As parents, we’ve had to say “No” a lot. To our kids, yes. But also to ourselves. Certain dreams and activities had to be laid down for the sake of the whole family. More often than not, you put money toward the health, needs, and wants of the kids over your own. But now that the kids are grown, are you still living in a pre-empty nest mindset? Or are you learning to say “Yes!” again?Are you still living in a pre- #emptynest mindset? Click To Tweet
Some of you might look at me in a funny way and ask, “What do you mean?” You’re not even sure what saying “Yes” looks like. “Dreams? I don’t remember. I’m not sure what I want to do. Besides, I think I’m too old for something new. I’m doing fine.“
I want to assure you: Invitations come your way every day. Are you looking for them? Invitations to try or learn a new skill or make a new friendship. Invitations to do life in an unexpected or unique way. Invitations to walk through an open door. If you find yourself stuck in a rut of living like you have for the last 20 years, minus the kids, here are a few suggestions to help jump-start your “Yes!”Invitations come your way every day. Are you looking for them? #emptynest Click To Tweet
Say “Yes!” again to…
1. A gentle start to your day.
I remember asking an older lady, when I was in the last weeks of my first pregnancy, how early her kids woke up. Her answer in no way prepared me for the many early mornings that somehow slid into noon before I had a chance to catch my breath. This changes a little as the kids get older, but it’s hard to break the habit of jumping out of the gate like a racehorse in morning.
Stop. You don’t have all those lunches to pack and buses to catch anymore. Even if you’re working, you only have yourself to get ready. Take time to slip quietly and gently into your day. Set aside 30 minutes or an hour to read, meditate, worship, or pray. Sit back and take a deep breath before moving forward. This will set the tone for the rest of the day.
- Regularly. Stop skipping meals like you did when you were rushing to get chores done and pick up the kids to shuttle them to the next event. Eat regularly. Every meal. Three times a day.
- Healthier. I get it when you’re on a family budget. You have to buy what’s on sale and what you can afford. But now that there’s just the two of you, take time to check out healthier options. Try new recipes and more fresh fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to worry anymore about expensive goodies being grabbed up and gobbled down by growing kids.
- More creatively. Now that picky eaters are grown and gone, give yourself the joy of trying something new on the menu. Try Korean or Indian recipes or find a fun bistro or Latin American restaurant. You probably won’t like everything, but say “Yes” to at least trying.
For years you sat on the bench and watched your kids compete in soccer and basketball and gymnastics. Now it’s your turn to get moving. There seem to be more options than ever, but start with a walk after dinner and stretching before bedtime. Then take a night off and go out dancing. Then you can find an exercise class or scenic walking group or cross country ski club. The more you choose to move, the easier movement will be as you age.
4. New thoughts.
Too often we move through our world with rarely a thought given to anything different than what happens in the regular routine. It’s easy to do the same things and think the same thoughts and expect the same results. I want to challenge you to say “Yes!” to new thoughts. To new considerations. To new information.
When the kids were young, we always talked about all the fun we’d have when they left home. All the traveling and new hobbies and exploring. But doing isn’t as easy as we’d thought it would be. Ruts can be hard to get out of and we’re not quite sure what fun looks like anymore.
I wrote a note and put it on my bedside table. It says, “What are doing to have fun?” Every night, as I set my alarm, I see this reminder. It either cues me to celebrate the fun I had that day, or to take more time to plan for it in the coming days.
Take time out. Do what makes you laugh. Plan a trip — to Europe or to a gallery across town. Whatever it is, make a memory that will bring a smile 10 years from now.What are doing to have fun? #emptynest Click To Tweet
Say “Yes!” to relationships. To expanding your circle of friends. To more date nights with your spouse. To more trips home to see the family. To mentoring young moms or college singles. All of life comes through relationship. Sow new seeds and watch a beautiful harvest come up.
7. New avenues of income.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to open a new business or try your hand at an on-line startup. Say “Yes!” to taking those next steps. Do the research. Make a few calls. Take some marketing or IT classes.
Maybe you want to make some new investments with your savings. Or start a part-time job after being a stay-at-home mom. How about turning your creative hobby into a cottage industry? Now may be the perfect time!
As you move forward, don’t let your faith wane. Don’t give up on what could be just around the corner.
Say “Yes!” to:
- seeing beyond what your physical eyes can see.
- stepping beyond where you’ve walked before.
- believing your future is still ripe with purpose.
It’s not time to pull over and stop. You still have a broad horizon ahead!
I’d love to hear other ways you are saying “Yes!” in the second half! The best is still to come!