One day, the nest feels very, very full. Like no room full. Peeing with kids in the bathroom, dogs under foot, and you need a moment to think full.
You start to notice spaces in your togetherness (Khalil approves of this), but then the spaces seem to get wider and further apart and before you know it, you have a lot of space. More room in the nest than you really wanted, but it’s too late. You taught them how to fly and now you can’t take it back so you are left wondering did I teach them how to land? What if I didn’t teach them how to get back up if they fall? Do I need to bubble-wrap the space they are flying? Do they have all the skills???
Let me back up. It’s senior year for your kid and you think, how did this happen? You go through that year trying to be everything and everyone (maybe) and say yes to things and have the friends over and your chest hurts because you can’t breathe. You know these are your last firsts. At least for this stage. But then graduation comes and you are swept up in OH MY GOSH. How am I going to pay for college (or maybe you aren’t like me and you actually saved money. hahahaha. Anyway skip that thought if that’s not you). Then you are buying the things, getting the loans after the scholarships come in, please more scholarships keep on coming in, and then you are trying to be FAPPY (my word on fake happy because you are sort of happy and sort of not).
And your damn chest feels like King Kong is on it all summer because you know what is coming. That day. The day you have to go to college drop off.
You tell yourself f***ing lies (I cuss in my head, sorry not sorry you either get me or you don’t) that everything is great and you are going to take up yoga or commit to a new practice. You will have time to do the things you wanted to do. You can start a book club and go for coffee, and all this stuff. BUT the truth is you are avoiding the feelings. You are. And I am right there with you.
So how do you really cope with this stage of life my people?
- You acknowledge how you are feeling with yourself first. Sit in silence. Hold the cup of coffee. And say this sucks. Or whatever adult words you want to use here. I am a fan of just being brutally honest so say it all out loud. Then have a good cry. I don’t know how many of these moments you need, but soon, you will move to step 2.
- The rolling up the sleeves feelings. After a while, you have a good chat with yourself and you start to just roll up your sleeves and get stuff done. Clean the house without being sad can be a baby step. Putting things away. Breathing. Just breathing and being so damn grateful for life that the ache eases. It lessens without you even knowing.
- Courage to honestly try new things. MANY people tell me they want to come to my yoga classes, and want me to do workshops for them. Talking isn’t getting them anywhere near my yoga. I can count on one hand who shows up. Don’t tell yourself you are going to do it, because you never will. Sign up. Pay for the class. Don’t say one day because one day might be too late and then you will have wasted time getting the courage to do the thing so just DO THE THING. Write the list of things, call the people, make the appointments ASAP and then do the things. Go to the yoga, the coffee, the new place you wanted to try, the Salsa lessons, the Swing or Zumba or whatever. Do the things.
- Acceptance of your new norm. Slowly, not quite now, but slowly, this part will sneak up on you and your King King sized chest pressure will have eased. You will have done the things, had the bad days, made the new friends who like you, are in this stage, and you will remember who you were before it felt like your heart started beating outside of your chest. But you will remember that connection always, and know that love knows no limits, no distance and no time will feel like it has passed when you speak. But writing those words is hard, so just know that it will take time.
- Live with gratitude. You will find new things to put in your gratitude journal, << (see that) and no matter how many days go by, you can read the things you are thankful for and feel braver for that gratitude at being able to admit things are difficult during this new process, but you still have much to be thankful for. I know that I do.
And on this note, I would like to invite you into my space if this resonates with you. I run a monthly Club that helps us focus on what is important in life, and improve our relationship with our thoughts. Register here for the monthly support Club: Here.