Traditions. Nostalgia. Memories.
They all create a sense of comfort and security as we move through each year. Snow-day sledding, heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s Day morning, marking your children’s growth on the height chart (on the wall of your paneled basement), movie night with a big bowl of popcorn, or game night for some fun, family-and-friends competition.
Traditions are full of nostalgia. They are a comfort to live through every single year. You can depend on traditions to bring your family and friends together, make memories, and enjoy life. But what happens when traditions get hijacked? What happens when:
● Your children don’t want to celebrate a holiday exactly how you have been?
● Friends move or change their plans?
● Children move away, or get married and create their own traditions?
● A pandemic forces you into quarantine, unable to meet up with any family or friends?
Sometimes traditions must be modified temporarily, like the last few years of this pandemic. Sometimes traditions evolve and change for the long-term, like kids growing up and moving away. When this happens, it can feel hard to move on and let go. But it doesn’t have to feel this way.
When traditions change, it’s normal to feel surprised, confused, or any number of emotions. That’s okay. It’s important to identify and process these emotions. There is one thing we forget when we experience these changes. Life has always changed and evolved. It’s been this way our whole life. A few changes many of us have experienced:
- Moving to college
- Making new friends
- Getting married
- Having a kid
- Having more kids
Like these changes, the new empty nest phase of life can be exciting, too! Old traditions can evolve into new ones. We can still celebrate, even if it looks different. Your kids might not want to celebrate the same way you did when they were five. How can you still celebrate together in a different way?
COVID may have left us all desiring more social interaction, especially during the recent holidays. But how can you make temporary traditions that still let you connect with family as much as possible? If your kids can’t visit every year, can you visit them or meet them halfway? Perhaps you can create other new traditions, even though you’re miles away.
We have friends growing up, through high school. Then new friends if we go to college. More friends we meet through work. And then through our kids. There are new friends to be made in this stage of life as well! There are many experiencing these empty nest years just like you. Instead of focusing on what was taken away, focus on the new opportunities these changes present.
Traditions aren’t permanent. Life is always evolving — sometimes to exciting places and sometimes to unexpected and bleak turns. How have you faced these changes? How did you change your traditions?
There is a lot to process when you have to let go of a routine you loved. But you are not alone! I’d love to talk with you more about the changes you’re experiencing, what’s been challenging, and what you may need help with. Reach out, and let’s chat about the changes you’ve experienced in the last couple of years and how it’s going for you.