I read an opinion piece online this week written by a woman whose last child had just flown the nest. She reminisced about her years as a parent and spoke of the empty feeling she was experiencing. She wondered, “… what was now going to be meaningful to do with my time”.
If you are a parent whose last child has left home (including me) you may have experienced that empty feeling.
When my son left home at 18 I staunchly resisted the urge to sit in the empty wardrobe of his room and cry. The scent of his clothes still hung in the air. Friends cheerfully told me the sadness would pass soon enough and my sad feelings would be replaced with plans of what I could use his empty room for. And they were right. It’s a great space to keep my ‘off-season’ clothes.
Many women also experience feelings of redundancy after their children have grown. We spend so much of our energy, emotions and time raising our children that when the job is done we suddenly realize there is space in our life. But for what?
We live longer today than we did in generations past. In fact, we live on average 34 years longer than our great-grandparents. We now have a big block of time in which to occupy ourselves. It can be a wonderful time in which have space to finally pursue the things we previously didn’t have the time for.
For me, it was the opportunity to study, embark on a new career and to develop my creative writing skills. For others, it may be fulfilling a long-held desire to take up painting, photography, yoga, volunteering, creative writing or getting fit. The list is endless.
We also have the time to reflect on who we are and what we want for our lives going forward. Opportunity abounds to continue learning and growing as individuals. We have an abundance of experience and maturity on our side.
This week I found a TED Talk by Jane Fonda on Life’s Third Stage. I found it inspiring and uplifting, so if you have a few moments today it’s worth viewing this link:
If you are struggling with emotions around your children leaving home or what you want for your life, I’d love the opportunity to sit with you and help you plan a future that is hopeful, exciting and purposeful. You can call me on 0438 388 336 or click on the ‘appointment’ tab.