For the past 8 months people have been asking me, “So how is it being an empty-nester?” And my answer has been, “I don’t know; I can’t answer, yet.” I have not been able to get a handle on this concept. I need time to settle in to this pretty major life transition.
I guess you could say I’m in the process of rebuilding or recreating my life in this new phase.
My major life work, certainly my most important, meaningful part of my life, has been raising my children. With all the frustrations, difficulties, and day-to-day challenges, it’s proven to be ever so rich, rewarding and satisfying. And of course hair-pulling, stressful, anxiety-provoking and worrisome. And fun, pleasurable, joyful and oh so Loving.
So what Big thing will replace my major focus of the last 20 years? That’s not to say I didn’t have many other important ancillary facets of my life – work, travel, pleasurable and fun activities. And these will hopefully continue in even greater measure. But for sure my life’s work centered on parenting and consciously working on being a good mommy. What will be my life’s work now as an empty -nester?
That’s yet to be discovered, to unfold. And so I cannot answer, as I feel void of my pre-existing larger purpose.
I have tremendous satisfaction seeing each of my children set up in their adult lives according to their own standards: Esti, my oldest daughter – living the life she loves in an extremely religious lifestyle in Israel with her husband and five children; Nava, my middle daughter- who in September moved into a group home a few minutes away, and has adjusted beautifully; and feels so independent and good about herself having ‘moved on and out’; and Penina, my youngest daughter – living fairly close by with her husband and new first baby.
I also have twinges of sadness at the passage of time. My child-rearing years are over; remaining are the memories that flood through my mind at so many openings. It was just yesterday that Esti was 7 years old wearing her ridiculously large red-framed glasses that were in style then; as she reports to me now on the phone of her eye-glass frame shopping escapade for Moshe, her 9 year old son.
So I’m in an ambivalent mix now, not quite sure of my standing and where my next step will take me. I’ve got to feel all this out and see what takes hold.
What’s your life’s work in your phase of life now?
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