College is over. High school is over. Faded memories for everyone. Summer weddings and new families joining.
Boot camp and service. Parents are asking me, now what? How do I have a good summer with my adult children and enjoy it when I know they will leave? Who am I?
Transitions will never end, so don't you think it helps to practice enjoying the life you have now? When you jump ahead what value is given to you?
Does it help you build a plan? Does it ask you how you are doing with trusting yourself and your adult children? Are you good at asking for help?
Are the feelings of sadness appearing to be more than you can handle? All might be true and this is NORMAL. Find support.
If I could grant a wish it would be let yourself feel whatever you are feeling and whenever they surface. Get support for this major life transition. Why would you go through the journey alone? This is why I created Empty Nest Support Services.
I have had parents share with me:
- I feel embarrassed and shame about these deep feelings of lose. After all, I will see my children again, just not like it was.
- No one wants to talk about empty nest? They think I need to get busy and on with my life.
- I get stuck because my friend's kids are doing great and mine might not stay in college. I feel like I failed.
- I spoiled my kids and now I am stuck with them at home.
- I want to study abroad and I am jealous of their life.
- I feel like I lost so much that I had. My children. My home. My marriage.
- Who am I?
- How do I make new friends at this stage of my life?
- I have no idea what I want to do with my free time?
- I am bored and feel no purpose but running errands and helping them solve problems when they call home.
- I don't know how to do my life when they come back home.
- I get resentful that they change the plans so often.
- I don't like their boyfriend/girlfriend, do I have to?
- I feel isolated.
- I just don't have the zest I had now that I am not a parent everyday.
- I am afraid they aren't street wise?
- I am single and just don't think I will ever meet anyone?
- I made mistakes and can't get over it.
- I don't like my kids right now.
I am sure you can add to this list. Empty Nest is a major life transition with a minimum of a road map.
Let yourself off the hook to gather answers NOW. Ask yourself questions:
- How well am I treating myself?
- Who do I trust?
- Do I like being outside, in a group, small gathering, going to a class, leadership role, observer, seeing movies, sports, the arts, etc.
- Do I want time to not commit to anything and feel good about that?
- What am I feeling right now? What do I need today?
There are many questions to jump start and be on an exploration. You are on a hunt.
This stage is not about filling up your time in order to feel better and yet for some that is fine because it works for them.
It is a grieving time for what will never be again and that you don't have forever anymore.
Loss magnifies other losses...friends who died, break ups, parents who died, loss of money, career.
Health issues emerge.
Caring for parents or special needs children gets louder.
You get depleted.
And it is also a new freedom and joy you just can't imagine yet. I and many others love this time of life. We have had years of practice. Use us for support. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know your family. You don't need to go day to day without someone to speak with or feel a connection that is real.
I can't tell you how many parents thought they would be just fine until the house got silent.
Some are amazed how the shift/role change has affected their life. Their head and heart haven't become best buds yet. Too much chatter and spinning.
Too much worry and regrets. Too much of NO answers, yet. Too much missing the life they had. Too much sitting alone.
ALL NORMAL. Painful and not forever.
You just hit a pot hole over and over when you want a guarantee. I for sure have hit that bump many times. Trust and enjoying the ride is a practice. We all fall down no matter how old we are, don't you think?
Let me know how I can help you. Be gentle with yourself. You have never been here before and it is an unraveling feeling at times. You miss people you love.
What isn't normal about that?
Email me, Natalie@emptynestsupport.com
Talk about your memories. Enjoy them. They are part of your life for always.
Take good care,
Los Angeles, CA