Sometimes it just takes a little mental trick to help us deal with the fact that our kids are grown and we are on our own. Amy Sherman of Lake Worth, Florida, has figured it out, and she’s dealing again with her empty nest just fine.
Some boomers are past the empty nest syndrome by many years, yet others may be in the midst of it right now. Whichever you can relate to, there are probably moments when nostalgia and sadness creep in, leaving you feeling at a loss.
This happened to me recently. My husband Rob and I took a trip to a state park we used to go to when the kids were young. As a family, we would hike, bike, picnic, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, as it was a haven for lots of birds and mammals. While we had a great time taking pictures and biking through the lush hammock, we couldn’t help but remember what we had done there with the kids so many years ago.
“Look, there’s the tree the kids climbed and the stones they walked across in the pond.” “Remember when we saw the owl swoop down and catch a snake?” “Do you see their names carved into the wooden bench?” “Can you find the vine they used to swing from?”
There are so many wonderful memories over the years that we try to recapture, but of course we can’t relive them. That’s when I decided to appreciate the new memories we’d be making right now.
As we walked the boardwalk in the Fern Garden, Rob and I held hands and pointed out the special features of nature. “Look at the snake on the vine over there.” “Is that a wild boar or raccoon rustling in the swamp?”
The kids are grown and making their way on their own. But we have these precious new memories to share with them as we move ahead in our lives. While we still have bouts of sadness and nostalgia, there are many more moments of gratefulness and excitement that we can enjoy together as a couple. After all, like them, we are beginning a second chapter in our lives and we want it to be as wonderful (or even better than) the first one.
I feel very lucky. Some boomers have a hard time sharing or bonding with their partners because they have grown apart, since their children “flew the coop.” If that’s your scenario, you can still connect by remembering those early years when parenting was the forefront of your lives. Perhaps that would give you the incentive to find some area you can share together now, so that you continue your journey into the future with hope, satisfaction, and true contentment.