One of the most profound shifts in a mother’s life life is when the last (or ‘only’ as in my case) kid is officially launched.
The celebration is rollicking and then, in what seems like a nanosecond the LIFE REVIEW begins.
It goes like this…
If I’m no longer a mother—in the active, all-consuming sense of the word—what am I? Who am I? Where do I fit? What’s next? What will this next chapter of my life hold?
“Hhhhhmmmm”, so this is the empty nest you’ve heard about.
Put the emphasis on ‘empty’.
Before you fall into that empty nest that now feels like a big, black hole give yourself a pat on the back… you’ve raised kid(s) that are intelligent, confident, independent and want to spread their wings and fly. This is the ultimate achievement as a parent. High 5’s Sister!
Now the next adventure begins. Even though you may have a career path and busy schedule you’ve also spent many years in service to your children and having them ‘fly the nest’ leaves you feeling like you’re on an awkward first date with a stranger who turns out to be……You.
This all comes as a bit of a shock.
“Self…Is that You? Last we spent time together was what?? More than 20 years ago?”
Yep. Happens to a lot of us. We get swallowed in life as parent, career and professional person, partner, care giver, tutor, short order cook, cheerleader, chauffeur, counselor… (to name a few)….and lose track of Self.
Now it’s time to go back and collect awesome Self, left behind when we became a member of life-in-the-fast-lane and mastered multiple ball juggling.
Or maybe it’s more appropriate to (re)discover awesome Self and find out who she is in now and then jump on board the follow-your-passion and live-your-purpose train.
If ‘follow your passion’ just prompted a glassy eyed stare—don’t worry we’ve all been there. It’s hard to know what the heck your passion is when such a large piece of your identity has been dedicated to your children and keeping all those balls airborne for so long. So, for now just follow what interests you or what you’re curious about. The path will become clear once you’re on it and actively exploring. This is meant to be FUN, invite playful Self to lead the way.
It’s a big, vast, choice-filled world out there and it can be a little overwhelming in the early stages of discovering passion(s).
Here’s a good starting place — explore what interests you or piques your curiosity. If that’s drawing a blank here’s some amazing resources to start expanding and getting the juices flowing.
- Expose yourself to TED talks to find out what the world’s leading innovators, thinkers and doers are up to these will take your breath away and open you up and expand your world instantly.
2. Take a look at SKILLSHARE an online education platform with thousands of free courses taught by leading practitioners
3. UDEMY is another online learning resource with over 40,000 courses. There are a wide range of subjects. While some are free all are inexpensive and affordable.
4. CHALK STREET is yet another online learning platform. Check out the Arts & Lifestyle section.
5. GO HIGH BROW This one is fun and offers bite sized courses and 5 minute daily lessons delivered to your inbox.
6. CREATIVE LIVE how awesome is this?? Take free creative classes from the world’s top experts.
7. BRAIN PUMP this is fun – a place to learn something new every day all in video format.
8. NOW I KNOW learn a little something everyday via email.
9. CURIOUS commit to lifelong learning decide if you want to commit to 5, 15 or 30 minutes a day
10. SNAPGUIDE how to guides on all your favourite subjects.
NEXT STEP IDENTIFY PURPOSE
Once you’ve uncovered your passions the next step is to identify PURPOSE. Purpose has an intimate connection to passions. So you’re in the ball park (so to speak). We all have a unique purpose. It’s our gift to the world. Once known it is our responsibility is to selflessly give it away.
Here are 4 questions to ponder when looking for purpose.
- What am I good at?
- What are my passions?
- What do I love?
- What do I think the world needs more of?
Sometimes ‘purpose’ pops up immediately, sometimes it takes time, just know that the answers will come.
Don’t ever underestimate life’s ability to surprise you for the good, and don’t ever underestimate your ability to surprise yourself.
Find the thing(s) that get you out of bed in the morning. Be a good steward of this time you’ve been given. Now is the time to do it. This is a period of exploration. Be patient with yourself, and don’t forget to have fun. You’ve earned it Sister!
How have you feathered the empty nest? Please share in the comments below.
As always I am grateful to you, Red Shoe readers together we are becoming all we are meant to be.
Keep living fully, vibrantly and passionately.