by Nancy Lundy of It’s About Time
During the summer, my work hours become shorter. Monday through Thursday, I only work half the day with Fridays off! Woo-hoo! In previous summers, these shorter days at work allowed me much longer days with my kids and my friends. I had extra time to catch up on some reading, take the kids to the beach, and spend time going to different places with them. Up until this summer, I absolutely appreciated working less and having more free time.
But something unusual happened this summer. I had extra time. Hmmmm, actually I had a lot of extra time with those shorter work hours. After a few weeks, their novelty suddenly wore off. It seemed like I had too much time in fact, but how can that be? I couldn’t figure it out. So one day I spoke to my friend, Allison, about my restlessness. The house is so quiet, I explained. I’ve read so many books, and I’m slightly ahead with working on my coaching. What’s happening? Why am I so restless?
She said, ”Nance, you’re starting to have an empty nest.”
“What,” I gasped. “Naaah, that’s not it.”
A few weeks go by and the restlessness continues to haunt me. I am bored with reading. The dog and I have run out of things to talk about. Wait, could Allison actually be right? Have I started to empty the nest?
No, I know for a fact that I have not emptied my nest. The kids are still home, living in the house. Well, one is home at least, and one is off at college most of the time. Then I think, maybe someone emptied it for me. But when? I’ve been here the whole time. Okay, I wasn’t vigilant, but I was aware of what was happening. Wasn’t I? After some reflection, I was able to peacefully admit that the process has begun.
Where has the time gone? It was just last week, I was “nesting”, getting the nursery ready for my daughter’s arrival. Blink, now I’m emptying the nest? What the heck? And what the heck do I now?
Ok, for one thing , I need to practice what I preach: Slow down, Lundy. You are a personal time coach who helps women over 50 with these exact situations. Ok, I’ll have a session with myself…
So, what’s happening? Well, I seem to have a feeling of restlessness, because it seems I have a little free time, which is something I’m not used to having. But it’s not really “free” time; it’s more like “empty, quiet” time. I am still busy working, running my business, maintaining the home, but there just seems to be empty space in my day when I’ve run out of things to do. I’m not running up to the kids’ school, making their lunches, doing their laundry, helping with science projects, and so on.
But I don’t necessarily want to fill the empty space. I guess I want to “accept” it and maybe even appreciate it. How about embrace it? Yep, I like that. I want to embrace this empty space.
What can I do to embrace it? Acknowledging it certainly works and not feeling like I have to fill it works. Being in the present moment and being aware that things are shifting. My nest is not empty, believe me and now that school is back, work is full time again, my coaching practice will pick up again, my schedule will pick up, but I’ll admit, things are shifting–not all at once. But, it’s happening.
What steps will I take to acknowledge this shift to the empty nest?
- Most importantly, I will not force myself to fill any empty space with more responsibilities.
- I’ll explore opportunities to enhance my well being
- I’ll recognize that this is all part of the process and I’m embracing my second half.
By writing this blogpost, I was able to go inside and recognize that something was amiss. By sharing this story with you, I was able to release my anxiety and restlessness and appreciate what is now happening in life.
To complete my session, I’ll share with you my take-away:
From my session, I was able to acknowledge, appreciate and embrace my life so that I can continue to learn more about myself and this fortunate process. Many women before us didn’t have the know-how, the opportunities, or the resources to prepare them for the what’s next. I am truly blessed.
Photo credit: grit.com