on their chosen college campus. Yes, you do this moment was coming and yet, you're still not fully ready to let go of those once chubby cheeks you come to love so much. Oftentimes, the scenario is shared from the point of view of a nurturing mom. But it's not plausible to think that I Dad doesn't have his own emotional moment in this transitional time too. Today, our guest will be sharing his perspective about being one step closer to becoming an almost empty nester next fall. Anthony, welcome to Midlife by Design.


Anthony  02:05

Hey, thank you for having me. It is coming close. It's less than a year away. It's so creepy.


Ericka  02:10

I know. That's the thing. The time just rolls. So it's rolling. It's getting creepy. But what do you feel when you hear that word empty nest? What are your emotions immediately? And do you think they differ for your wife? Or are the...or the feelings about the same?


Anthony  02:25

I think the different feelings for sure there. It's interesting. I think the emptiness I still have twins, right? So I'm going to have my twins are 12 in the house, it'll definitely be a different dynamic because we're really tight knit family. So that'll definitely be out of the like, out of the norm so to speak. But realistically, it's not going to be an empty nest. But I do think that setting our oldest off which is you know, the guy's been he's been with us so stinking long. He's so I feel like he's been around longer. He's we've had him in our life longer than we've not have him in our life. Now. That makes sense. Because we have well, now almost, we're getting there. We're getting there. 20 years old and almost 40. So we're getting close to it. But yeah, no, he's it's a weird dynamic. I think the differences too, is like he is going to be of in the world. My wife, I think there'll be a difference in the nurturing like, you know, he's pretty much a man, you know, somewhat now he's going to the world and doing his thing. So there's a feeling of like she can't be, you know, Mama Bear, so to speak in the same capacity. For me, it's about I think it's more of like, is he prepared to be a man of the world that I'm in? Because he's now entering my world and I can oversee in the same way, you know, it's kind of the big thing. So that there is something to that, that difference, I think for sure of how a mom and a dad feels. Now maybe different dads feel different ways. I think that's gonna be commonplace, right? But for me, I do know that for me, it's this thing of like, have I prepared him to go in and be successful in the areas he's gonna go that he's unaware, he's gonna be faced with, you know, and in relationships and work and deal with bosses, or, you know, stupid roommates or teachers isn't like, like, he has to now manage those things on his own. He can get in insight for me, but I don't see him calling me to deal with all the things. So it's like, Have I prepared him? Or have I modeled for him best? How does


Ericka  04:04

So are you seeing it like a little bit of reflection of did I do a job well done? It's like that question coming up for you?


Anthony  04:10

Hasn't yet. Hasn’t a 100%. I think, I think so far I've have. I think it's a cool thing is I have. The feeling will be different for my wife, but I think I've done a pretty good job. He could be a little grittier. But I think, he will be fine.


Ericka  04:22

Well, gritty is something I think that comes with life experience in time. So you know, I think that's one of those things. So since you do feel that you and your wife have different perspectives on this big transition in your life, how are you supporting one another? Are you guys having those conversations? Are you sharing what's on your heart? Are you feeling like, hey, we have a whole year yet? We don't need to rush there quite yet.


Anthony  04:43

Yeah, not talking about it yet. We haven't actually gotten into it yet. So it's not going to be for awhile discussion. We're figuring out day by day.


Ericka  04:49

Okay, I know. Well, that's a little different for me. I'm curious about from your wife's perspective, because I know that when my daughter was a junior in high school, I started crying then. Because I was like, Oh no, my baby is leaving me. So I do think it's a little bit different about the things we think of and how we show up in this transition. So what are some actions that you guys are taking right now to maximize ... maximize the moments of his senior year? 


Anthony  05:12

You know, we do the same things we I don't think we operate literally any different. There's there's always the flow of we eat together as a family. He also doesn't go out. I don't know if it's the pandemic or just not the kind of guy but he just doesn't go anywhere. He's always here. So like his, his friends kind of come over like go to like, you know, the the little mall outdoor mall nearby. But besides that, he's here like, all the time. He's everyday and he's still at dinner. You know, it's, yeah, he's in the back playing his games and doing his homework him and he and my wife workout together. Like he's not he's not distant. So, but it's also how it's always been. Right? It's never been like a separate, you know, besides of we're divorced, but we got remarried. But besides that, we've always been a dialed unit. And so it does. No, I don't think it's anything different. It'll be a really big, like gaping hole when he's gone. We'll be like, alright, he's gone. And like, Oh!!! I think both feel that way. But right now. It's normal.


