You’ve watched as your little ones grew from stumbling toddlers into young adulthood… and now out into the world on their own. It’s been a slow transition—but it’s also sped past in the blink of an eye! The bumpy economy may yet prompt some extended home stays in the future, but for now, the empty nest is suddenly reality.
So now what?
For most parents, the onset of your own empty nest comes at a time when emotions are decidedly mixed. There is the satisfaction of the child-rearing project well done—perhaps a measure of astonishment at the personal time that has now amazingly been liberated—but also undeniable tinges of loss and anxiety. The anxiety part is familiar (what parent hasn’t lost sleep as their offspring gradually ventured further and further from the not-yet-empty nest)?
The sense of loss is new, though.
Letting go without getting down in the dumps is not easy for everyone. We’ve heard it called the “empty nest syndrome,” which may not be a clinical diagnosis, but it’s a condition with easily relatable symptoms. Local homeowners with newly vacant rooms and a suddenly quieter environment may find that it takes a while to get past feelings of emptiness. Psychologists recommend allowing time to adapt to the sudden change of role; some say it can take as long as 18 months to fully adjust. There’s no huge rush—they say, “be gentle on yourself.”
Moms seem especially prone to the negatives of going from motherhood as primary role to …??? To the extent that an empty nest creates a loss of role, recognizing the array of newly opened positive possibilities is an antidote. Sooner or later, it’s going to be time to reclaim your space! Just pick your plan of action, for instance—
Create a gym: Use the space for something positive that will benefit the whole family. Has there ever been a better time to lose those extra pounds and get into shape?
Turn your hand to meditation: Create a relaxing space to unwind, meditate or practice yoga. When you take active steps to find your own pathway to a positive frame of mind, the journey itself can be hugely restorative
Turn fallow space into a creative den: Do you have a book in you that is just itching to get out? Did you once abandon the promise of an artistic pursuit because there just wasn’t enough time or the right space? Well, hold on! Here it is!
Rent out the spare room: Think about turning your empty nest area into a rentable space—or, if you’ve ever enjoyed the hospitality of a stay in a home-based bed and breakfast (and hankered to do some homespun inn-keeping yourself), consider the possibilities for transforming the whole place into a welcoming B&B. Vacation rental website AirBnB.com has gained worldwide popularity as the new ‘go-to’ booking vehicle for renting out a furnished room (or house) on a short-term basis.
Plan for that big road trip: Empty out the room, pin up the map and start planning that road trip, Alaskan cruise or trek across South America. Why wait any longer?
An empty nest may create a vacuum—that is, until you let life rush in to fill it! If filling your own nest opens up some promising real estate prospects, I’m standing by to see how I can help you make them happen!