Looking for a way to boost your Empty Nest purpose? Read these 5 ways to cope and find happiness during this challenging transition. You’ve earned it!
This is the final post in the 5 part series, Empty Nest Mom’s Survival Guide. Congrats to you if you’ve been with me from the beginning of this series! If not, catch up by reading:
Missing Your Kid? Watch This Powerful Video
The Ultimate Solution to Empty Nest Panic
Find a Mentor You’ll Love for the First Time in Years
5 Silly Secrets That Will Help You Find Your Tribe
First, she starred in a hit television series, next she celebrated a royally-understated wedding to the man of her dreams. Recently, Meghan Markle has become the doting mum to baby Archie.
Meghan and Harry are settled in with their newborn at Frogmore Cottage, but Markle won’t be off-duty for long. A recent People article detailed the upcoming plans, “the royal mom is gearing up for her next big job: a two-week royal tour of Africa this fall with Harry and Archie.”
Royal fever has caught my interest ever since waking up oh-so-early to watch Lady Di marry Charles back in my high school days. So naturally, I’ve been delighted by every juicy detail of Meghan’s fairytale love story.
I must admit I’m a bit jealous. But not over the gorgeous clothes and fancy friends. As the newest member of the royal family and ambassador of all things American, Meghan has her work cut out for her. Add that to the busyness of having a newborn-enough for most of us all by itself.
I miss that feeling. The days jammed-packed with little acts of mothering, followed by nights of tentative shut eye.
Even though it’s exhausting, being a new mom has such complete and encompassing purpose. True-whether you’re a member of the royal family or a humble citizen.
No matter what else is happening in a new mother’s life, she knows to her bones that this little, perfect person needs her desperately.
Finding New Purpose
Once the kids head toward their future, Empty Nest purpose can be much trickier to find. But studies tell us pursuing a compelling reason to get up each morning can help us live a longer, happier life. And the study shows it doesn’t matter at all what age you start pursuing a new dream.
So, if you’re feeling upended by the change in your parenting status, follow these 5 ideas and find inspiration to get started.
1. Identify Limiting Thoughts
As Empty Nest moms, we’ve learned to consider everyone else’s schedules and needs. I found myself adrift once those boundaries were suddenly gone and you may have, too.
It took several months for me to realize I had edited my choices and activities to options that fit my family’s schedule. Those limiting thoughts no longer worked. I needed a new Empty Nest purpose that fit this phase of life.
An Outdated Blanket
In fact, I was surprised to discover I had wrapped myself up in my limitations like a comforting blanket. If I was brutally honest, I was using my family’s needs as an excuse to stay stuck in a monotonous routine.
Fear of the unknown and uncomfortable kept me from seeking new friendships and experiences.
Have any of these limiting thoughts crept into your decision-making?
- I’m too old to try that.
- I really should ____.
- People my age don’t ____.
- My kids come first.
- I wish I could, but it takes too much time.
- What would my family think?
- I have enough friends.
- I’m too tired to try something new.
2. Look to the Past for Clues
I’ve recently discovered Carol Tuttle’s Living Your Truth online classes. Carol has developed a system of personal style that accurately reflects the essence of your unique strengths and gifts.
Carol teaches that our gestures and verbal expressions give clues to gifts we were born with, even if we aren’t aware we have them.
For instance, I was surprised to learn my common use of the words, “exactly”, and “perfect” are a clue to my strengths of boldness, structure, and simplicity. I used those words all the time without realizing they were tips to my Empty Nest purpose.
What gave you joy as a child? Did you relish creating mud pies or were you more comfortable playing school? Could you sit and read for hours or did you long to be outside kicking a ball?
Instead of choosing an Empty Nest purpose based on your career or qualifications, look for interests that bring delight. Most likely, these interests reflect childhood passions- strengths that haven’t change over time.
3. Allow for Trial & Error
One of the easiest ways to find your Empty Nest purpose is volunteering. Opportunities and needs are everywhere!
In the movie Yes Man (warning: adult themes), the main character jolts himself out of his mediocre life by saying “yes” to every request. As a result, he:
- Joins a jogging/photography class
- Learns a new language
- Organizes a bridal shower
- Attends a Harry Potter themed watch party
- Becomes a star employee
In the end, he decides most of these pursuits aren’t for him, just as you may learn in your quest for Empty Nest purpose.
The point isn’t to succeed at everything you try. The point is to try.
4. Put a Time Limit on Your Search
Simply put, don’t let this process go on indefinitely. Don’t get bogged down in the details of finding an Empty Nest purpose, and don’t procrastinate. If you find yourself tempted to delay, ask a friend for accountability and set a timeline to move forward.
Start by downloading the Empty Nest Mom’s Survival Guide. You’ll receive the Life Inventory Checklist, a tool to help you get started.
5. Consider Something Crazy
While researching for this post, I stumbled onto a study that dumbfounded me.
“The results confirmed that the adult video gamer, while playing, also learns and develops key competencies.”
The study noted an improvement both in technical and interpersonal skills when adults, and even elderly participants, regularly played video games.
Your Empty Nest purpose just might be something unconventional, like becoming a pro gamer!
I still remember my family’s angst when my mother announced she would be traveling to Mongolia to teach English as a Second Language.
Looking back, I admire her courage and initiative. But, at the time, my sisters and I were only concerned with her safety. “Why can’t you teach that in the states?” We inquired. She stuck to her guns and made the trip. I believe it was one of the highlights of her life.
Heard of the popular app MeetUp.com? It’s a treasure-trove of groups and clubs that meet near you. Talk a friend into trying a few with you. You’ll find everything from skydiving to movie-watching.
In my dreams, I’d love to share afternoon tea with Meghan and Archie at Frogmore. If she asked for parenting advice, here’s what I would tell her:
Enjoy that sweet baby with your whole self. Enjoy every stage and change in his life and yours. And, when it’s time to let go, enjoy that, too!