Your children are back to school and in their routine, how are you unfolding your blank sheet of a day and night?
Parents tell me they are uncomfortable sharing that information. They feel embarrassed that:
1. They aren't motivated.
2. They want ideas of how to have meaning in a day.
3. Jobs aren't fulfilling but necessary
4. They have ideas but that is as far as they go.
5. They are confused about their feelings.
6. It's cold and an effort to get out the door.
7. They aren't sad but not really happy.
8. They feel left out of the outer world vitality.
What would you add to the embarrassing list?
New Year, new beginnings, new goals, but I require that you let your inner critic know you are not interested in hearing her/him right now. Truth is, you can't kill or get rid of the inner critic. You can hear that naggy voice and quiet her/him sooner by saying to yourself, thanks for sharing. I got this right now. You can go.
Empty nesters are pioneers. They heal, explore, take action, change their mind, get nurtured, relax.
GOALS, MOTIVATION, PERSEVERANCE, COMPASSION AREN'T ENOUGH.
WE NEED SUPPORT. We need a tribe.
We need our community. We need connection.
The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.
I called my friend, Kate, and said let's start our day with an email or short telephone check in to say what is on our need, want, must do, fun list for the day/night. At the end of the day/night, let's check in for another connection. We will support and be accountable to each other. We love that it costs nothing.
Having one person to hear you and respond to you does make a difference in happiness and fulfillment.
If you can't think of someone , use the empty nest support free message board.
Start a journal just for you...sacred space for feelings and ideas and thoughts. Doodle on the pages.
If you want to write a story, commit to one page a day and soon you will have chapters that you can email to a friend to read for feedback.
Take a photo of a project you are working on like knitting and email that photo to a friend.
Make that list of what you do want to keep doing this year as well as what you want to add. Please be realistic with who you are and what is happening in your life today.
Over and over, the people I speak with talk about how they don't feel much joy or fun in their week and THEY WANT IT.
It does get a little more challenging to get motivated as the years climb up the ladder, but that does not mean it is out of reach. Make fun and happiness a priority on your list. I know habits and demands fill up a day, so schedule some fun and write it by your computer and calendar. One of my friends is adding piano lessons, again, to her list. She took five lessons and then didn't keep it going at home. We all can relate to that story.
You are an adult and you get to start over without sitting in time out.
I like the news in the evening, but I also turn it off. I don't have to hear it everyday because we all know that affects us. Turn on music while you cook dinner. Place that library book with your glasses and water in the den and cuddle under a blanket as you read something that entertains you. Keep a quotation book by your computer.
You know so much about what matters to you and what you want. You just get discouraged, so ask for help. Let yourself be a beginner. You don't have to be an expert.
I am looking forward to knowing myself better this year...the challenging parts of me and the gifts I have and share. I continue to keep my expectations in check and practice being present with this moment and with what is available today.
Hope has been a lifetime strength of mine and so many times I have to call upon it. It is my middle name since birth. Natalie Hope Caine.
Write your name. Then write everything you love about yourself and are proud about the life you have lived. What have people commented about you over the years. What dreams softly sit on your shoulder? What difference would you like to make in this precious world? Is it committing to smiling when you are in the market so people see that light of hope? It doesn't have to be a big deal. It just is a little shift each day that ripples and unfolds into a more joyous life.
Stay connected. Stay sweet to yourself and others .
Happy, Healthy New Year,
Natalie Caine, M.A.
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