Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Empty Nest Syndrome

Because of the chaos in my life and friends’ lives in the past few days, I can’t focus too well.  So this blog won’t be about farm life, rather just LIFE!
One of my daughters on the Appalachian Trail.
Gently guide them through the years, so they may
have the courage to find their inner direction and make
the right choices when it matters most. 

Our homes, our “nests”, periodically shift.  We are all aging and enduring different stages of life constantly; Life is forever changing. Factors that come in to play for some are: driving; college; bachelorhood; marriage; children; grandchildren; divorce; death. Added bonuses along the way are: friends; and, pets. Maybe you laugh because you know some who enjoy their pets more! True!

But, at some point, our nest does change. Perhaps parents you’ve been taking care of pass away. Perhaps a spouse leaves. Probably most common is that children grow up and leave home, whether heading to college, a job and apartment, or marriage. Suddenly the nest seems very empty. You could still have a nest-full, but when a person or pet that has been an intricate part of your home is no longer there, it takes some adjusting.
Eggs in Nest
They can't always stay safely tucked in
the nest.They need the freedom to become more
than we can ever imagine them to be.
My daughters have been out of the house for quite a few years now, but come home during the summers and/or other breaks. That takes some re-adjusting, even though it’s a blessing. Similarly, a spouse faces these very issues when he/she tries to fit back into the family unit after being deployed with the military for an extended period. We must all be flexible as to our roles within the family. Traditional gender roles are usually tossed out the window these days in an effort to survive.  Everyone, even children, must be a solid cog in the gear to make the family wheel turn.

But, what does a parent do when suddenly faced with the children gone? Well, after all, it’s been 18 years since you’ve actually been “YOU”.  Maybe even longer depending on age the children are when leaving home. So, it’s important to reconnect with that you.  Here are 10 things you could implement to assist with the adjustment.  Believe it or not, I think many go through this same mode of questioning their lives upon retirement. Again, we have to be flexible….nothing is ever constant! If anyone reading this has additional tips, I welcome the comments in the comment box!
Checking to see when next meal is coming.
Well, maybe some things never change!!

1)  Unless you’re planning on turning into a Wild Thing, concentrate on making your house 'homey'.  Pick a candle fragrance that you like and burn it. Senses play a big factor in comfort. Arrange your furniture so that it is cozier and that you feel you have a little niche for your books, crafts, computer, etc.  A small lamp on in the evenings is also so much better than stark overhead lighting.

2)  Re-connect with friends that you have not had as much time for. Lunch dates and reminiscing can also remind you of just how good your life really is. Choose friends that are upbeat and help boost your mood.  The last thing you need right now is someone draining your energy. It’s okay to be the ‘person in need’ for a change.

3)  Make sure you are eating healthfully.  Bingeing because you are feeling blue, is the worst thing that you can do.

4)  Take up a sport, or resume a sport that you haven’t had much time for. You may find “you still have it” in you! Plus, the endorphins will help elevate your state of mind.

5)  Have a hobby or craft that you’d always wished you knew how to do, but never had time for? Well, you just might have the time available now! You probably have the extra space to do it in now, too. Don’t let ‘tenant-free’ bedrooms depress you; find an excuse to utilize that space. (Keep in mind that if they are coming back when the semester ends, you may not want to turn their room into a hatchery!)

6)  Take a mini-vacation that your budget can afford.  Paying for one or two tickets is certainly different from five!
Wanting to be recognized!
No matter how strong of an individual
we are, there are moments when we
 like to feel appreciated and recognized.

7)  Get season tickets to a theatre company or music venue. A reason to dress up and hit the town pampers us all and the cultural experience makes us feel as though we are connected to a bigger appreciation of the arts.

8)  There is a lot to do for free. If you live near parks, or museums, or library, there is always something going on.  Go join in, or just watch and feel alive. Seeing others having fun will bring a smile to your face.

9)  There are so many civic organizations and clubs that focus on helping others in need.  I have discovered that when I’m doing something nice for someone else, it usually helps me forget my problems.  Re-direct the energy that is draining you into something positive for your community, a friend, or yourself.

10)  Finally, grab a cup of tea, and go sit outside. Nature is so amazing. As you watch the clouds roll across the sky; feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair; hear the sounds of the birds around you, your senses seem to understand and accept the fact that everything is changing and to survive, we must be flexible. 

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