Not too long ago I confessed that being in an empty nest household can be very:
- Satisfying–because you did a good job as a parent and the kids are independent and pursuing their own lives;
- Exciting–because now is the time to reinvent yourself and make plans for the future; and
- Terrifying–because now is the time to reinvent yourself and make plans for the future.
I thought that by starting to make some future plans I would be able to navigate this empty nest. And most of the time I can–but there are days when I come up against this big woolly mammoth called fear.
For months I thought that my biggest fear is that the kids are far away–far from home–far from me–and what if something happened? It is hard for a helicopter mom to adjust!
I checked the news channel of the cities in which they live each morning to see what the crime is like in their areas, I checked the weather reports and wondered if they remembered to take an umbrella or a jacket.
I was really really good! I never texted them to ask if they remembered to take an umbrella or a jacket! That was so hard! I’ll admit that a few times I texted myself that message just to get it out of my system.
And as some time passed and I would call them or they would call me, I realized that they were fine. They had not forgotten to eat while they were away from home, and if they got wet in the rain, I never heard about it.
But the fear was still there. Not worry–as I think I will worry about them until my last breath–but fear. The kind that sits on your chest–the big woolly mammoth.
Then it finally hit me, my biggest fear was not the can the kids survive without me? thing. My biggest fear was can I survive without them? thing.
Ouch. I could not remember a time without my kids. I mean I do remember my childhood and my adult years before children–but I don’t remember what it FEELS like to not have my babies in my life.
The realization that the fear was about me being able to move on was one I had not prepared myself for. And at first I didn’t know how to deal with it–but putting a name on it made all the difference.
Now I can sit and stare that woolly mammoth in the eyes and I know I am satisfied that I did the best job I could with the kids. The girls are making their way in the world and now I must find my way.
I am excited to be in a place that I can reinvent myself and move towards new and different and diverse goals. And I am also terrified to be in this place–but since I have named the fear– it is my control.
Next week I am going to dig deep and talk about reinventing, re-imagining, and recreating a meaningful future in this new chapter of my life. And hopefully, the woolly mammoth will find a new address in which to live.
How do you cope with the fear of change and uncertainty? Comment below and share and like this post with your friends if it resonated with you!
And while we are busy trying to figure out our direction in life–don’t forget to have fun while you are doing it!