A big topic during the Labor Day Weekend was dealing with the new empty nest.
People have spent 18, 19, or more years where their lives have totally revolved around their kids. Most have not given any thought to how they want to spend the rest of their lives.
What I find distressing is that many parents live for the day when their kids will be back from school and they can go back to doing everything for the kids.
Yes, we will miss our kids.
Yes, we have to go through a transition that is painful at times.
But hanging on to your kids because you can’t let go does not serve them. Your kids should be ready to go out into the world and create their own life. They should be able to survive without you. They should not feel so attached to home that they won’t take great opportunities when they come up.
I see families where adult children are living at home. While they usually hold some sort of job and maybe even pay a little bit of rent, they really don’t contribute much to the running of the household. If something were to happen, these adults are not prepared to live life on their own. I know people who have never left their parents.
I found out recently that my father had the opportunity to study under Einstein. He had gotten a small scholarship to Princeton. He would have had to work while going to school. He chose to stay home.
I turned down opportunities because I felt bad that my grandparents would have no one left around to help them. Mind you, they didn’t really need help at that point. I felt that I would be bad if I were to leave them alone.
My 22 year old daughter is living on her own, with her boyfriend. She is working full time, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and working on building her dog training business. I am incredibly proud of her.
Was it hard at first? Of course!
Facing that moment when you realize that your life no longer revolves around your kids and that you had better figure out what it is that you want to do with the rest of your life is tough.
And that really is the problem, right?
How do you find new meaning in your life?
Think back to dreams you once had. What did you want to do before you had kids that got put on the back burner?
How many times have you said, “I don’t have time to…”? That could be working out, taking a course, volunteering, taking up a hobby, starting a business…
How many friends have you not spent time with? Outings put off? Vacations not taken?
How many projects around the house have been put off?
How bad is your retirement fund? Now you have the time to pick up a second job.
Maybe you should adopt a dog. It will give you love, exercise, and purpose. The only problem is that they tie you to home so you may end up putting off all those things above again. Think about that too.
A lot of people are starting small farms. Growing your own food and canning have become really popular.
There is a real need for senior fitness trainers.
If you really relish having kids around the house, you could adopt more. Or you could volunteer.
Your life is now your own. You have the freedom to choose what to do next. That is exciting!
photo credit – https://www.facebook.com/Agapo.iLove