by Linda Mitchell, CPC & Reinvention Expert
What's Next for the Empty Nester?
The reality has settled in, your youngest moved out a few months ago (for some it will be January). It's really hitting you now - you're an empty nester! Feelings of loneliness, sadness, loss of purpose, or fear are not unusual. Do you find yourself wondering, "What now?"
Raising children is both an amazing challenge and a beautiful gift. For at least 18 years, you've loved, sacrificed, nurtured, and molded them. You've had to find new skills, resources, methods of diplomacy, patience, and awareness, while always honoring who they are as individuals. You've been there to help with homework, rush out to buy those last minute supplies, cheer at games and recitals, nurture them through challenges and heartaches, and watch them grow and mature into amazing, talented, young adults.
You've given them solid roots, but giving them wings is proving to be much more difficult than expected! They're now independent - forging out into the world to find and follow their own passion and purpose. Well done! Congratulations! After all, this was the end goal.
But now what? How do you send them off without falling apart and wondering if a piece of you didn't move out with them? Where does this transition leave you?
Watching my own children move out was both heart wrenching and exciting. I gave myself permission to really feel all the emotions and cry whenever I needed to. Then, I allowed myself time to reflect on what was next for me. I learned a lot about the process of transition and created roadmaps to successfully get through it all.
First, it's important to take the time to celebrate the monumental successes you have accomplished so far, including raising your children, balancing your work and home life, and juggling all other commitments. This was no small feat!
Next, recognize that you're probably overdue for a breather, so make a little time for yourself to recharge your batteries. Reconnect with yourself, other important relationships in your life, and take some time to reflect on what your next significant contribution will be. Will you finally learn to play an instrument or create and sell you own beautiful artwork? Will you be volunteering at a shelter or pursuing a dream you've put on hold for many years?
The options are plentiful! It's normal to be confused, overwhelmed, or stuck and feel you need some guidance. Life transitions don't have to be stressful; they present incredible opportunities for self-discovery. It's the perfect time to take stock of where you are, all you've accomplished, and discover the things that will make you feel fulfilled moving forward.
Linda Mitchell, Board Certified Professional Coach, Reinvention Expert and founder of Living Inspired Coaching has been coaching and practicing for over 20 years operating from a deep desire to help people move through life's challenges and transitions with more ease and grace, less anxiety and stress. Her unique "Reinvention Program" helps people who are stuck, in pain or ready for change to reclaim balance, better health and gain clarity on their next meaningful role with more purpose, fulfillment confidence and Ease. Connect with her at [email protected]