Empty Nest, Not Empty Life
During the day, you are so busy doing various things that it really doesn’t hit you until late at night: “I am alone.” It could be that your last offspring has left either to go away to college or to just start a new life, but either way, that little bundle of love is all grown up and on their own.
So, where does that leave you? Walking through quiet hallways, peeking into rooms once occupied by your son/daughter but now just filled with memories. Sometimes, it’s clothes still scattered everywhere, waiting for their owner to retrieve them. Other times, it’s stuffed animals, school trophies, and over-read books! Whatever the reason, you slowly close the door and sigh inwardly.
You can either lament their departure or throw your hands into the air and do a high-five with the kitchen walls. You’ve invested at least 18 years into them and now it’s your turn.
The question is—what’s next? The choice is yours!
If you’re married, then the decision is between you and your spouse or a significant other. If you are a single parent...the sky is the limit. It’s your choice, your decision, your opportunity. Since I like to write from personal experience, I will look at this newfound freedom through the eyes of a single/divorced parent.
Old Dreams Revisited
Maybe you wanted to be a dancer or a least take courses in creative dancing but just didn’t have the time because of family, career or personal emergencies. If your health doesn’t restrict you—give it a try. If it does, then explore modified versions of what you’ve always wanted to do.
Being a writer or an artist doesn’t require a lot of physical activity; just a little talent and a lot of desire. Desire can be a great motivator. Especially, when there is plenty of time available. This is true when a retired individual suffers empty nest for the second time. Yes, that individual returned to create mayhem in your life. You had almost forgot how nice it was when s/he was away until they returned.
Now, it looks as if their life has finally gotten back on even footing and they are willing to try it again. It can be sweeter the second time around.
If you are a first timer, there will be definite periods of adjustments. Divorced parents go through a series of adjustments: the separation, the legal aspects and the final decree. Add to this, the departure of a child into adulthood and there are bittersweet memories.
Regardless, you are on your own again. Time for self-discovery and self-renewal. If you feel that you can capture the spark you once had in that old ambition, then please pursuit it! Take that course, join that civic organization, sing in that choir—just make sure that it’s what your really want to do.
If you find that this is no longer your dream; why not try something altogether uniquely you?
Color My Future Bright
If you are retired, you are enjoying the best time of your life. You have a say in deciding your fate and couple that with the exit of a returning offspring and that’s total WOW! Don’t let it be a time of regret and remorse. Of course, you are going to miss them messing up your nicely cleaned kitchen. Yes, there is no longer a need to pick up dirty laundry, return empty dishes or turn off a TV that was left on all night. Is that really a bad thing?
Focus on your passion. Think of a color that you would never use. If you’ve always been a subtle, sophisticated black—go for a bold, sassy red! If a tranquil green is your forte, then make it a passionate pink! It’s your chance to do things differently.
This doesn’t mean that the transformation is going to be easy. When you have gotten into a routine; it can be a jolt to your system to change it. Sometimes, that’s what you need. Sitting or walking around the house thinking about the times when you looked forward to that individual coming in from work and sharing the events of the day may have been your high point. It’s okay to check up on them from time to time. Just remember how excited you were when you finally decided to live on your own terms! Well—you are doing it again!
© 2018 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS