Now that the kiddos have graduated high school or college, you may be experiencing the loneliness of Empty Nest Syndrome after the “nest’s” residents launch and venture out into the world. That being said, you, the nest’s builder, will be feeling utterly lost and a bit useless.
As a mid-life Baby Boomer whose daughters are now in their mid 20s, I can tell you that the first 30 days after your child moves out are probably the hardest. You, your spouse or significant other will have absolutely nothing to talk about, as for nearly two decades, the majority of your conversations were about your prodigy. You’ll graduate into a full-fledged depression after you realize that and more sad realizations will fill up your emotional quota.
There is a bright side, however, and you won’t be doomed to misery. You can make this happen by changing your outlook and attitude on things. This doesn’t mean that you have to necessarily force yourself to look on the bright side of things – you need to acknowledge that feeling of loss by being honest with yourself, and that feeling is only natural. Having experienced this, rest assured you’re not alone, as every parent feels somewhat lost when going through this (believe me) temporary dark road. Next, what’s important is that you must learn to move forward. You’ve successfully launched your kid, and in this day and age as well as challenging economic times, that’s no small achievement. You’ll now have more time for enjoying yourself as you’ve made it over the hurdle of household duties including laundry during the diapering years, trips to the ER for sports-related injuries, car-pooling to dancing lessons and school field trips.
Some parents feel selfish when they want to attend to their own needs because they are so accustomed to being caregivers to their families. You shouldn’t feel that indulging in your own needs after the child-rearing years are over is unhealthy, especially when Empty Nest Syndrome kicks in high gear. The fact that you are rediscovering yourself will help alleviate that depressing and lost feeling and will serve you well to remind yourself that you are capable of having other goals in your life. Flash-back and try to remember the dreams and aspirations you were thinking of when you were approximately the age your child is now.
Other options to consider to fill your time are going back to school to finish your degree or expand on your hobbies and interests. Before you ever had kids, what were your goals and dreams? Here’s the time to seize that opportunity and pursue them! The key to being active is to wake yourself up to the positive side of things. You may not be 18, or 20-something, but look inside yourself and you’ll probably find that there’s a lot of things you’re interested in. With more wisdom and life experience under your belt now, you’ll be able to go after them with gusto.
On the plus side, Empty Nest Syndrome isn’t something that you’ll have to face alone. It’s the perfect opportunity to rekindle the intimacy of your relationships not only with your partner, but with your friends. Use this time to put more fun back into your life. Seek out a life coach, mentor, professional or another Empty Nestor to keep your spirits in check and keep you positive.
Although these distractions may appear from the fact that you’re melancholy and a bit lonelier, consider that there are also ways to reclaim what you’ve forgotten about your inner self in the last 18 years. There’s much joy in self-discovery and reinventing yourself to fulfill your dreams that you’ve put aside to tender to the care and nurturing of those closest to you. Embrace these facts – at the end of each chapter, there’s always more to life, and another door opens.
Photo Credit: Stockxpert: molchunya
Bio: Cindi is the author of Moomette’s Magnificents where she offers WAHM, Product Reviews, Social Networking advice and personal musings and observations of a Baby Boomer Wife, Mom & Grandmother from New England. She also can be found at Moomettesgram’s Favorite Recipes. Follow Cindi on Twitter