Ericka  06:02

So that's nice. So you're not creating any strange emotional burden on your son about him leaving next fall? It's just kind of steady Eddy. And things are rolling as they always do. Maybe you're feeling a little bit of apprehension of like the last, you know, first day of school, the last senior prom, the last, like, are those things coming up for you a little bit as the school years begun?


Anthony  06:23

Yeah, we take a picture. Well, my wife and I, we have the whole family take a picture before the before the first is one at the end of the last day of school. So like we're now at the last, first day who've done that. He doesn't do dances, they had like a back to school dance. And he he looks at the pictures of his buddies and laughs at him. He's like why would I do that.


Ericka  06:39

So it that like something he picked up from you, Anthony or from his mom?


Anthony  06:42

We went to all the dances. We have pictures of us going to all the dances. We don't even know why he doesn't want to go, but he's like, I don't care. He's like, almost go out there in the cold and dance with his people. I don't, it is just weird. I don't know, it's interesting. It just who he is.  He is the kind of guy who doesn't really care and, and, and I think and it's, and there are the feelings of the last things. But I think because we don't know where he's going yet it hasn't become real. Like, we don't know exactly where what college is going to or when so because of that, it's kind of not 100% real. But I think the moment that it's like you start framing up, like what cities to live in, and college you're going, then it's gonna start becoming really real. And we're gonna know in about the next four or five months.


Ericka  07:20

Okay? It's like every little set, it's almost I liken it sort of like when you find out you're pregnant, like you don't really know it's real until you have those initial moments that makes that connection. And then every step, it becomes more and more real. And there is definitely an excitement that comes with that. But there's also the apprehension of just the unknown. But it sounds like you and your family, because you're so steady in process that you guys are moving through this pretty well, overall. And what do you say that your twins are doing okay with the notion of like, Oh, my big brother could be leaving soon? Are they okay with that as well?


Anthony  07:52

Yeah, I think they were fine. I think we all stay in touch. I always have like a family text message thing going on. But I'm telling you, man, because it's never been separate like this. We're not going to know until he's gone.


Ericka  08:01

Yeah. So I felt like I felt like I'm gonna have to ask you this question when he leaves and then kind of see how it lands on you them, because I know for me, I was just a it was, she was never away from me. And I think that's why I became apprehensive too two years out. But I also think it was more about me and losing my identity as a mom versus her actually leaving. So maybe there's something to that as well. 


Anthony  08:25

Yeah maybe.


Ericka  08:26

Yeah, but with you and your family having such supportive relationships, they seem to be a key component to your family dynamics, are you kind of thinking about some things you're going to do to stay connected with your son when he's gone? Without cramping his college experience?


Anthony  08:41

Yeah, we'll do that we'll visit him a lot to be big piece of it. I also know that we are not going to have like no contact. I think first off I know my wife didn't text him every day. We always like, we're developing the habits now of like, we share memes back and forth and funny stuff on social and text message. And then every night we do this good day, bad day. At the dinner table we always sit down and say what's the good part of the day the bad part of the day. And so we'll probably end up doing, okay I kind of FaceTime him in, that would be a little bit weird we'll get your normalized. But I do, I told him like hey, bro every night I'm gonna text you G with a question, like GD with a question, BD with a question mark. So good day, bad day, like let me know how's it good day, but like, I want to keep that going. So he can be like, man, all my life every night, I've texted my parents good day, bad day. You have your little off day just traveling somewhere, right? But still pop it out there. But like, oh, I had this today or that today, but at least to keep the conversation going. So you don't you don't have like this absence of communication from your family. So I think that's going to be the the big thing that we progress into as he goes off into college.


Ericka  09:37

Well I love that too, because you're setting that foundation now. And maybe that's a big takeaway that parents can listen to you that are feeling a little more apprehensive, you have ,  and you know, you're in the same situation where your child is senior, so you have a whole year before you. So instead of being apprehensive why not take action? Put a plan into place that kind of lays the foundation of expectation, so when the transition happens, it's just how you exist. It's not a challenge and you're not wondering where they're at or why they don't respond because you've already fostered that type of relationship. So that's pretty powerful.


Anthony  10:08

That's the goal, man. You set the foundation and it's easy to transition. It's not weird. It's just normal.


Ericka  10:13

Yeah, do it now. Not later, because once they're out the door, then it's too hard to reel them back in. Right.


Anthony  10:19

When they get homesick. I think the homesick piece is the one that becomes the issues. They get homesick because they have no normalcy. So if you can avoid homesick and create that normalcy with something they're used to doing, I think now we're at some special. 


