They really do leave the nest—eventually. But how do we adjust to the empty nest depression that accompanies them leaving the nest?
Jonathan, child number four of six, flew off to Finland last Saturday to marry the love of his life, Sanna. The wedding comes in August, but the adjustment comes now—at least for his parents.
Here are my five thoughts for adjusting to an empty nest. These are along the recovery path of “change your thinking and your mood will change” therapy.
Five thoughts for adjusting to an empty nest
1. Oldness doesn’t resonate as old until you really are old. Then it hits you that most of your life has already been lived. This revelation doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy living life to the full with the time you have left; just that time really will be coming to an end and you wish you could have done things better in the time you have already lived. *sigh for deep thought*
2. Most of those who have gone before us lived shorter lives than we have. The average life span during the Middle Ages was 25. I can be thankful that I have lived long enough to see my nest empty.
3. Many people throughout history were pretty dysfunctional, just as I have been. (“We really should have been better parents, but we didn’t know how” kind of stuff.)
4. God seems to get really involved in dysfunctional people’s short lives—I’m thinking Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Peter, and all those who have served God throughout history. To us, our life may seem seem like a vapor, but not to God. He sees our short lives as a beginning point, or why would he invest himself so much in dysfunctional people?
5. Therefore, *grin for big conclusion here* God is investing in something bigger than just our short lives here on earth. He has much bigger plans in mind—like all of eternity future kinds of things with us by his side.
Putting my life into perspective with the bigger picture allows me to acknowledge the past mistakes of my journey, and honor the future—both my future and Jon’s. The nest may be emptier, but it isn’t less full.
So, what are your suggestions for adjusting to an empty nest, whether you have experienced it as one leaving the nest or as one watching others leave?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
This Post Has 7 Comments
I just wrote a bunch and lost it. Argh……………..
Re: Bungie kids…
change the locks.
Very funny, Pati. I know how that works!
Thanks for you blog Susan. My youngest boy moved out in January and I cried the whole weekend. My oldest boy moved out about two months ago. They come to visit on weekends and after they have left I cry. My sweet husband hugs me and says”you love your boys”. I have found that the empty nest thing is “bitter sweet”. So for the good things. Milk last longer. Less housework. Hubby and I have the whole house to ourselves!!. Getting there old rooms back into shape (patching holes, repaint etc). Utility bills are less. No mysteries as to where something went, why isn’t it where it belongs? (Oh well, getting older this might not change much!) The realization of getting older and some fear of being alone has haunted my mind. But I think about the few elderly ones that I honor and respect. There lives now, are proof of God’s work as they lived through the various trials in life but becoming more loving, forgiving, gaining more knowledge and wisdom. As I get older I hope to embrace the younger with wide open arms. Many precious memories flood my mind now but being careful not to dwell too much on that. The very last line on another blog that I read yesterday said “If you live in the past, you cannot embrace the future”. This one little sentence has helped tremendously as I adjust to this life change.
Thanks for sharing your heart, Mitzi. It sounds like you have gained a lot of wisdom from your empty nest experience, and I’m sure you will share that wisdom as you “embrace the younger with wide open arms.” Allowing yourself to grieve is so important when we go through these life changes. Great quote, by the way. It fits so well.
Great words and lessons from two awesome women. Experiencing the same and gleaning right along with you. <3
PS: Pati, you crack me up!