EMPTY NEST OR WELCOME LIBERTY!
By Silvia Uribe
Yep. I'm the very proud mother of 2 young, smart, educated, independent women. I'm in my 50's, and I have devoted 30 years of my life to giving these human beings my very best with all my love, effort, time, advice, and most importantly, with my example. During these years, I watched them like a hawk, hovering over them, but not only to protect them – although no one would have been allowed to hurt them on my watch – it was more for guidance. It was very important for me to teach them about life, and about the art of making intelligent decisions; a handy skill that they would use all their life.
True, 30 years is a long time, but for responsible parents, as you know, time means absolutely nothing. They are up early, go to work, come back to cook and clean, and at night, if need be, they are ready to take care of an ill child. Do parents complain about this? All the time! However, if someone would offer to take care of our little one while he/she is boiling in fever, so we could have a good night sleep, most of us would have not taken the offer. Why? Because parenthood is an arbitrary and self-imposed control of our hearts, minds and bodies. However, for it is self-imposed, we simply assume it.
That’s exactly how I experienced it. My family and I went from one day to the next, with lots of love, laughter, enjoyment of life, and collectively, we took all the lessons that life gave us, and we moved right through them, until just a few months ago.
Last November, my oldest got married, and moved to a different city. Her wedding was perfect! The guests were the most loving guests. The bride and the groom couldn't be happier, and both families were walking on clouds. Everything was so perfect, that it was a rather surreal experience. When I finally touched ground again, in December, our youngest daughter made the decision of living independently, and moved out. She had contemplated the idea for a few months, and she did it.
After cleaning what was left behind, I found myself looking at the empty rooms like I have never seen them. They seemed bigger, lighter, inviting. But their rooms were not the only think that changed. All of a sudden, almost magically, my husband and I had more time to spend with each other. Go figure! Good thing we kept our love intact after all these years, right?
People ask about our empty nest. They wonder if I am doing ok with our new state of life. They say things like “Take it easy” and “You’ll get used to it” – Hell yeah!
I’m finding out that as much as I enjoyed raising my daughters, I am enjoying the fact that I am back in possession of my freedom, my time, my house. So, if you are anywhere near, or already at this stage that I’m in, here are five tips that may help you go with the flow faster. I'm sure you'll think of more:
1 1) Start thinking about what YOU like! Find an interest – or two – for yourself. Whether work related, or volunteering, or doing something artistic.
2 2) Make whatever you like for dinner, or don’t. Cooking is a free ride for you now. Make it when you want, IF you want.
3 3) Move furniture around the house, or change some pieces if you can. You are in/at a different space in your life. Make your living space reflect it.
4 4) Treat your children as the adults they are. You are now an advisor. The fact that they don’t “need” you as they did before means that you did a good job raising them.
5 5) Redirect your energy. Time spent with our kids will always be time well spent. But, as their priorities have changed, your priority now should be yourself and your spouse or partner, if you have one.
So, it may be an empty nest now, but being able to savor our liberty again, is not only a welcomed surprise, but also a satisfying way to live life after fifty.