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