So, let’s be honest the day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and from now on the house will be forever tidy. Food allocated for the evening meal will still be in the fridge when we come to cook it for dinner and our home will be a place of order, half respectable for unexpected guests and somewhere that is a haven of adult tranquillity.
We can now just launder what we ourselves have worn, tidy our own mess and empty wine glass from the night before and not trip over randomly abandoned sports kit, shoes, bags, plates, cups, and clothing.
YESSSSS! Hooray! we have the empty nest…or will that euphoric moment be short lived?
Like all novelties it’s embraced with enthusiasm and verve. We can stand back and congratulate ourselves that by design or default our children have got to adulthood and are now living independently away from the family home. We wax lyrical to our friends about how wonderful it’s going to be now that we only have ourselves to think about – no more late-night phone calls to collect from clubs, friends’ houses or parties. No breakfast tables full of hungry people that you’ve never met that want feeding, wine and beer still in the fridge when you want a glass. It’s like the last 18 to 20 years of hard work has paid off. Wonderful people have been produced who have gone out into the world to carve their own pathway and now we can observe proudly from afar.
I mean, yes, it takes a while to stop cooking for 10 people at dinner times and days and days to create enough laundry to make a full load for the washing machine but as we gaze around our organised and orderly surroundings, which we are absolutely telling ourselves we love… the silence is deafening. The familiar sounds of the last couple of decades silenced.
Instead of our children and their chatter, uncertainty, loneliness, and Mr Lots of Free time, come frequently to sit around the table at mealtimes. We can go to bed whenever we want because we no longer have to worry about the late-night rescue or retrieval mission.
The feeling of the empty nest brings both positives and negatives. Suddenly, we as parents, return to just being ourselves, thinking about ourselves, pleasing ourselves and in fact other than our personal daily obligations and hobbies – being needed for nothing.
For some, it’s time to sell up and travel the world, reclaim a bedroom as an art studio or live out long cherished dreams – for others a time has come that they really hadn’t given much thought to or had steadfastly remained in denial about – for a multitude of reasons. It’s both liberating and terrifying all at the same time. It’s a gear shift and a life change that some people take to like a duck to water, and others really struggle with as they adjust.
If you are sitting in overwhelm, are unsure what to do with this new chapter which at this moment may be looking a little shaky, are wanting to set new goals to work on, or are needing help to shift the focus back onto you, then you’re not alone.
Not only have I experienced this and made the changes – I’ve created an exciting life for myself, and as your coach I can help you contextualise where you are today and support you in seeing ways that rather than feeling at a loss, you will feel excited and energised about.
One of my clients likened the feeling to finishing a great novel that ended too soon and you wanted to stay with the main characters longer so you rush out to buy the next book in the series – The beauty here is that the sequel and narrative is yours and you can write as many chapters as you like and take the storyline anywhere you choose.