The Empty Nest Really Begins in Kindergarten

A rerun of Grey’s Anatomy got me thinking. 

It was a scene with Dr. Bailey furiously scrubbing a microwave oven while telling Chief Webber that dropping her son off at the first day of kindergarten left her feeling inadequate and empty.

“He let go of my hand,” she said.

She felt like she wasn’t needed anymore.

Bailey feels like everyone around her was discovering new things, climbing new peaks, and finding fulfillment.

Much like many of the women I talk with who are feeling a sense of loss with their kids going off to college, Bailey felt that this change in her family dynamic would leave an unfillable hole in her life. 

Women I know are looking at others around them and feel like everyone else is doing something fulfilling and productive; that others are ready to tackle new challenges and face the new normal, but they are not.

On Grey’s, Webber tells Bailey that she needs to do something productive with her newly-found free time.

“You gotta get out there and don’t look back,” he tells her.  Channel your energy into something productive, he says. Get out there and “do something” without looking back.

Sound familiar?

That kindergarten drop-off is just a precursor to the Empty Nest college days. 

For years, you have put yourself on a back burner while you raised your children. When your children become less dependent on you, will you know who you are?

What will your new normal look like?

These approaching Empty Nest years can be so scary. If you plan for them now, you will feel so much stronger and prepared. Instead of letting fear of the change loom larger than anything else in your life, do a little work now to get yourself ready.

How does the person you have become fill the hole created by the Empty Nest?

Ask yourself, Who do you want to become next?

These are scary questions, but, face it: you are not the same person you were when you first had kids. You’ve grown. You’ve learned. You’ve changed your goals. Therefore, the answers to all these questions have to change too.

If you have lost track of your life goals because of the focus you have put on your family, it’s time to get back on track to discover who you are now and who you want to be tomorrow. It’s time to discover new aspirations and find your new identity.

It’s easy to avoid change–to ignore the uncomfortable, nagging feeling that you should be doing more with your life and hide behind what you know and what is easy. Like Dr. Bailey.

Resistance to change is natural and uncomfortable, but if you are willing to put in the work, your life can improve. 

So, what actions do you take to get you there? 

Start exploring! What gets you excited and energizes you? Makes you want to learn more and do more? Once you start considering some options for your next steps, you will feel more focused.

My job as your life coach is to work together with you to figure out what you want, what is holding you back, and the most effective ways for you to move forward.

Coaching can help you rediscover your purpose and meaning.

And I bet a lot of money your purpose isn’t cleaning microwaves!