One Hundred Is Something to Celebrate
One hundred is a special number. There are Centennial Parks scattered across our country and our National Park Service turned 100 last year. A popular morning news show used to post the photographs of people who had reached this milestone age. One hundred is celebrated with glitzy fanfare, like the gala I recently attended for our local hospital. I remember both of my children celebrating the 100th day of kindergarten. We found 100 items to glue onto poster board to commemorate the day, a tradition still followed in some schools.
Well, I’m excited to be celebrating a centennial milestone today. This is my 100th blog post!
As a tribute, I considered listing 100 things I have learned living in the empty nest. But, I don’t think I’ve learned 100 new things so how about a list of the top ten things I have learned living in the empty nest. Here they are.
Ten Lessons From the Empty Nest
You Can Be More Spontaneous
Gone are the days of scheduling your errands by the school drop-off or pick-up line. It’s really ok to go to the grocery store at 7:00 on a Tuesday night. If you decide not to cook and go out to eat instead, that is perfectly acceptable. Last-minute trips are fine as well, as long as you can find someone to look after the dog.
Your Mind Shifts From an Academic Year to a Calendar Year
With the exception of a few pre-school years, mine as well as my children’s, my life has followed the academic year. This includes the six years I taught school. Instead of the year starting in fall and ending with summer, I’m slowing shifting to acknowledging January as the rightful start of the year. The downside is that with two employed children there are no more Christmas, spring or summer breaks. Work schedules now rule.
You Can In Fact Have Meaningful Conversations With Your Pet
If you have a pet, they will become your “baby” when your human baby leaves the nest. They are always around and they will always listen to you. If they start answering, you may have a problem.
An Empty Nest Is Very Quiet
The empty nest can be very quiet but that is not always a bad thing. I have become much more introspective in the last few years. Related to the previous lesson, I have also found that you can have meaningful conversations with yourself. Just make sure your husband isn’t around. He will think you’re strange.
You Can Date Your Husband Again
This is probably my favorite thing about living in the empty nest. Without a calendar full of school events, we can spend more time doing things together. We “dated” when our children were living at home, it’s just easier than when we had to coordinate four schedules.
Sometimes You Forget What It Feels Like To Be A Mom
This one is a difficult lesson. As the years go by, the memory of what my life was like in the midst of active mothering is fading. It has been so long since I took someone to school or dance lessons or watched someone’s football game. It’s been a long time since I called out spelling words or bandaged someone’s scraped knee. I have to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to pull up those memories. This feeling usually goes away upon receiving a text message or phone call, especially the ones that are for no particular reason but just to say “hi!”
You Still Worry About Your Children
Just because you release your big kids into the world doesn’t mean you don’t worry about them. I think mom’s worry about their children no matter how old they are. It is a different kind of concern because when they were toddlers or teenagers they were under your roof and your control. You don’t have that same control when they leave the nest, nor should you. That is why it is imperative to parent well while you have them at home.
Your Prayer Life Increases
We pray for and with our children when they are little, that they will be safe and healthy and kind. We pray for salvation and for their future spouses. Prayers increase and intensify when they leave the nest. My two live hundreds of miles from me. I don’t always know what is going on in their lives on a day to day basis. I am learning to bring them before the Lord much more and to rest in the belief that He loves them and will watch over them.
You Have More Freedom
In addition to the ability to be more spontaneous, you have the freedom to do more things; things you may never have considered when your offspring were still at home. You can explore your passions, do something new, volunteer. I joined a writing group, something that never even crossed my mind a few years ago. The most rewarding thing about belonging to this group is that they know me for me, not as someone’s mom.
A Full Nest Always Feels Good
At times, I grumble and complain about my empty nest. There are days when I miss my children so much that my heart literally aches. The good thing is that it always, always, always feels good when my nest is full again, even if it is only for a day or two. This past Christmas, my family of four was together, in our home, for approximately twelve hours. Would I have preferred more time together? Absolutely, but those few hours we spent together meant the world to me.
I’m sure I will learn more lessons living in this empty nest of mine. I think this is a pretty good start. If you are living in the empty nest or about to experience the empty nest for the first time, I hope that these lessons I shared will be helpful to you.
Thank you so much for reading my post.
Please pass it on to the empty-nesters or soon to be empty-nesters in your circle.