You've done it. You have been a parent for awhile now - probably at least 18 years -- and finally your little one is off to college. Can you believe it? You are probably a little shell shocked at how fast it all went by. So after all the celebrations, rejoicing, and graduation parties, it's time to pack them up and ship them off to the schools of their dreams. You did great, but how do you deal with what happens next?
That first week in September when you look around your house, and little Susie or Johnny is gone, can be more emotional than expected. Having an empty nest can break your heart a little bit at first, but with the proper planning you won't have to deal with a full blown case of empty nest syndrome. After awhile, most parents learn to enjoy the quiet while they can, especially since the kids usually come back for vacations, summertime and h olidays. Plus, with the way the economy is now, more than 50 percent of college grads move back in with mom and dad at some point, so you really might not have an empty nest for as long as you think you will. But if your heart is weighed down by empty nest syndrome, here are some things you can try to enjoy your independence.
Take a Vacation
Now is the time to distract yourself by taking that dream vacation you have always wanted to go on, and couldn't when the kids were around. Whether it's a cruise, a trip to Paris, or an adventure excursion such as an African Safari, think of how much money and hassle you will save by not having the kids along. Just that thought alone should make you smile. Remember those long trip car rides with two kids in the back poking each other, and saying over and over ""mom, are we there yet?""
Plan Some New Activities
Join a book club, take a writing class or start your own knitting circle. Or a movie club. Whatever activity you think you might like, just go for it. A dance class? An art seminar? The sky's the limit on what you could enjoy pursuing. Or mark occasion of an empty nest with a truly exhilarating activity. Ever been skydiving?
Start a Small Business
With the ease of websites like Etsy and Ebay, it's very easy to start your own business. Say you like to restore distressed furniture. Then hit those flea markets, garage sales, and even dumpster dive to find those diamond in the rough pieces that you can restore. It's guaranteed to take up some of the space in your brain that will be missing your kid. So get to work!
Write Down All Your Memories
This is for the person who likes to journal, or wants to remember everything about the last twenty years of their life. Write it all down. Get started on making the memories of your family life come alive on the page. If it gets to be overwhelming. Just do it one year at a time. You'll be amazed at how happy those memories make you, and how many more you'll remember when you start to jot it all down.
Dealing with empty nest syndrome doesn't have to be all sad and depressing for you. You might actually find that life without the kids around can be a different kind of adventure. Time to reconnect with your spouse or partner, and enjoy the new found freedom that comes along with having the kids out of the house. Just keep yourself busy with some enjoyable new pursuits, and with the technology available you can ""Facetime"" your child while they are away at school whenever you want. Or whenever they will allow you to actually. At least with the touch of button you'll be able to see for yourself that they are fine, and they can see that you will be fine too.