Where did all my friends go?
That's a question so many Empty Nesters ask me. This is a tough one for some. A liberating one for others.
So what happened? One day you were with these friends all the time. You were sitting in the bleachers cheering on the high school football team. Or sitting in the audience of the latest high school musical. You were texting every day about what time practice started or what was going on with that testing schedule.
One day, your kids' high school sports/theatrical/academic career ends.
You are no longer in touch with the people who you called friends (aka, the parents of your kids' friends).
We call these friendships, "friends of convenience." You met them and saw them all the time because of your kids. The things you had in common were your kids and your kids' activities.
So now what do you do?
Making friends at your age is EASY. Really. It's not like when YOU were in high school and there was all that drama! Crap, I would never want to go back there and do that again!
Now you have the chance to get out there and meet friends who share your interests, passions, purposes. So get out there and do the things you want/love to do. It doesn't matter what it is... A book club at the library? A spin class at the gym? Volunteering at your church? Finally starting your own business? What is it for you? A whole new world is about to open up to you. And it's a world that you can design. What's your new purpose now that your kids are on their own and starting their adult lives?
Here's your exercise for the week. Get a piece of paper and write down your response.
Pretend it's one year from today. Whatever that date is, I want you to pretend you and I meet on that day.
I ask you, "How was your year?"
You start by saying, "It was the best year of my life!!
Me: "Tell me about it."
You: (on the piece of paper in front of you, right down everything you DID that made this the perfect year. Make sure you're telling me about it as if it was one year from now and you just had the best year of your life).
When you're finished, you will see in front of you GOALS. Things to make happen this year. It's time to get going and create your best year yet!
For more great things like this, join my next online workshop for Empty Nesters. Get all the details at https://gettingunstuckinastickyworld.com/workshops
Next week: Those adults who are still your children....
I've been coaching empty nesters and I'm discovering some fascinating things.
Emotions of moms and dads whose kids are now off in college or married range from joy to grief, from excitement to complete confusion. Identities are not in crisis so much as they are in a shift. This is a transition every parent knows is coming, but very few prepare for.
I had a potential client who told me that they didn't need my coaching because, "I've got my career. My kids moving out isn't going to be a big deal." Then I asked her, "What do dinners looked like. What would weekends be like? How about vacations? Do you have a lot of friends outside of the friends of convenience and the shared experiences of sporting events or other extra curricular activities? Have you considered what you want your relationship with your ADULT children to be like? Do you and your husband do things without the kids now?"
Needless to say, that person is a client now.
If you're not an empty nester yet, I ask you to think about things like that now. This transition can be an exciting one for your kids AND for you. You've got a whole new chapter ....heck, a whole new BOOK to write. Trust me, the best years of your life are not in your rear view mirror back there in your 20s and 30s. Trust me, They absolutely are not.
What do you want to do now? It's time to rediscover your identity and find a new purpose.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be going over some of the top things for you to think about and giving you some action steps to take.
Here's the first one.
Go through the stages of your life...say your childhood, your early school days, high school, college and early adulthood. For each of those stages, identify and write down one of the things that brought you joy. I don't care what it was, as long as you were joyful when you were doing it or being present with it. (It could be making mud pies when you were three!)
What does your list look like? I'm asking because if things once brought you joy, chances are extremely good that those same kind of things always will. Now, I'm not saying you'll still be joyful making mud pies, but that activity could've turned into baking or doing some sort of crafts or working with your hands. These activities just may be something you should consider picking up again!
Your nest is not empty, my friends, you're still there. Make the most of it.
I'll be back next week, with more things to think about!