Family Transitions

EMPTY-NEST-When your Millennials left home, were you more worried about their being comfortable in college or your adjustment to their absence?

Navigating transitions can be complicated.

Yet when you let go of hands-on mothering, you’re free to begin a new chapter. Imagine creating a more grown-up nest, igniting old passions or embracing deferred goals.

This transition signifies the end of an era when the house was full of growing children and activity. Try to visualize more simplicity and less chaos. Think about cleaning out drawers and closets, giving away stuff no one wants, and making it yours again.

You may be mourning the loss of whatever was relegated to the attic or sold for a ridiculous price. But you’ll grow to feel more content surrounded by what is most important – perhaps photo albums that trace the family history, souvenirs representing milestones and travels, treasured books, precious memories carried around in your head.

As you start to explore this process, here are some ideas that may help:

Gather information. What more can you learn about the changes you want to make? Talk with friends and family who have already explored the possibilities. Through the Internet, you can find expert opinions and personal stories to inform, educate and support you.

Prioritize your options. Do you plan to work, volunteer, travel? Once you’ve created the dream, let reality determine what comes next. Are you alone in making the decisions and are they financially feasible? Do you have personal issues to consider? What are your other commitments now? Journaling can provide structure as you brainstorm, set new goals and put your plans in motion.

Increase self-awareness. Emotional reactions are typically a part of transitions. It’s normal to vacillate – from sadness about what you’ve left behind, to fear of the unknown and, eventually, enthusiasm for the future. Express your feelings as they emerge, and accept them.

Changing your surroundings can modify your outlook on life. As you re-feather your nest, be confident and trust that you’ll hold on to what is truly meaningful. While drawing on past experiences, traditions and values, you’ll create a present for yourself that is rich and rewarding.

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