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!