My 6 kids were – no longer kids – most of them were men. So THIS was the time I’d been waiting for – for decades!
THIS was MY time, a time to shine, to be free and to enjoy the limitless opportunities that would present themselves to me.
My sons ranged in age from 14 to 26 and they all lived away from home except the youngest who was still in school. I’d sold my house, closed my business and several garage sales later, all my belongings fit into one storage shed.
I’d heard of and actually treated women who were going through the “empty nest syndrome’ and really? I thought it was just rubbish.
Who wouldn’t be just stoked to be free and not answerable to the confines of family life. Who could possibly fall into a deep depression when the kids are all gone?!
The thought of having ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ was just ridiculous.
What I hadn’t counted on was that since raising my family and providing for them was all I had done for 26yrs – my skills had been fine-tuned to managing a large family while working in my own business full-time and running a household. I had no skills to be a woman in midlife, one who could now utilise the skills I had learned and put them towards new adventures that would benefit me and others. I never expected this to happen.
One of my kids had said to me once ” the amount of time and money you spend on us – can you imagine how much freer you will be and how much more MONEY you’ll have once we are all independent?!” I agreed wholeheartedly and thought it’d be an easy rollover effect from full-time mum and provider, to free and easy liver of life as I want to do it.
BUT there’s a catch to being free
Knowing what to DO with that so-called freedom is the key. If there’s no plan – there’s just a mishmash of confusion and wandering off in different directions according to the ‘free thinking’ that’s been embraced.
There are several key things that are essential to growing into the ‘post child’ woman you really dream of becoming.
ask yourself these questions:
What are you planning on doing today without your kids?
Those beautiful little creatures have left the building, flown the coup and are finding their own way. It’s time for you to do the same. Believe me they will have far more respect for you once you start to show who you are to the world and yourself. You are the example they follow – still. It’s time to show them what you are really made of – by being honest with yourself.
What ‘things’ do you have that you would be better off without?
- Are you still keeping the x-box in case the kids might like to play it when they come to visit (even though it really annoyed you when they did).
- Do you have bucketloads of baby photos you are keeping for your 30yr old children?
- Have you kept the boxes and boxes of Lego and train-tracks so the grandkids – that aren’t here yet – can play with them?
- Have you kept the kid’s school clothes, paintings and books?
It’s time to let them go – give them to their owners (your kids), the ones who will decide what they want to do with them. There’s no way you can move forward if you are keeping stuff that is from the past with all the joy, sadness, surprise and attachment that is embedded into these objects.
What is essential to you at the moment?
Do you simply need some space. Have a desire for freedom but can’t really put your finger on what freedom actually is?
Do you feel a need for new things to take you away from where you are feeling right now. The stagnancy inside Cannot be moved by adding more THINGS! The only real answer to this is to get rid of the stuff you have, stop the activities you are doing and even reduce contact with the people you know and leave a space for new interests and people to fill that space.
Allowing is the key word here – not forcing a situation and suddenly joining a group or community because you NEED some new input. But allowing it to happen. Life never just stops, you can be caught in a severe bottle neck of stagnancy at times when things just seem to have stopped and the frustration can be overwhelming.
But unless you have an idea of WHERE you want to go – you will end up at some other random place still looking for your ‘freedom’ somewhere else.
Transition is what we go through at this time. Transition is a stage of giving birth to our babies – we made it, didn’t we. It was sometimes a screaming mess of pain and disbelief that it was possible and there were times we might hit out or swear at anyone near us – but we did it, we survived and loved our little bubs that were the cause of all this sweat and pain.
Continuing with the giving birth analogy as a transition – when we were pregnant there’s a knowing that there’s a baby at the end of the road, there’s baby inside of us and we will give birth to that baby at some point and we will love it, care for it and watch it grow.
But for some unknown reason there’s no preparation for the stage afterwards – the stage when there are no more children, they don’t need the same degree of care and they are seriously wishing we would get on with our lives and leave them alone!!
Making a solid plan of desire is absolutely essential for this transition into our midlife years – it’s not the end – it’s only halfway through!! It’s like being at the halfway mark of running a marathon and saying
“oh well, I’m finished now”
” I’ll just wander back over the track I just ran, and check out the photos I took and reminisce”.
You’ve missed the finish line, there’s no punch line, no wrapping up and moving on…no rewards!! Just a wandering through the past….
It’s ridiculous and seriously a cop-out.
WHY should you make a plan? So you can live it!!
but How to do these things – HOW to not leave the past behind, but learn from it and make that learning part of our greatest and most unique tools for rebuilding our own personal, unique, beautiful future??
That’s for the next post…..