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Mid-Life: Empty Nesters

How to Deal with Being an Empty Nester

​The term 'empty nest' itself connotes loss. In truth, however, many people find that as their children leave home, they are ushered into an interesting new stage of life. It also appears that the definite, linear transition of 'leaving home' is not as clear cut as it used to be. Many young people, in their late teens and all through their twenties, are returning to their parents' home for periods of time; the phenomenon even has a name- 'boomerang kids'.

As you redefine your home life without a primary focus on children, the old, familiar routines may no longer fit your life; it is probably time to rethink the household structure and division of labour, or to embark on a new arrangement. Trying new things also means letting go of parts of the past. One of the tasks of mid-life is evaluating the 'progress', the accomplishments, made to date -- thus the famous mid-life crisis. Accepting the mistakes you may feel you have made in family life is a painful process, but, if you can let this go, you may find you have new-found energy with which to focus on the future.

Assuming that you are ready to reinvigorate your life, before you jump into change, take time to consider. Give yourself a chance to adjust to this major transition before you make any significant decisions.

Partners who have raised children together will likely experience a major shift in their daily activities and in their relationship when children leave home. While is it fine to pursue your separate passions and interests, you will probably also wish to find activities that you and your partner enjoy together, to give your relationship new strength and depth.

For those who have been single parents, the departure of children will likely represent a very significant change. It may mean rethinking your living arrangements entirely.


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