Good News: You Can be Excited to be an Empty Nester
I recently read a news story about a couple whose empty nest photo unexpectedly went viral. This husband and wife felt confident in their son’s ability to move forward into adulthood and were celebrating their new season in life. This fun display is so unusual in the empty nest conversation that it made national news.
Somehow, we’ve become a culture where we too often feel embarrassed or guilty when things are going well. Yes, transitioning into the empty nest can be a very difficult season, for many varied reasons, and we should be compassionate. But please know, you can be excited to be an empty nester. It’s okay. In fact, it’s fantastic.
Just as we need to know we’re not alone in our struggle, we also need to know that struggle isn’t the end of the road. We need to see those who have broken through to the joy of a new season. We need to see the example of your life and learn the lessons of your journey. We need to know that life hasn’t ended with the empty nest but, in many ways, is starting anew.
So, how do we bridge the gap between happy empty nesters and those living in a painful daze? How do you help those who feel they’ve lost their whole world and still maintain your joy and vision? Here are a few suggestions, but I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
1. Listen, but don’t lose your light.
Kindness and authenticity can walk hand-in-hand. In other words, take time to listen well, but don’t let it dampen your joy. As the Holy Spirit leads, share encouragement and lessons you’ve learned to overcome the pain. Be kind in your empathy. But also be strong in your example of the hope that’s available. Give priority to maintaining your own inner life so you won’t run dry helping others.Be kind in your empathy, but strong in your example of hope. #emptynest #empowerednester Click To Tweet
2. Invite others to join in your activities.
Many times, loneliness is the largest obstacle to overcome during the empty nest transition. Even within marriage, the hole left behind when the kids leave home can feel massive if a husband and wife don’t have activities they enjoy together. If you don’t have this obstacle, invite other empty nesters to join in with your fun. Help them get out of the house and find new interests. They may soon move on from your activities to others they like more, but at least you helped give them a jump-start.
3. Keep moving forward.
It’s easy to get bogged down with the weight of others. To lose focus on where you’re going and the vision God has given you. Take tangible steps each day to reach the goals you’ve set for this new season. Do it with joy. Do it with expectation. Watching you enjoy the fruit of perseverance and faith will give others faith to persevere and overcome as well.Take tangible steps each day to reach the goals you've set for this new season. #emptynest #empowerednester Click To Tweet
There’s a big difference between living a genuine life of joy and hope, and trying to make it look like you’re ok when you’re not. Don’t fake it while silently dying inside. But if you’re genuinely excited about the opportunities and purposes available in the empty nest season, don’t hide your light. Let it shine and help guide others to their own passion and purpose for this new place.