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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Empty-Nest Chronicles: The Emotional Reveal

Empty Nest
Thirteen months have passed since my oldest went away to college. And next year this time my youngest will follow in his sister’s footsteps and also go off to college. My heart is filled with panic. 

“What am I going to do? What will be my reason for getting up every day and trekking it to the place that provides me financial stability?” These are the questions that I ask myself when I walk into my quiet home. 

There are days that I just lounge on the couch waiting for my son to come home to see if he’d like to go out to dinner, watch a movie, go shopping or just vibe to some new music I’ve wanted to share with him. “I already have plans with friends,” my son would tell me as he hustles upstairs to shower and change. It’s the most awkward feeling because I don’t know what to do with myself half of the time. 

I shoot a text of “I miss you” to my daughter. Then I wait. And wait some more. Only to get a reply, “I miss you too mommy,” several hours later. By the time her text came in I managed to catch up on all of my shows I DVR’d, write a blog post, edit some videos, make some calls to friends, scroll through social media feeds, write a couple of pages to my book, create a lineup for my podcast and sort through my closet to see what items I can donate. 

It sounds like I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy but to be honest, my mind is running around in circles trying to figure out what to do next.  I sit in silence and then I notice that my heart starts to fill with loneliness and fear. I’m afraid that my children aren't going to need me anymore. And it was at that moment my emotions revealed to me that I have come down with a bad case of empty-nest syndrome. 

Empty-nest syndrome: the emotional letdown experienced by an empty nester

Empty nester:  a parent whose children have grown and moved away from home

Yep! Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes me to the letter. I learned that this is a cultural thing that usually hits parents in their mid-50s. But, wait… I’m turning 40 in several months, so am I too young to be feeling this way? I’ve got to come up with a plan for the following:

  • How to shake of the empty-nest feeling?

  • What to do when my youngest goes off to college? 

  • Should I refill my nest? But with who/what?

  • Can I finally go after my ideal job that I left behind when I became a divorced single parent? 

  • I’m not even in the typical age group of empty-nesters. How can anyone relate? 

  • How do I avoid being the 'go to' babysitter? 

  • Do I pick up a hobby? 

  • Ohhh, my first excursion! 

  • What have I been looking forward to for the last 20 years?

Are you an empty-nester? Do you have tips to share? 

Did you just fly the coop? How did your parents cope once you left? Help a mom out!

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