Woolly Mammoth Fear

Woolly Mammoth Fear

Not too long ago I confessed that being in an empty nest household can be very:

  1. Satisfying–because you did a good job as a parent and the kids are independent and pursuing their own lives;
  2. Exciting–because now is the time to reinvent yourself and make plans for the future; and
  3. 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!

Confessions of an Empty Nester

Confessions of an Empty Nester

I have been dreading this moment for a long time –the day when my birdies flew out of the nest to make lives of their own. But as all things will, it happened–and it hurt.

Don’t get me wrong–I am so very proud of them and I had no doubt they would be fine on their own. But I was not ready for them to go and ultimately that is what hurt me the most–I did not prepare well for the separation anxiety!

I did my fair share of crying and feeling sorry for myself and then I decided:  I could worry  or I could move on just like the kids were doing and enjoy my life by putting into action all the dreams and plans I had been holding back until….

…Until the kids get older

…Until we had more money

…Until we had more time

Until…until!  Well the timing will never be perfect, but time does not stop for us to catch our breath, so I might as well put one foot in front of the other and as the shoe company says: “Just Do It!”

In the 6 months my nest became bare I must admit that I have seen my kids quite a bit. They both live in 2 separate cities than the one I live in  but not so far away that they are not accessible for a quick weekend trip.  

And I have really enjoyed those trips!  I found that although I had worked up all my fears into thinking they could not survive without me–they can! And very well!

So this is the beginning of the rest of my life–LITERALLY!

I am embracing the empty nest!  Who knew I had so much closet space? And so much stuff! (all over the house!) and is my retirement plan in order?  Have we saved enough? When can I retire?  Is tomorrow too soon? When can I start reaching for all those dreams that I have been mooning over for– oh my gosh– decades! And do I really need to color my hair anymore?

Ok yes, I will keep coloring my hair! Let’s not get crazy here!

An enormous amount of stuff was going through my mind! So much, that there were nights I could not sleep. I just thought and thought.  And I found myself smiling, in the dark, all to myself.

This is going to be great! I mean, I miss the kids but we’ve done a pretty good job of raising them, they are making good choices and our “responsibilities” on that front are over! Even though I will continue to support them while in school and when I see them I feed them a lot because, well, isn’t that what you are supposed to do?

Supposed to do. What am I supposed to do? Is there a “suppose” about it?  I’m an adult! I can do whatever I want, go wherever I want, work, play or not, if I want to!  

But then…reality check:  I still do have responsibilities, and promises to keep, and things to do that must be done and being there for the other people in my life that expect me to be there, including the birdies that have left the nest.

But I do not want to take 20 years to create this new exciting life!? 

I want the life I want-quick! And I want it to be good! And I want to do it with the least amount of mistakes (and let’s be real–with the least amount of wasted money!) that I can create it in.

And so confession of confessions:  I’m terrified!  I’m excited!  And so terrified!

If you are a new empty-nester, soon to be an empty-nester or just at a crossroads in your life and need some direction, I hope you will follow me on my journey as we discover how to build the life we want: faster, better and smarter!

Tell me what you think: What goals should an empty nester have for their future? And what steps should we take to get there?  Please comment below….

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