This past weekend my husband and I were invited to our new neighbors’ house for some wine. They are a beautiful young couple, with two of the most adorable boys ever. We were happy to visit with them after a busy week and enjoyed chatting and getting to know them. We sat on their deck, they had a warm bonfire going in the fire pit, the dog was weaving in and out of our feet, and the kids were scampering in and out of the house, playing with us and each other. They served delicious bruschetta and very nice wine. It was such a pleasant way for us to welcome the weekend after a hectic week at work.
Then we left and I thought, “That used to be us.” We were the new young family moving into the neighborhood. We had the adorable young children. We had dogs and cats and bruschetta. And now we are the old ones. We are the ones that the young couples refer to as the neighbors with grown children. We are the empty nesters.
But then I thought, wow…this is a great time for us. We have raised the kids, driven a million miles in car pools, trick or treated in the pouring rain, stayed up with a sick child or comforted one with a nightmare. We have paid our dues and it is our turn now. Finally after years of planning our lives around our children’s schedules, we can plan for what we want to do, when we want to do it, and how we want to do it. We can energize our lives with new projects — which is precisely why I started my own counseling business, Head 4 Success: College & Career Solutions, geared towards helping people of all ages make change and transition to the next phase of their life. Some simple assessment tools and counseling and I was able to jump in and start my second half!
Lucky for me that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory I took a few years ago helped propel me to pursue another graduate degree in counseling and ultimately lead me towards developing my own counseling business. But additional training is not always needed. Often people have tons of skill sets that can translate into new opportunities and careers.
The timing was perfect and now that my nest has quieted down, I have the time and energy to put into my clients and help them do the very thing I needed to do for myself. I am taking my next steps. And even though the steps across the street are faster and busier, my steps are working out just perfectly for me.
Seize the day empty nesters. You have paid your dues. Enjoy the memories of the past and the possibilities of the future.