Your life is definitely more than your kids

Some of us have one kid, some have two. So, many of us could be empty-nesters by the time we are about 45. An empty nest is when your children have left home for college.  Those of you whose life centres on your children and your husband, running behind them to pack their lunch boxes, help with their homework, chauffeur them to various activities, have you thought about what your life is going to be like when your children have flown the nest?

We got that fancy technical degree or that intellectual Master’s degree and then we decided to give it all up to be a stay-at-home-mum. But we need a plan for what next. Keeping the body fit with exercise is one thing, but keeping the brain busy is a bigger challenge.  I have seen people who stopped work at 60 years and considered their work life over, going into full retirement mode. Senility sets in faster. You lose your abilities faster and that can be frightening. The mind needs constant stimulation to stay alert. People who develop passions like Sudoku or Scrabble stay mentally fit more than those who are happy to just follow the endless mega serials on TV.

parents spends their own time by playing sudoku - ZenParent

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So what, then, are you going to do once your children leave the house? You might think you have a long way to go for that, but it would suddenly dawn on you one day. And while it may seem to be awesome for a few days to potter around without any commitments after a while things will start to get monotonous. Look around at the senior people around you who are full of life – they are the ones who are productively engaged in something and, therefore, seem younger and vital.

parents doing yoga - ZenParent

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If your kids are in middle school and don’t need you as much as they needed you when they were toddlers or pre-schoolers, now is the time to figure out what you are going to be doing. Brainstorm about the things that excited you and you never had time for: any courses you wanted to pursue?  Can you start something really small to keep that passion alive? A painting workshop you wanted to participate in? Can you volunteer at a government school nearby? Can you be a scribe at a blind school?  Can you hook up with a friend and start a home business? Slowly delink yourself from running after your husband and kids or making them the centre of your universe. Find your own thing that excites you and keeps  you sane, fresh and alive even after the seeming purposes of your life have flown the nest.

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