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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Empty nest...exciting or terrifying??

So what do you do when all your kids are grown up and have left or are in the process of leaving home?

This conversation has come up a lot recently with friends as all of our kids are finishing school and going out into the big wide world. One of my children is all grown up, left home, in a job, and has well and truly started on her own journey into adulthood, although she still loves to come home sometimes! The other is just starting that journey. This week she left for some volunteering in Nepal and Bali and then starts at Uni in September in a different country than where we live. Both of them have always been independent and we have always encouraged them to follow their dreams.

Where does that leave us as parents? Well, I don't know about you but I'm super excited to see what the next chapter has in store for us. Do I miss the kids? Well of course I do but not in a way that engulfs me and takes all my spirit from me. I look at this time as a gift, for me to say hello to me again, to see who Karen is now. After 26 years of having someone at home who is dependent on me, it's now just me and my husband (who is also away for long periods of time, but that's another story). I truly believe that we are blessed with children not so that we can hang on to them but so that we can teach them to be kind, adventurous, loving, caring, warriors of their own destiny, bold, brave, independent young adults who are excited to start their own journey. So...if we've done our jobs right this next step for all of us should be one of joy, not sadness. I promise you that your kids will always come home - especially when they need washing done!

Alone or lonely?

I really like the calmness and serenity of an empty house. I'm very lucky in that I have never minded being on my own. I don't get lonely. So for me, I don't have to keep myself busy to avoid thinking about being on my own. However, I know some people that the thought of being on their own terrifies them and then that's where I think the empty nest syndrome kicks in. For some when their kids leave home it's almost like they are grieving their loss, they feel like they have lost their purpose.

What to do now?

Have you ever let yourself dream about what you'd be doing when you've got the house to yourself? When your time is not linked to school or club pick-ups, when you are no longer the taxi service? When the tv remote is yours to control? If not - my advice is to start dreaming. Get a pad and pencil out and write down all the things you wanted to do that you haven't been able to whether that's reading the paper in bed with a morning coffee, going out with your work friends more than once in a blue moon, starting that exercise class you've been meaning to (of course I would always suggest Pilates should be on this list 🤣), write a book, or climbing a mountain. Get it all out of your head and down on paper. Then go through the list and pick your top 3, write down some steps on how to start doing them, and go out there and do it. For instance, if its pilates you want to do: 🌟 look up some classes in your neighbourhood (I've heard the ones at Inspire Studio, Chatillon sur Cluses are great!!), 📞 contact them, 🧘‍♀️ go and try out a class and then sign up. Giving yourself just a few hours a week to focus on doing something that you've always wanted to do will improve your mood, lighten your spirits and take your mind off what you think you'll be missing when your kids have left home. So it's time to be selfish - it's your turn to go and do something for YOU today!!

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Unknown member
Apr 24, 2023

Couldn’t say it better myself! It’s always been my mantra to let my children fly! I can vouch that they will always come home, some more than others, my three live in three different countries and when I first settled in France those countries were widely spaced and not with me. Years have changed the structure, but when the eldest two left home I started a business, then when the youngest left, I moved house and eventually country and started another business! Like Karen I don’t mind my own company and certainly enjoy being master of my own destIny.

yes Pilates is part of my me time! Got to keep fit to keep up with my grandchildren!♥️

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