Ericka  10:30

Yeah, I think that's really powerful. And something that can start now, like right now. And even if the kid is a little bit resistant, it doesn't mean you can't lay that expectation in that foundation. So very key. So what are you most excited for your son to experience in his college years based on like, so you've had your moments? Where do you think it'll be similar for him? And just what are you excited for him to experience? First year out?


Anthony  10:52

Yeah, I want him to experience a heartbreak man, that'd be cool.


Ericka  10:55



Anthony  10:56

Sounds weird right?


Ericka  10:56

like specifically, like school related, sports related or relationship related?


Anthony  11:01

Um, relationship I want him to, because there's something that happens later on in life, when if you if you have hardships happen, and you haven't had hardship early, they happen when you have more responsibility and less rules. Like he, I just I want him to I want him to have hardship. I think there's something to having a difficult... I don't want to have like safety, emergency concern hardship. That's not what I'm talking about. But like, I need you to, like have like, dang, this sucks. How do I handle that? And then, you know, he could asked for some advice, and I give him advice, but he needs to do the work. Because for me, it's knowing that he's going to exit college and at some point be in the real-real world. It's like, it's that purgatory in between, like, I'm not at home, but I'm not quite in the world yet. So that's a place to learn the lessons to deal with, you know, weird friends and break it up. And you know, weird relationships and people lying and doing weird, people do stuff like this, right? So handle it now. So when you are in a marriage, or you're in a job, or you're in a business, that you have the skill sets, you aren't a child in an adult world, but an adult in an adult world.


Ericka  11:59

Right, I understand where you're going with that. That's a very interesting perspective. I don't think that's anything I would ever say. For either one of my children, neither daughter or son. So if you shared that, or have you shared that with your wife, and does she think, Anthony, that's strange? Or she like, yeah, I could totally see that now value in that as well.


Anthony  12:17

I think she can see why I would say it for sure. I have never shared it with her. But for sure she she would be like that sounds about right. Because I want my kids to be at a point where they, they really have to experience like the world. Because I mean, my biggest worry is kids going into a world that's going to be what the world is and  not having the tools to manage it. Because then also about legacy and lineage. I need I need my kids to be able to have that to pass on to my grandkids. 


Ericka  12:44



Anthony  12:45

 Weird. Like I look at it in a weird way. But I'm like, I need my grandkids to have that. And I can't have my grandkids have it if my kids don't have it. It's always this framing for me of realistically looking back and going, where can I make 100% sure that I'm like, I'm making life livable for my kids. I don't want to be hard on purpose for no reason, but I want to make sure they get moments where they're forced to have to navigate things and learn things, so that they become the better humans later on, they can pass it on.


Ericka  13:09

Exactly. And I think that's kind of where tenacity comes from, and where integrity comes from. And honestly, where your confidence comes from.  If you know, you can overcome challenging situations, and specifically, like you put your heart out there, it's not as received the way you want it to be, it gets broken, you have to put yourself back together. But part of that is having self value and knowing that, okay, this didn't work out. But that doesn't mean I'm a bad person or a non worthy person. So, I mean, those are good skill sets. I, I've just never heard them in the terms of saying that. I hope they have that experience. But I understand why you're saying it. It's just like, wow, that's not what I was thinking. But that's, that's very powerful. And I will even go as far as to say, I think that's a very dad line of thinking, because I think fathers are more about making sure their children survive and have the tools they need to thrive in the world. Where I think moms are more about nourishing them and encouraging them and and really, I don't want to say over protecting, but really not wanting them to get hurt. But like you say being hurt as part of the process and how you discover who you are and what you're capable of doing. So, yes, but definitely part of the journey. So for me going back to me, so you all look like you're really vibing well. I know it's a little early in the process. But overall, you guys seem to understand what's coming ahead, the things you want to happen ahead and you're creating the plan and working the plan. So that's brilliant. I think I had some of that. But I became so panicked about her leaving because of myself is like in that moment, I didn't realize that. But now that we're three years out, I realized it was really about me being panicked about like, well, what am I going to do now and where do I fit in now? And how can how can she be leaving at this moment? So what would be your advice to a parent who's an almost empty nester or a complete empty nester that's really having a challenging time. Like feeling stuck because they don't recognize their label anymore and they're truly having to shift. But they don't know how to and it's, it feels a little too overwhelming and scary.


