The question is, “Are you in or out of the empty nest rut?”
The answer is that there is no right or wrong question to the question!
How the empty nest is like a sled dog team
I love and am inspired by sled dogs. I’ve always been mesmerized by the stories and articles I’ve found on the topic. I was even a fan of the Disney movie “Snow Dogs” that came out in 2002 with Cuba Gooding, Jr.
In that movie he plays a city boy that finds out that not only is he adopted but that his birth mother has passed away and left him his inheritance…in Alaska. So off he ventures out of warm, comfort zone of Miami to discover his roots.
Of course, this is a classic Disney comedy and there are laughs and a slapstick comedy. But it’s a great movie where he took the chance of getting out of his rut and a whole new life began for him.
Then, we have the Snow Dogs. The dogs that pull the sled. They in turn have learned that they can’t venture from “who” they are. You won’t find them venturing out of their comfort zone. They are very comfortable in that zone and GREAT at doing what they do.
In fact, a long time ago I read an article about dog teams. The author stated that when you are on a long journey the absolute worst thing you can do is to jump out of the ruts that the previous sleds have made into the snow. Those ruts are tried and true pathways to follow. Venturing out of the ruts would make the journey longer. However, venturing out of the ruts would take you into scenic byways and you may would see different scenery. You may would also get lost if you didn’t have some good navigational gear. But, correctly equipped it could be a journey of a lifetime.
I suppose that’s why the empty nest transition is like sledding somewhere in the Arctic Circle.
1. You know others have successfully navigated the path. You only need to find your own “gear” and forge ahead.
2. You need to decide if you are going to play it safe (nothing wrong with that) or if you are going to go big and do something wild and crazy (nothing wrong with that either).
3. It’s all a matter of finding your comfort zone.
Comfort zones are GOOD. They are good rut to have. In the empty nest I think of my daily routines as comfort zones. They are good and reliable piece of your day.
When the kids have gone, what used to be your normal routine has been changed. It’s good to get into a new routine and establish some new comfort zones.
I hope you have an idea of some things you would like to start including in your life. Maybe some reading time or a more in depth Bible study time. Maybe you would like to go back to school and learn a new skill. Do you have a hobby or project that you put off for a while because you “didn’t have time?”
When the kids fly the coop, you are left alone with your spouse. That could be a very good thing in that you finally have some privacy and run of the house. You can travel together. You may have found your marriage has become stagnant through the years but now will be a perfect time to rekindle the fire!
The most important thing to remember is that there will be some things you will change in your life during the empty nest transition. But the comfort is that there will be some things that won’t change.
On a little side note, I’ve included a little video below about snow dogs. I just have to take any opportunity I can to rave about these phenomenal creatures. They have an inbred hardiness and are lifelong companions to their humans on the frozen tundra.
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Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who are ready to RePurpose and ReDesign their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.