Parents have been emailing and calling with the natural reaction after hugging their children goodbye, “I can\’t believe how sad I am. Is this normal?” YES. Why wouldn\’t you be sad saying goodbye to someone you love?
I still go through those separation feelings when I hug goodbye and I have lots of experience with aloe Kleenex.
FIVE TIPS FOR EMPTY NESTERS:
PUT YOURSELF IN THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE. You have been devoted to your children.
BEGIN DEEPENING AND HEALING ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. Review ones you want to deepen, let go of, or make some shift.
ALLOW YOUR ADULT CHILDREN TO DEFINE THE TERMS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP IN THIS NEW ROLE. I know that idea is the biggest shocker. You will do better when you explore that idea in regards to how often they want to connect and how intimate do they want to be. Ask them.
FEEL WHATEVER YOU ARE FEELING AND FEEL THE FEELINGS WHENEVER THEY ARISE. Change has no timeline. Feelings will flood in as well as grieving what no longer will be the same.
INVITE A NEW LIFE, NOT ONE THAT IS CENTERED IN THE MOTHER OR FATHER ROLE AS BEFORE. Check out the arts, travel, careers, creativity, your intellect, health, spirituality, friendships, and finances. Have fun which sounds easy and at times isn\’t because you have been out of practice learning what is fun for you at this stage of life. Lots of choices. Try something and leave if you don\’t like it.
Empty nest is a major life transition filled with joys and challenges. Don\’t go through the journey alone. Treat yourself well. There is a whole new freedom and joy you never imagined.
Take good care,
Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.