How I Dealt With the Mixed Feelings of Empty Nesting
I’ve been embracing empty nesting, starting to remember who I was before kids. Then they both came home, at the same time, for the first time - bringing with them laughter, joy, & these new versions of the women they’re becoming.
I LOVED it. Then just like that the holiday was over & they went back to school. We humans are complex creatures, we can hold conflicting emotions at the same time: Sadness & gratitude. Joy & disappointment. Comfort & longing. Today I’m walking my talk, doing what I recommend to clients-just feel the feelings. I’m not trying to avoid them with mindless TV or eating a bag of Doritos. I’ve eaten soooooooo many bags of Doritos in my lifetime & it never helps. So, instead I’m just feeling sad-as crappy as that is. I’m grateful that my girls still enjoy time with us AND I’m sad that the warm rush of joy that they brought with them is over. I’ll get back to enjoying the quiet in my home soon. For today, I’m just sitting with it. AND this is key, I'm not judging myself for having feelings. I'm not saying harsh things to myself like... "OMG just get over it Jen, what do you have to be sad about really?!" or "So much for enjoying empty nesting, you're just a hypocrite." Or the ever popular put a positive spin on it, which makes you feel even worse because you know what you're "supposed to feel", but you don't. I know this so well, I'm the queen of "at least..." At least they came home... At least they're both healthy... At least we got a few days with them... All of this is true AND I still get to feel sad. It's ok. We aren't meant to be happy all the time. We'd never appreciate the highs in life if we didn't have the lows. And all the lousy things we do to ourselves to avoid feeling-checking out, shopping, drinking, eating crap etc.-just prolong the inevitable & make us feel worse. If the holidays leave you with emotions that are all over the place know that you’re not alone. This can be the sweetest & saddest time of the year all wrapped in one. With love, Jen P.S. It’s no joke that the holidays can take an emotional toll. If you’re looking for a place to process emotions, get support, & learn ways to navigate this time, The GC is for you. The GC is a space for community, collaboration, or a shoulder to lean on. Whatever you need, we’ve got it inside. The GC ISN’T a place where anyone will try to one-up you & tell you how much worse they have it or what you should do. It’s where people listen without interrupting & only give feedback if you want it. Have you ever experienced that before? Everyone wants to feel seen & heard. This is where that actually happens. It’s f*cking liberating!! Come give it a try.