Life is a series of adjustments. First, you’re a child then you step into adolescence. Once you get used to being a teen, it’s time to move on to college or work. Adjusting to a career and real adult life after a few years of college follows. The next thing you know, you’re someone’s wife. You get comfortable with that role and then children are thrown into the mix. About the time you think you have the parenting thing down, boom, they’re gone — off to college, careers and lives of their own. You ask yourself the question “Now, what do I do?”
That is the dilemma I faced a few years ago.
I found part of my answer in a group in which I am involved, Lakeland Christian Writer’s Club.
A friend, who is a writer and speaker, spoke to a group of moms at my church three years ago. Her presentation struck a chord with me so I talked to her at the end of the session. I told her I was thinking about writing and she invited me to the LCWC meeting coming up.
I was so nervous the first time I walked into that meeting three years ago. I shouldn’t have been because I found a delightful group of people. Now, I look forward to the first Thursday of every month.
We make our way into the meeting room at a local church and sit around a table or two. It’s a diverse group — some published, some not, some professionals and some retired. Many genres are represented; fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, children’s books, Bible study and memoir. The thing we have in common is a love for God and His son, Jesus Christ.
Each month we look forward to hearing a new stanza in Rose’s epic poem or a highly imaginative chapter from Carl’s speculative fiction. Karen takes us back in time with her historical fiction and we enjoy hearing the new installment in Rosita’s story by retired pastor, Rich, who also does his own amazing illustrations. Sometimes we have a speaker but usually we share what we have written and critique each other’s work.
It is a wonderful group, full of camaraderie and encouraging words for each other. One of the things I appreciate most about this group is that it’s my group. My fellow LCWC members know me as Kim, the blogger. They have not met my husband or my children so they don’t know me as Jim’s wife or Jay and Katelyn’s mom. It is a reflection of my new identity as an empty nest mom.
Are you entering the empty nest phase of life and wondering what’s next? I have a few suggestions.
First, pray — ask God to reveal to you your passions, what you love. Ask Him to show you what it is He wants you to do in your life. Then act on it. It may take some time and you may try some things that aren’t suited for you but don’t get discouraged.
- Take a class
- Explore your surroundings, act like a tourist
- Write letters to people
- Learn something new, something that you have been putting off
- Volunteer at your church or a local ministry
- Join a special interest group like Lakeland Christian Writer’s Club
How about you? If you are living in an empty nest, what have you done to adapt to your new role?