The Empty Nest: your cue to lament or an opportunity to celebrate.
Has the house been feeling much quieter lately? All the beds are made all the time. No unclaimed sock lying on the floor. No one sulking in the corner having a time-out.
There’s a feeling you can’t shrug off, a tug at your heart that’s there, despite knowing that your little birdies are merely a text or a phone call away. Their voices, the quips and barbs, their hugs and laughter. This has been a long time coming, and maybe at a point in your life you even looked forward to it, but it still makes your eyes well up.
The pain you might be experiencing right now is really very much about perspective. Do you remember how you felt when you first moved away from home? Ecstatic, maybe? Overwhelmed but exhilarated, perhaps?
Would it have made your life easier back then to find out that your parents felt stuck in a phase and were unable to move on? Everyone loves to be missed, but you probably also felt relieved to know that your parents were off doing things they always wanted to do and were enjoying life, just like you were planning to, yourself.
You owe it to yourself to enjoy your life and find pleasure in things besides what you did and do for your children. You spent 18 or more years catering to never-ending demands, perhaps even suppressing your personal needs countless times. There were nights you just wanted to read a book or unwind with a long candle-lit bath but your child was sick and wouldn’t let you have a moment. You may have wanted to set up your home with a vision such that it oozed magazine-like enchantment, but someone was always playing with a ball indoors or needed more space for their stuff and you prioritized that. Now is the time to explore those, and more.
Some of us have a harder time getting past a certain stage in life because we restrict ourselves to the same time and space, instead of allowing ourselves to wander off and explore the wonders of the world. You will realize that you don’t need to carry the weights of the world when you could instead catch up on the missed date nights worth years with your partner or pampering yourself with delightful spa sessions and uninterrupted girl’s nights out.
Now is the time to be spontaneous; take that trip you always wanted to, play it safe or let adventure spell the same as your name. It is time to begin a new chapter in your love life, this time with the focus on the two of you and on the things you had snoozed on several times in the last 2 decades. There is so much more to your partnership than mutual parenthood, and some of us might need to read that twice: remind yourself of what it felt like to be young and fearless and once the spark is alive, you might find your nest filled with louder chirps of you and no longer with reminiscent echoes.