6 Ways to Reimagine Your Life After the Empty Nest
Turning a new chapter as your children leave home can be a powerful moment to claim who you are more fully and explore new horizons for your life!
In your 50s & 60s, you’re entering the second half of your life. For many women, an empty nest is a major shift. Initially, when the children are gone, you may have a feeling of relief because the needs and demands of teenagers have vanished.
For other women, it is a painful time. When your primary job has been to parent, there is now grief.
No More Soccer and Volleyball Games
As this chapter of your life comes to a close, you are entering a new era, a new transition. Many of you started this transition prior to the children leaving home.
In my case, I realized that I would no longer be going to volleyball and soccer games two-three evenings a week. With my daughter going off to college, I decided to explore previous hobbies and start looking into new activities her senior year. In her freshman year in college, I also made a career shift.
I discovered that this is a critical time to take a look at what you want – a time to ‘reinvent and reemerge’ yourself.
There are so many possibilities to consider when your reach this point in your life. Time and space become your ally. Think about it! You’re no longer juggling everyone’s needs, schedules and homework, let alone your job.
Opportunity to Reimagine Your Life
Most of us are going to live for another 30-40 years. You have to ask yourself, “Has my life turned out to be what I wanted it to be in my 20s?” What an opportunity to reimagine your life! And it all starts with a new vision. Here’s how to create one.
Take an Inward Look
This is one of many moments where you take an inward look and meet yourself again. Have you lost your spark in life? Who are you now? Are you living the life you imagined for yourself? What has meaning for you?
Discover What You Love
Explore and be curious to discover what you love. It takes courage, but it is well worth it. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to bring into my life now?” It means trying new experiences. It means planting new seeds in your ‘garden of life.’
Find Your Own Interests
If you are married, you probably have different interests. What new interests are you now going to grow – together? Your interests may have been centered solely around the children, but now you must find your own interests as well as couple interests.
Think About What You Will Do in Retirement
Does your job bring you satisfaction? Maybe a new career is in order. Now is the time to take the risk and stop telling yourself that you will only work a few more years.
Maybe that’s true, but if it is, you need to have something that creates deeper meaning at retirement. Women who embody meaning and purpose have a longer and healthier life.
Reflect on Your Friendships
As you look within, consider your friendships. Are they strong and nourishing? Do you need to bring more people in your life and let go of the ones that no longer feel right? Connection is key to good mental health. We are wired in our DNA to connect and not live in isolation.
Relating to Your Children as Adults
Your relationship with your children takes on a new form as they become young adults. To relate to them as such will bring rich rewards.
This time of your life can be really enriching. The secret to thriving now is to look after, honor and value yourself. Your energy needs to be focused on your well-being and what nourishes you emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Once you accomplish that, your choices will benefit not only yourself but the others in your life whom you care about.
What is your vision for life after the empty nest? In what ways have you been challenged and successful at this time of your life? Tell us about new opportunities you have found for yourself. Let’s have a chat!
Ellen Bachmeyer, LCSW, is the founder of Aging With Heart. A practicing psychotherapist and Life Coach, she has supported women in their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond through many life transitions from divorce to caretaking and grieving, to remarriage, grand parenting and encore careers. She is passionate about helping women face cultural barriers to finding and expressing their wisdom and voice on their way to thriving in every season of their lives. Ellen offers assistance in recapturing your life’s vitality, rebalancing, satisfying your needs and renewing your power to take meaningful action in your life. For more information you can visit her website Aging with Heart.