It’s called Empty Nest Syndrome. The Holidays are over, and just when you were getting used to having your college boy at home… it’s time to go back! Or maybe he is becoming a freshman this Winter term and you have no clue how to deal with these weird feelings of emptiness, void and nostalgia…
Your mind starts recalling…ever since you became a parent, you experienced the joy and hassle of living for you and for your kids. You were present at every PTA meeting, every school play, and drove them to school, soccer practice. Your schedule has been hectic for over a decade when suddenly…you not only realize your home is actually quiet and the decorations you leave on the coffee table are still there, perfectly aligned with the remote control. It seems like everyone just woke up and left. And they did. And with it, comes this horrible feeling that makes you scream ‘how did I get here?’
It doesn’t just involve ‘empty’ feelings and solitude. Empty nest syndrome can manifest itself through anger, disappointment, guilt, depression, weight gain (hey, it’s the perfect excuse!), loss of self-esteem, and more worrisome, loss of identity. You see, your entire persona was built around being a mother, and having to care for the whole family. Planning your meals, classes and work life is not an easy job. If you take it all away gradually, it slowly starts to reveal what you should’ve been focusing all along: who are you when they remove the layer of motherhood?
It’s crucially important to build a life outside of the role of being a mother. Your hobbies might have taken a secondary role, but they shouldn’t have disappeared. So what do you do now that the kids are gone and there are one too many rooms and empty nest syndrome is titillating in your heart? You start to reconstruct your identity. You need to explore who you are, and who you wanted to be when you were too focused caring for others. Discover yourself through new experiences, adventures and situations to get you out of your comfort zone. Start defining yourself slowly, as this is a process that takes time. You might discover you had a hidden talent for cuisine. Explore it, and if you enjoy it, define it and practice it by developing new skills and making new friends while you’re at it. Focus on your health, as your body and soul are the basis for a healthy mentality and brain activity. Make a bucket list and find the courage you need to cross as many items and learn how to live life. After all, you’ve got many years ahead to enjoy this exciting new life. And when it doubt, laugh it out!