Coping With Empty Nest Syndrome
A long time ago, in a life you barely remember, you probably had goals and dreams and aspirations and desires that you’ve either shelved or forgotten. It’s hard to remember back to that time, before those glorious nine months of pregnancy, the subsequent agony of childbirth and the momentous first day of the rest of your life; the day you brought your first bundle of joy home from the hospital.
Most parents tell their soon to be counterparts, "it’s like nothing you can imagine" and "you won’t remember what life was like before they came along" and these are very true statements. Children have a way of changing your life, redirecting your goals, bringing about wants and desires you didn’t know you had. Then they leave. This is the inherent sadness of "empty nest syndrome." It isn’t how much you miss them, it’s that you’ve forgotten who you were without them.
As frightening as this life change is, try not to fear it, prepare for it just like you did when you first learned you were pregnant. Dig deep, evaluate your life and look for those things that will help you make the most out of your newly empty nest.
Are your hobbies more lucrative than you think? A lot of moms and dads turn their youthful hobbies into things that are beneficial for the family. Now that the equation has changed, the allure of these hobbies can lose their luster. Do you love to sew? Are you an amateur gardener? Do you love to bake or are you a fabulous cook? Marketed well, you could turn these hobbies into new career opportunities!
Did you ever complain about not having enough time? As a busy parent, you probably sacrificed many of the things you wanted to do. Now that you have the time, take up those hobbies again. As a 20-something you probably had many hobbies that?you have subsequently given up. Did you work out every day? Join a gym and rediscover why! Did you take ceramics classes or were you partial to self help seminars? Rediscovering what you used to love, will help you rediscover yourself and bring new people and new relationships into your life.
Literally make the most of your new empty nest! Ok, you may not want to touch your children’s rooms right now, especially if they are off to college and are still using them on a part time basis, but the rest of the house is fair game! Did you ever dream of a hot tub but couldn’t justify it? If it fits within your new financial reality, indulge! Have you been waiting to buy new furniture, go for it!
As parents we often let guilt overwhelm us. Eighteen years, or more if you have multiple children, is a long time! Now that life is changing, it is so easy to fall into depression, but resist the urge. You never thought for more than a split second that doing whatever was necessary for your children was the right thing, and they and the rest of the people in your life won’t think for a split second that you aren’t sad enough or depressed enough if you start doing things for yourself now!