Empty Nest : What The Heck Do I Do Now?
(Part One of Seven Parts)
You’ve just completed the most important task called on by any human being on this planet. The shear completion of this task gives some assurance that the human race continues. You have spent the last 18 plus years of your life worrying over, studying, experimenting, parlaying, growing, retching, laughing, lamenting, and ultimately throwing your hands up in the air, trying to do your very best to complete this task in a way that means something. In a way that honors everyone involved, and begs the best of them from this day forward.
You have raised another child unto the planet.
How does one ever follow that with a career or a next season, that even begins to barely touch the magnitude, or fill us with the same gratification? How does one go from a house full of loud, rowdy meaning and infinite fulfillment, to a room full of silence with no direction? How can we live with the “come-down” from a calling such as this when in a flash, it suddenly ceases to exist? How do we survive going from beautiful chaos every moment, to empty stillness?
You have done a good job. Given there are no manuals, you did the best you could with what you had at the moment, often making seemingly small snap decisions on the fly only to watch them grow into huge issues that come back to haunt you. Or are ultimately realized as life altering moments where the learning ran deep. Stop and take a moment to breathe. Take a deep breath and then pat yourself on the back. You survived, they survived, and here you are sending them off into the world with all provisions needed to be a functioning member of society.
You find you’ve been so wrapped up in preparing them for their future that you’ve neglected to prepare yourself for yours. And the truth is, you just graduated too, from parent hood, as you know it. From this day forward your role in their life and in your own, will be different.
And this brings into play the big scary word: change.
Having made it through raising and launching six children, I assure you that, although this change is not easy, it is beautiful on the other side. You will discover a new land of desires and dreams, buried so long you forgot their existence. They will begin to surface as time goes by and you will treat them with the esteem of a dear old friend showing up after too many years apart. Other unexpected things will begin to surface. You will slowly become accustomed to being able to answer social engagements “yes” without considering a plethora of different schedules, maneuvers, emotions, or considerations. You might get half way through a magazine article, lay it down, and find two days later, without having to track it down; it is still in the same spot untouched.
Over the next six Blog Posts I will help you navigate this bittersweet time in your life, this letting go of what was then and claiming what is now. We will do this together you and I, for having just finished a stellar career of the highest calling, friend support is of the utmost importance. In the next blog we’ll talk about one of the things that disappeared first, in such a subtle process that you may not realize the impact it has had on your life: your identity.
Who are you, not as a parent?
Next in the Empty Nest Series:
Part Five – Being Ok With Not Being Needed
Part Six – How to become a Frienarent (Friend Parent)
Part Seven – What’s In Your Next Season?