Last week, we covered the importance of integrating self-care practices into your empty nest time. In the last part of this series, I am revealing the final secret to navigating your empty nest…cultivating connection.
When the day came for my kids to leave home and begin their own adventures, many warned me of the impending loneliness and quietude that would envelop my life. They spoke of the "empty nest syndrome" with a tone of inevitability, as though it were a phase all must pass through. However, my experience has been anything but desolate. I want to share with you why and how my heart remained full even when my home grew quieter.
Feel the love
My house was so full of love when my children lived with me, and I still feel that love in our home even though they are away. It did not go away with them. It’s here with me. I feel so blessed to have gotten to experience such deep love and connection with my children that I am happy to be sad. I love this perspective and more positive way to look at what it means to miss someone. Love is a key part of thriving through the journey. You can listen to Happy to Be Sad by Ben Platt here.
Nurturing Family Connections
Although my daily dynamics shifted, I understood the importance of keeping the heart lines of communication open. Whether it was weekly video calls, or surprise visits, these moments of connection kept the bond alive. Not just with my children, but I also nurtured ties with my siblings, cousins, and extended family. By doing so, I reminded myself that while the immediate nest might be empty, my family is always there for me.
Cherishing My "Framily"
Essential to my well-being during this time was the circle of friends, I call my “framily”. These wonderful souls have been an invaluable support system, the pillars of strength, companionship, and endless joy. Our happy hour dates, movie nights, and spontaneous adventures have become the highlights of my week and my month. It's said that friends are the family you choose, and I couldn't agree more. They've filled the gaps, ensuring that I never feel alone or unsupported.
Diving into Community Activities
Instead of retreating into the emptiness of my home, I actively sought out local community events. I started volunteering in my community, participated in local festivals, and attended music concerts. These activities not only gave me a sense of connection to something other than myself but also introduced me to so many amazing people. Being a part of something bigger than myself, contributing to the community, and forming new connections made every day vibrant and meaningful.
Seeking Spiritual Solace
Lastly, the empty nest phase offered me a chance to reconnect spiritually. Whether it was through meditation, spending peaceful moments in nature, or attending spiritual retreats, I found solace and a deeper understanding of what was unfolding before me and how to be present in the moment. My spiritual journey became the anchor that kept me grounded and gave me a renewed sense of purpose.
In closing this series, while the term "empty nest" might suggest a void or absence, my nest, my heart, and my life have been far from empty. By focusing on being grounded and present, engaging in self-care activities and seeking deep connections, I’ve ensured that during this chapter of my life I get to feel abundant, full, deeply loved and connected. I believe that each phase of life comes with its unique set of opportunities. It's up to us to seize them and feel the joy, love, and connection.
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Sending gratitude and joy,
Chief Wellness Warrior @ Inspired For Life!
I hope these insights and practices inspire you to embrace the empty nest phase as a time of renewal and self-discovery. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.