The term empty nest trivializes the painful passage for many women. The nest is our life, our memories of our lives with our children. We nurtured them and nudged them out to fly. Who is here to nurture us and nudge us toward a new life? It is a very hard time but there are ways to cope and eventually enjoy the process.When my last child left for college, I had been a mother for more than thirty years. I thought I was prepared, but nothing prepared me for the day my last child left home.
We took our son to his new dorm and got him settled in, but I felt so empty. I thought, “Who will I nurture now?” “Where do I belong?” Although I had continued with my education and had my psychology practice, this loss was deep—deeper than anything I had experienced. I remember the next week offering coffee and a bagel to my accountant when he came by my house to update my books. “What is this?” he asked.
“I need to nurture someone, ” I said. He smiled and enjoyed his bagel.
I eventually started to enjoy my mornings, taking daily walks. I also learned to breathe and connect to my body, the body that had carried three children, given birth, washed, fed and cared for, laughed with, tied their shoes, and comforted their hurts for so many years. I learned to smile knowing that my children were independently living their lives.
I realized that I was learning to nurture myself. Living life creatively during the empty nest phase started to be a wonderful experience.
New research in psychobiology indicates that creativity is connected to living in the flow of daily rhythms, which affects our energy levels, moods, sense of stress, and addictions. Living with the flow, instead of resisting helps us to move through one transition after another. I teach this concept of creative living and have adapted it to my daily life.
When at home I enjoyed naps in the afternoon, which were a new pleasure, sleeping late in the morning was divine, especially when I crawled back into bed with my French pressed cup of coffee so that I could read my favorite book with no interruptions. I could read what I wanted, eat what I wanted, and sleep when I wanted. This was freedom I had not known for many years.
Living creatively and savoring empty nest time is the best thing we can do for ourselves. I have developed a six-step plan for creative living that I share with my life coaching clients. I encourage and help them to enjoy the empty nest transition because it is them time to nurture yourself and find your passage to a new life.
Read more about creative living and my six step life coaching plan to get you through the empty nest period and finding the beauty of self nurturing and the gift of time.