If you are an “empty nester,” you have perhaps read the title above and think that we have taken a rather literal, or even cynical, approach to your situation. But perhaps this can serve as a cue for you to do the same and, in the end, take advantage of your empty nest syndrome in a way you may have never envisioned before. Own it! And rule the roost!
While not clinical, empty nest syndrome is the feeling of sadness and loss parents go through when their children leave home, according to the Mayo Clinic. But just because something is a sad loss, why can’t it also be a happy gain?
Can’t get through the day without exercising your parental instinct to help others? Volunteer!
Why is volunteering good for empty nesters?
- It’s rewarding for the people you are helping and for yourself.
- It shows you that your instinct to be a positive force goes far beyond the life of your kids.
- It shows that the care and compassion you feel towards your children, combined with that pragmatism and resolve you muster up to fulfill their life needs, is an essential element of being an effective volunteer and serving your community well.
Don’t be sobby. Pick a hobby!
- What have you always wanted to do?
- What are you doing in your wildest dreams?
- Is there something you once started to do but then stopped because you had to start being a parent?
After this general brainstorm, use some of the more specific criteria illustrated in this article to help you hone in on what hobby or hobbies will fit best into your life. Is your nest feeling slightly fuller now?
Parent birds cannot remain in the nest all the time – they travel, and so can you.
Go somewhere brand new where you know your kids would never wish to go, or revisit an old vacation spot that reminds you of the joy and adventure your kids had there.
- There are websites specially for empty nesters to figure out where they want to travel, such as thetravelingemptynester.com.
- And when your vacation is over, tell fellow empty nesters about it by blogging on adventuresofemptynesters.com.
What better way is there to forget about empty nest syndrome than leaving the nest for a little while?
How about rekindling romance?
You and your mate deserve to rediscover what brought you together in the first place, all those years ago. Return to where you first met or where you got engaged. Make that same extra effort to impress each other that you constantly exercised at the beginning of your relationship. In the same way you had to be present and attentive to your children, be that way now with your mate. Just like liquids take the shape of their container, love takes the shape of its environment; you managed to adjust your romance to an environment with kids in the nest, now readjust it to one without.
How do you feel now? Looking forward to what lies ahead? Undoubtedly, your baby birds want nothing less than to see you use this time for yourself. Hold yourself to the same standard you held your kids when you taught them the principle of taking action to get what you want out of life. Who says your best years are behind you? We certainly don’t.
Joint the conversation. Share your thoughts, stories and advice on how you make your nest fuller.