The Empty-Nest and Other Transitions
Written by Tina Baker, ROYAL Transitioning
When you dream, wish, plan or visualize your future, how do you react to what you see? Do you get excited and actually take real steps towards that path, or do you stop in your tracks? When I left my corporate job, I had no clue who I wanted to be when I grew up. That’s right. I said WHO I wanted to be, not just what I wanted to DO when I grew up! My priorities were not my focus. I just knew things had to change. My son was a junior in high school and I was all about getting him graduated and off to the university and facing empty-nesting! Little did I think that the transition and it’s changes were just as important to me as it was to him.
Many questions come up for moms who are going through transitions during this phase of life. These questions are usually reactions to circumstances that come up during the process of sending kids to college, leaving a job, taking care of elderly parents, physical problems and spousal issues. These questions that pop up in our head are usually associated with fear. The “ what if this or that happens” questions.
All these life changes are scary, so I, as well as many women, avoided thinking about how to get through these processes without driving myself crazy, getting sick, or having relationship problems. I procrastinated about what it was that would fulfill me so I could release the fear, worry, or guilt and give my best self to my family and my life, health and sanity! This procrastination made it even more scary and overwhelming. Now, the negative thoughts started coming up.
Those negative thoughts:
What if my kid doesn’t get into the school they want, doesn’t get the scholarship, doesn’t do well, parties too much, hates it?
How am I going to get through the pain and misery I am feeling as I have to say good-by time after time?
What am I going to do when the kids are grown and gone?
If I get sick, then what? What if I run out of money?
How am I going to take care of my sick parents?
What do I do when the job I’ve have worked at for so long is stealing all my energy?
Facing your fears is the first step! How can you connect with your true inner self if you can’t accept the fact you are going through changes and transitions that can take you down. You must pay attention to your true soul. For me and many other successful transitioners, God is our resource for love, protection and peace. Only He can turn things around for you! I have seen many women just about kill themselves because they were trying to be enough! Being enough to everyone else is not going to lead down the path of fulfillment and peace. Many women give all their energy to others. They are filled with negative and worrisome thoughts and neglect their own mind, body and spirit.
There is hope.
There are signs. If you pay attention to them, you could grow to be the woman you were truly meant to be. If you want to be a gift to others, you must take care of yourself first.
Once you have faced your fears and strengthened your faith and trust, put gratitude in the forefront. Maybe your family situation isn’t perfect. Most families’ are not. You know there are many things to be thankful for – the safety of your kids, the money to help them, the mental and physical health of your loved ones. The fact the kids are growing and maturing every year of their life, is so satisfying to see! No, they are not perfect, but neither were we, and aren’t now. But we certainly understand the value of love, peace, freedom and joy.
So, practice being aware of how you perceive your problems. Be aware of your negative thoughts and fears. What is sucking the life out of you? What brings you joy? Who is around you that might be stealing all your energy? What feeds your energy? What would make you feel freedom?
As you are reading these words, how are you reacting in the deep part of your soul?
Big changes are coming!
This is the season of your life that will include BIG CHANGES. If you don’t do some mind, body and soul work ahead of time, the big changes can crush you! Start with opening your mind to what might be next. In our coaching business, www.royaltransitioning.com, we work with a lot of empty nesters encouraging them to see that their lives are going through some Big Changes. It’s not all about your child. It’s more about your identity changing. We also work with women who need to shift their negative thoughts about this transition, to seeking opportunities and possibilities for what’s next in the post-high school years.
It’s not only about letting go of your child, but also about letting go of your behaviors that usually lead to pain, suffering and hardship. Can I give you a huge secret to help you do this? Awaken to the fact there are some changes you cannot control or change. In fact, there are few things you can control or change. But, there is one thing you absolutely can change – your reactions and your focus for the rest of your amazing life!
Here how it works:
Something happens that puts you in a negative mindset….you’re worried, angry, or hurt. Maybe your college student is not living the way you wish, so you react with negative emotions….maybe even guilt! You are so busy and overwhelmed that you refuse to give into a self-pity mode, so you push yourself harder to get everything done for your family, job, parents, home and/or church. Your body is sending you a message that are are ignoring. You may be experiencing emotional outbursts, or making mistakes with work assignments.
Do you remember I mentioned above that Big Changes can crush you? This is how it starts. No, you can’t control everything that happens, or goes wrong, but it is time to look at how you react. We see this all the time. Women get sick, lose a relationship or go into a deep depression because they didn’t pay attention to these signs. Why do we do this? We are by nature, nurturers. We are born with an innate sense of responsibility to take care of everyone else, except our selves.
How do you avoid this downward spiral? You have to go deep. When you realize what you are doing is sucking the life out of you, you can allow the deep longing for more purpose, freedom and fun into your mind, this will change your life forever! This longing was put there before you were born. Isn’t it time to pay attention? God is ready to transform you into who He designed you to be!
If you allow your faith to replace your fear, that’s when God will start showing you the possibilities and opportunities He has laid before you. He delights when you allow His refreshing perspectives to guide you to the next step in His plan, without fear or guilt.
Visit new places, seek help from family, friends or a good coach. Try a vision board or volunteer doing something that really gets you excited! Thinking about starting a business? This process can create hope for the future, and save you time, energy and your physical and mental health.
So, if you are doing what I did, stop procrastinating and look might bring you more fulfillment, joy and freedom in the post high school years and beyond….take some steps today to prepare yourself for the rest of your amazing life!