Anthony  15:07

Yeah, well, I mean, first off, except that is going to happen. That's the big thing of it. I don't say that a facetious or playful, but like you have to accept, it's gonna happen. Because I think once you accept it's going to happen. It gets to the point where you start moving forward, and you go, okay, great, know what's gonna happen, I really gotta navigate this. Because when you don't, you don't want to look at it. It's like you never, you never solve or fix what you don't look at. So it's got this focus of let me take a look at this, right? The next part of it's to have a metaphor in your head that I think I explained, but I think it'll help people. Here's how I look at these things, we typically have this house of identity we have built. This house we have built, it's who we are now. And then whenever something like you know, we send a kid to college, or we lose a job, or whatever these things take place. What ends up happening is we get to this place where we're kicked out of the house. I built the identity of being mom and dad, and I take sports, all right, and that's the house of identity I built. And then they leave, and I can't live in that house anymore, because I can't do that anymore. So I'm, I'm homeless. And it's it's weird, but I want you to think about that. And what happens is people they get lost, when you know, they lose a job, they lose the career, they lose the business, whatever it is, like when we wake up and we can't do that thing. And when I say homeless, like sounds odd, but metaphorically think of what homeless people do, man. They drown out the pain. They, they try to get a little couple bucks to you know, get a place to stay, but they live in squalor. And they drink a bunch of alcohol, do drugs just dump stuff, right? And people whenever they have they get kicked out of the house? What do they do to kind of cope with the pain? Some of the same stuff? They're not actually homeless, but we do those kinds of things. And sounds like, well, how do you navigate? Well, we got to get to the metaphor thinking I got to build another house. Okay, I have to, like we


Ericka  16:43

That's good. I was gonna say so it really requires like, first awareness, acceptance, and then taking action in a new direction. 


Anthony  16:50

Yep.  100%. Because Because once you once you have this perspective of I gotta do something. Now you start doing the work, and that, to be honest, we're happiest in motion. Humans, we've got to be doing things. When we're not doing things, we don't feel like we are anything. It's so weird, then, like, we no matter what is we're doing. And so they say like time flies when you're having fun? 


Ericka  17:12

Yes, absolutely. 


Anthony  17:13

You're moving, you're doing something. And so when you feel like I can't do anything, you feel like you aren't anything. Right. So the idea is like, you got to get back into motion. What that means is you got to go build another house. Now that might mean building, you know, a new business, when the kids have gone and you got to allocate your time somewhere. It may mean picking up a hobby of, maybe you go cross country, snow skiing, I don't whatever, you do something it because yeah, you do nothing, then it gets to the point of just sucking. It just sucks.


Ericka  17:40

And on the flip side of that is your child's going to continue to grow, right. So with every passing year, they're going to go more and more into their own path and their own direction. And so we can't really sit around waiting in the house hoping they come back to fulfill what our needs are, or what we think our destiny was because it's moved on. So we have to move on with it too. Yeah, so very powerful. So I love that the big thing is, if you're worried about your kids leaving, create some little rituals now that will set a foundation to help keep that simple connection, no matter where the child goes. And if you're having a hard time be aware of it, accept it and take action with it. 


Anthony  18:17

Yeah, I like that. 


Ericka  18:18

Okay, I like that, too. That seems very doable. And I would also add on just being kind to yourself, because it's okay, to feel self sorrowful. It's okay, to you know, be a little sad, but it's all ending in the way that we understand it. But I think when you take those action steps that allows us to remember, it's something new and different as well. It doesn't mean it's ending, it's simply evolving. So I think that's important to keep that in mind too.


Anthony  18:42

Yeah, true.


Ericka  18:44

So how can listeners find out more about your offering offerings alchemy and become a part of your Shift Starter Community and what is the Shift Starter Community


Anthony  18:52

The Shift Starters.  The Shift Starters are  just, well it's a podcast, a daily podcast.  And Shift Starters are people who get up and start shift every day man.  They start their life, they start the day, they start with fire and with an intention of making shifts in their life to upgrade their their personality and human and identity. So they can elevate their life and so it's not a fit for everybody but it's a fit for the person that says, look where I'm at is not where I want to end. It's not the final place for me. Right the place I am at right now. I want to be more, do more, have more, experience more. Great, that's who shift starters are, and the offerings conversation for far down the road later. I always recommend people just come and hang out with me.  So you can find me on Instagram at AnthonyTrucks. You can actually, if you go to You can actually go and listen to my daily podcast or I just had a book come out if you go to you can actually go get the book, But that's it go hang out and then outside of that if you see something that tickles your fancy then go down the rabbit hole.


Ericka  19:47

Fantastic and it sounds like shifting is a good place to be if you're stuck in empty nest by the way.


