My tour guide days are over–for now. Our kids have all gone home after visiting our new home in a new town. After all the hubbub, rush to buy gifts, prepare for company, the holidays, etc., all is quiet once again.
Our kids came to visit in a steady stream, one by one. They live hundreds of miles away from us now (one is in the thousands). Needless to say, it was hard to see them go. *Sigh* We are thankful for technology–calling, texting, Facetime, etc., but it’s not the same as having them with you in the same room.
How do we go back to our daily life after our kids have left . . . again?
Some families never leave their point of origin. And even if the kids leave, they come back. You don’t realize how hard it is to be far away from your kids until it happens to you. But kids leaving the nest has been a thing since the beginning of time. So how do we dive into this new phase of life with a good attitude?
Be grateful. Sound trite? It is better than the alternative. Being thankful for the time we did get to get to spend with the kids and basking in those memories (even if it was only by video) trumps wallowing in self-pity every time.
We hadn’t seen our son in the military for 15 months while stationed overseas. It was wonderful to see him in person, but it was also great to keep in regular contact all those months via technology.
Also, we need to trust our kids are where they need to be to become the adults they were meant to be, even if they’re not physically close, and we don’t agree with their choices and decisions. We no longer have the responsibility of making decisions for them. They are free to learn and grow on their own now–unless they ask for our help (don’t hold your breath).
Pursue purpose now. For many years (seemingly endless at times) one of our main purposes was to raise our children to the best of our ability. With the goal being to produce well-adjusted, happy young adults who would go out and make a difference in their world. A tall order and then some.
Now? Now we get to focus on ourselves and our pursuits. We may feel as if we’ve been pushed out of their high-energy lives and into a dimly lit hallway all by ourselves with no idea of which way to go. We can feel lost and alone–clueless even. But this is our chance to fly.
What are those things we didn’t pursue because we didn’t have time before? Going back to school? Learning to paint? Pursuing a new career path or exercise goals? Traveling? The world needs what we have to offer, which brings me to my next point.
Get involved. Think our usefulness is gone until grandkids come along? Think again. A simple search for local volunteer opportunities just may knock you out of your chair. With volunteering, you can do as little or as much as you want. Plus, you may be surprised to find a hidden passion surface.
Other possible opportunities may be joining a ladies’ exercise or hiking group (check Facebook), starting a blog or YouTube channel highlighting your favorite hobby, starting your own Facebook group, etc.
Focus on your health. Our everyday habits have a great impact on the quality of our lives. Chances are, we have 30, maybe even 40, more years to live–especially with advances in healthcare
I’m reasonably certain we all would like to age well–physically and emotionally–and keep up with our grandkids (or at least be able to do all the things we want to do). With most of us experiencing hormone changes around this time, our bodies can be rocked. We may not bounce back from stressors like we used to.
Also, there are many internal changes taking place that may go unnoticed until further down the road when it may be difficult–or even too late–to correct. That’s why it is of utmost importance to make our health our number one priority.
See your healthcare provider for all needed testing not only to check for current issues but to get a baseline for comparison down the road. Plus, there is a plethora of information online with which we can educate ourselves.
And the next time you talk to your kids, they can rest assured there is life after they leave after all. Who knows. They may be making notes for when their own nest is empty.