Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Empty nesting

It's official—I'll be empty nesting this fall, with both kids away at school.

I'm somewhat stunned. They've both been away these last few weeks as well, and it's been a bit disorienting. I've gotten a lot done, but in the down times I didn't quite know what to do with myself! So you'll be hearing about books I've read and movies I've seen—I just have had more time.

Strangely, it seems it's now time to find out more about *me.* What do I want to do with my life? I've been defined by the kids for close to 20 years. And even though I made a lot of moves and never felt the kids were tying me down in any way, they were of course always top of mind and in my plans. Now they won't be, so much. Yesterday I actually agreed to going to a weekend conference, and for the first time in 20 years I didn't immediately have to figure out childcare.

Who am I? Do I have a life purpose? Is there more to accomplish? Will I live alone from now on? Should I get a dog?

Just a few of the minor questions running through my head this morning.

So I'd like to ask all my wise friends out there: What words of wisdom can you offer me at this juncture? How did you handle empty nesting? What did you learn from it? What pitfalls should I look out for, and what opportunities await?

I'd really appreciate hearing from you!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/09/2006 09:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, it's hard for me to believe that with your outstanding writing talent and lively unique style, that you do not have a long list of ideas for your own books and screenplays to write -- you should be writing these, not reading and watching!


At 8/09/2006 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

haha, I'll probably get there eventually! Maybe I don't yet trust that the free time is permanent. :)


At 8/09/2006 01:29:00 PM, Anonymous DennisR said...

My wife and I have found the empty nest to be a wonderful time. Our daughter as a teenager gave us many, many problems. When she eventually got married, it was like a big burden lifted off of our shoulders.

One thing my wife did was get a new career. She studied for and passed the real estate test and got her license. She is now actively engaged in this profession.

The peace and serenity of the empty nest is a blessing. Of course now we get the grandchildren once in awhile, and that can be a challenge.

At 8/09/2006 11:38:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

well I'll be listening in! With my oldest off to school and my youngest still at home, I'm not quite on empty yet, but we are close.

One thing we have always done is to be a home to anyone who needs it -- friends or family in transition, students, etc. We will probably keep that up. And read -- OMG, more time to read!!! (blessed thought!)

Oh and definitely, definitely get a dog ( or at least a parrot that talks)!

At 8/13/2006 10:58:00 PM, Anonymous Colin said...

I've been going through this experience also. I suppose the lesson is different for everyone, but for me the keys at this point seem to be 1) being more conscious of God's caring ever-presence and supply of right activities and purpose and 2) not outlining, but being open to what God wants me to be.

This latter point is taking humility. Society puts so much importance on being busy with secular activities that sometimes after a day spent quietly praying, helping a parent, or visiting elderly people in a nursing home the subtle suggestion comes that maybe I'm missing out on doing something with my life. I'm learning to just trust that God has a unique purpose for each of His ideas.

At 8/22/2006 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Sandy said...

For me, the key to meeting the challenges of an "empty nest" was to realize that it wasn't truly empty at all. To be sure, the parenting process changed radically when our only daughter left home after college for her first job in a distant city. And I will admit that it hasn't always been easy. Sentimentalist that I am, I occasionally find myself looking back wistfully on the days when the whole family was together under one roof every evening after school and work. However, I find strength and comfort in Mrs. Eddy's counsel that "Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections." (S&H 58:21) Now, although I can't sit beside her on the living room couch every night, I am with her daily in prayer, and emails and phone calls provide a good way to share both news and inspiration. Letting go isn't meant to be easy, I've decided, but it opens new opportunities for growth for child and parent alike.

At 8/23/2006 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been a most timely and beneficial discussion for me. I have one leaving for college Friday and another one only 2 years behind. As a single, custodial father, my kids have been my whole existance for years and I have really been struggling, not just with one going but the impending exit of the younger, too.

It is nice to hear that life goes on after the nest empties!


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