The empty nest is chock full of surprises and we are repeatedly reminded to “expect the unexpected.” We recently attended a 50th birthday luncheon at the home of a dear friend of ours and like every landmark occasion it got us to reflect on how far we have come these past few years.When the empty nest happens, we don’t just say good bye to our children. We say good bye to a way of life that has been cultivated for close to 20 years. Whether you have been a “stay at home” parent, work full time, were extremely involved in the parent association, or just participated in once a year field trips much of life has been centered on the rhythm of school. In the lower grades there were the field trips and oranges for soccer practice. As kids grew, it may have been bringing snacks for theatrical productions or schlepping cross town for a robotics competition. Whatever…there was an almost ritualized weekly schedule of events and contact with other parents that filled our lives.We love our children, but part of the attraction was the interaction with other parental units. No efforts had to be made for a social life with peers; it was just there. We have many email group lists on our computers for all the different activities our kids were involved with.Once the empty nest arrives, adult social life requires a lot more effort. Instead of running into a friend in a school parking lot and having a heartfelt conversation, advance planning for outings are totally necessary. We have also found that along with our empty nests, another life change has been that we use the phone less and less and BBM, Facebook and email more to keep in touch. That gives us the opportunity to keep in touch with more people without playing dreaded phone tag.One of the most heartening outcomes our efforts have been the development of different groups of friends we have reconnected with. Claudia has her walking and mah jong groups. Jill practices yoga and meets with several groups of women on a regular basis. Both of us belong to book groups to foster intellectual along with social interaction. We are moving beyond our old models of school centered activities. We are nurturing relationships on a different level and learning it is never too late to try new things or meet new people. We do miss the everyday hustle and bustle of having the kids around, no question; but the empty nest can be fun and rewarding too once you open your mind and your heart!The empty nesters are excited to talk with Mary Jo Buttafuco who will talk about her compelling life story and discuss her new book, “GETTING IT THROUGH MY THICK SKULL: Why I Stayed, What I Learned and What Millions of People Involved With Sociopaths Need To Know” on their radio show, Wednesday, April 7th at 11AM PT on www.blogtalkradio.com/emptynesters!
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It's good to talk.
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