Earlier this year I mentioned that I was going through the process of having an “empty nest” – that phenomenon that is unique to the Baby Boomer generation. I say “unique” because this didn’t happen as often to the older generations since they didn’t live as long. I decided to look up the term on Google and oh boy is there a ton of information! In fact there is such a thing as… “Empty nest syndrome… which according to Wikipedia…is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents or guardians may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.” I couldn’t find a particular person who coined this term, but the term began sometime in the 1970’s, which coincides with the aging (vs. mid-life death) of the Baby Boom generation.
I find this fascinating and somewhat comforting which is why I do this kind of research. It’s nice to know I am not the only one going through this grieving/transition/adjustment period. I can learn from others success and also add my own wisdom as I go through the process. I see this as a “helping hand-up” of anyone who cares to listen. For each of us who will go through this period of adjustment the process will be unique, so to share our story not only helps us but might help another lighten their load.
One of the most helpful things I have heard was the fact that many women who are post menopausal and empty nesters are finding a new freedom, new energy and a rebirth of life unlike any they have known before. I am finding this as well. It’s as if I am 17 again starting off on the adventure of leaving home and starting college only this time I have financial backing (savings, home etc) and I have wisdom gained! If only I could contact “past Ginger” and tell her not to be so afraid; that things really will work out. But alas all I can to do is live forward and make sure I apply all the skills I have had the benefit of learning.
So as I find myself starting month four of my “empty nest” adventure, I present here what I hope will be a helpful report to others….
- The grieving period has passed!
- It was kind of fun how that happened. I have never had grief leave in this fashion before. As I began to move my items around the house taking up all the space for the first time instead of a closet here or a cupboard there, I felt sadness briefly, then giddy at being able to spread out.
- Then as I witnessed my two children thriving in their separate lives I began to feel like I had achieved a great feat- like a graduation. I mean after all, I was always raising them to leave home….a fact I often told them as I “trained” them to wash their own clothes, dishes and how to drive a car. So goal achieved!
- I also discovered that by embracing the grieving it processed faster! It’s important to grieve when major change occurs. That is how we shift gears, release the old and open a space for the new. Then as soon as I could, I began to find what about this new change I was grateful for and this opened the space for a new dream.
- My space has shifted. I am stretching out and a new dream is forming!!
… to be continued. Life is an ever changing adventure after all!
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©