Anthony  19:53

People that's the demographic. It's it's there's like sophomore and senior season you know. There's like I came out in my 20s did a thing then I'm like, I'm getting married, having kids, I want to do try new career something right? There's that season, and then you get to the back end at some point. And there's a couple in between. But the big one again happens in, man, back end of life. Kids are off. Looking like work might be done, I could retire possibly, or what does work look like without taxing kids around? Should I change? Right? And I'm like, that's the space people are in. That's where I really get to anchor down with people. Like, let's proactively plan this, you don't get to the back end and go, Oh, man, I did that wrong.


Ericka  20:29

Yeah, because there is no wrong if you have a plan. I think as long as you're moving forward, you're growing, you're learning and you're embracing where you're at, so you can make the most of it. That's that's kind of where you want to be, like I said, but like you say, the action and keep moving. And as long as we have action, and it's positive towards our goals and new destiny, well, then we're moving in the right direction. And honestly, I'll add on, I think that's important to continue to do as a parent, because just because our kids are out of the house doesn't mean they're not looking back to see like, okay, so how do I how would I navigate my 40s, 50s and 60s. I feel like we still have a responsibility to model that. So at least they have some touchstone of what that phase of their life could look like, when they get there themselves.


Anthony  21:07

You got a model it man, they are not going to do anything that that we don't teach them and show them how to do. That's it, I think I tell my son all the time, like, you're going to get to the point where you're far more intelligent to me, and I'm a smart guy, right? But there's gonna be a world that he enters into that I'm just not gonna like I am just going to know what no matter what it is, I just, I'm going to age past the point where I pay attention to social media. No, it's just gonna happen. But I said, don't ever question my wisdom, though. 


Ericka  21:33

Mm hmm. Absolutely. 


Anthony  21:35

If you can get that point of understanding like that, that you're going to get to a point where you're going to need me to help you at the level you're aspiring to, because I will have human wisdom. I will understand people and, and the individuals and like, there's always that that. But it comes with seasoning, it comes with going through life experiencing things, understanding humans, and then be able to give lessons. So I'm like, don't get to the point of ever shutting your mind off and going, you don't know about this new whiz bang thing called trigger two like, what is that? Like a cool son, but just realize that I'll spit some knowledge and will tell him at that moment. Don't think that you're too smart to take wisdom.


Ericka  22:08

Yes, those are also referred to as like soft skills. And I think sometimes you know, how we connect with people, how we listen to people, what we can exchange from one another by being truly present and being open hearted in that moment. And I think sometimes we can confuse knowledge, with soft skills and pretend like they don't matter. But they do. And I do think that's where the elderly come in, because they have lived a life and they have been through many seasons. And we can definitely learn from them. So I think it's brilliant you're planting that seed as well with your son about, hey, I will be valid, even if I don't know how to start your car, I still have things to share, right?


Anthony  22:47

Just breathe on your hand, and all of a sudden the car will start.


Ericka  22:50

I'm not ready for all that. I was born in 1973. And I really, really love pencil and paper. But you know what, we got to roll with time and make the most of it. But yeah, what we bring forward from those time periods are equally important when it comes to raising our child children and having an impact on their lives. So I think that is valuable information. So Anthony, final question. How do you define zest in your life?


Anthony  23:15

Zest is it's doing the things that that break the monotony.  Pattern interrupts.  You know, it's the things that are outside of what I'm currently doing things live in my life. It's the pattern interrupt that forces me to stop and go, Ooh, this is really different, and it feels good. And I think if you think about like, zest, like, my son makes these cookies with lemon zest, you know, like, he gets like, it's difficult, but you pop that lemon in there and it is like, ooh, pause and go. It's it's tasty, a little different, right? So it's what is that thing that stands out?


Ericka  23:44

I like that very much. And I think that's really something people can hone in on  with midlife.  We have to look for the things that stand out.  That give us that little different experience that makes the heart race a little bit and it just reminds us we're alive and we're engaged. So I like that. That's a great definition. Well, Anthony, thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective. Male perspective, Dad perspective about empty nest and letting our kids leave the home into the world. I think you shared some great knowledge, great tips, and I'm just grateful for your time and energy.


Anthony  24:16

Thank you.  Very welcome as well.


Ericka  24:24

I appreciate your presence and holding space for my passion of helping women rediscover the essence of who they are meant to be so they may live their life by chosen authenticity. If you enjoyed this episode, please like, subscribe and share with someone that could use a little zest in their life today. Keep the good energy going by following me Ericka Bell on Instagram and LinkedIn at TheZestfulMovement. You're invited to sign up for our weekly newsletter that will help you become a part of our Zesty Crew as you stay connected to the conversations. This will also allow you to gain access to some monthly special offerings created with you in mind. Go to  And until next time, please do keep it Zesty!