What Matters Most, Empty Nesters?
For six years I have been speaking with parents across the country about the challenges of being an empty nester, including the revolving door.
I know we get sick of the word change and still that is inevitable. Books, articles, media, all say just do it, get on board for change now.
Parents are asked to change their roles with their children. It is a major life transition:
1. Dealing with health issues
2. Care taking parents
3. Re-entering the work world
4. Questioning all your relationships
5. Memories of past losses
7. Finding passion
8. Finding meaning
9. A community of like minded people.
What matters across the board is having an ongoing healthy adult relationship with their children and finding new meaning in life. Old habits shed slowly. Finding new passion, staying healthy, making new friendships, and practicing some form of spiritual connection is a trial and error process.
Key in change is to remind yourself, YOU GET TO CHANGE YOUR MIND. You earned the right. A fear arises that IT will be the wrong choice or you are trapped. Not true.
Little steps stick more confidence to you than big leaps.
- Make a list of compliments you have heard people say about you over the years.
- Make a new list of what you could do all day long.
- Make another list of what you know you are good at doing even if you don’t love it.
- Reach back in your memories by getting quiet to what you loved doing before children.
Read your list out loud with no one in the room but you and notice what on the list gets your attention. Write that down or circle it.
I found my dormant writer from third grade after my daughter left for college. I can write the rest of my life so that is vibrant and meaningful for me. Choosing something doesn’t mean it has to be for the rest of your life. Choose for now.
I forgot about my younger self and the stories she wrote in third grade until I quietly walked, sat outside and in with closed eyes, breathing from my belly. I heard my teacher say, “Natalie, you could be a writer if you want to. Your stories are really funny and interesting.”
I did some preparation for the empty nest and in reality it didn’t become real until after the BIG HUG goodbye at the dorm. I flew three thousand miles, alone, back home. Alone is a common feeling, mostly seeded from the sense that you are alone with this feeling because you are unique in what it feels like for you, not meaning you are alone and there is no support.
I have heard thousands of stories and actually each is different and all connected. Parents want to continue being a positive role model, let go, and begin gently to focus on themselves by getting nurtured and unfolding what nurtures and lifts them.
In our workshops and circles we can’t talk about those ideas enough. It is an eerie feeling, disorienting at times, since you have no school schedule on the refrigerator nor do you have a child calling out to you from their bedroom.
What are you struggling with in this new cycle of life?
What fun has surprised you?
I know we do better with a hand to hold.
Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website that includes a free message forum of wonderful parents, stories, blogs, articles, and more. www.emptynestsupport.com
- Look under EVENTS and join us at the October Retreat and Spa
- Call for a private telephone consultation
- Invite me to come speak in your community.
- Empty Nest Support Services helps parents make changes to build a life beyond parenting. Once a parent, always a parent, but change happens. Changes that include new roles with your children, new meaning at this stage of life, and building a new community of like people.
Happy Times outside in the burst of Spring,
800 446 3310