My wife and I have 3 “kids”, all adults, all enjoying the challenges of being adults in These United States of America and I’m discovering more and more of my clients are experiencing the same thing or helping their own aged parents deal with the changes that these transitions bring. I came across an article that talks about some of these empty nest issues that I know I have to consider and I bet you will find common ground with me on this. So I decided to write about the 5 things Palos Verdes Seniors should know about the Empty Nest.
- There is no time table for when it hits you. You may realize walking down the hall, “… wow, it’s really quiet in here …” and that will start off an entire cascade of thoughts about your kids growing up in the house. I’m not saying this is “grief” but there is a sort of melancholy that is tangible. Hey don’t get me wrong, while I’ve teased my family that if I had a ton of money, nothing would please me more than to create a Family Compound that would rival that of Michael Corleone, but of course being realistic, I’ve always been a proponent of kicking the little bird out of the nest and watching it fly … on its own. That being said, I’ve observed friends who really have had a tough time with this. If you get caught up in sadness, talk to people about it. Get it worked out
- There is some negative fallout that could happen when you’re living the Empty Nest life. All of the sudden, you’re not worrying about what used to be right in front of your face … your kids.
Worry hates a vacuum. Many times it will find its way in your brain and now that the kids are out of sight out of mind, other things fill that worry part of your brain. Like what you ask? Ok, how about a struggling marriage or not taking care of your health or maybe a house that you didn’t have time for fixing up. Maybe with your kids around, these issues where like the can that gets kicked down the road. There are some great resources available here in Palos Verdes to help seniors, such as counseling, exercise classes, and a whole lot more
- Watch out for that little mental dip after the kids come home for a dinner, or maybe the holidays, or maybe you have lots of memories with your kids at special places for example the Portuguese Bend Beach Club and after a rousing night of paddle tennis and bbq down at the beach, they go back to their own homes and those memories of when they were little kids come flooding in. Trust me on this, don’t worry about it, you’ll feel it and then you’ll get over it knowing you did a good job raising them
- Have you ever felt jealous of your kids. Man, they’ve got their whole lives in front of them. What wouldn’t you give to relive some of those decisions you made in the past with what you know now. Listen, it’s natural to feel a little envious of your kids. You worked hard to do your best for them and feeling envious is actually a testament to the good job you did with them. Maybe you’re feeling a little envious because you did a good job raising them.
- I was talking to a friend yesterday, about my age, maybe a year younger and we were talking about how to be parents of adult children. As we were talking, an old saying came to mind, “…God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk…”. Look what can you say to your adult “child” today? They have their own lives. How can you dare to take away from them the joy they will get from figuring it out from themselves. Want to maximize your happiness? Keep your mouth shut and learn to say “…huh, that’s so interesting…” or “…well ok then, there you go…” or my favorite, “…hmmm, I’m puzzled by that…” No advice given, no judgement passed, just an invitation to stay engaged.
Well, those are my thoughts and my list of the 5 Things Palos Verdes Seniors should know about the Empty Nest. What about you? If you’re over 60 and you’re an empty nester what thoughts are creeping into your head? I invite comment here on this blog or use the “Contact” tab that you will see on this page. Thinking about all of this, I have one final observation and then question. The observation – bad things happen when you just lay still. Change is good, you have to keep the feet moving. And the question … When do you plan on moving? Let’s talk about it over coffee. Use the Contact button and book a coffee date with me … my treat.