Empty Nest to New Purpose – Connecting the dots

A map not drawn is a treasure not found
A map not drawn is a treasure not found
We are on a journey to finding new purpose now that the nest is empty and the kids have flown the coop.

Many empty nest moms find themselves a little lost and upset when the kids leave home. Here in the states we call it “The Empty Nest Syndrome” but I just want to call it life. I don’t really think of it as a “syndrome”, it’s just the common circle of life that happens in some families. Note: I discovered that many countries don’t have this word in their “vocabulary” because the families are so tight knit that a home is never really empty. They have multiple generations always living in the same household. “The Empty Nest” is really more of a North American culture.

So here you are Mom. The nest is empty. The kids are all gone or you have come to the realization that they will be gone soon.

You are feeling lost. You feel as though you don’t have a purpose anymore now that “Job Mom” isn’t the #1 task you have to do every day. You may even feel sad or depressed. That’s all pretty common reactions that we mom’s experience. But you don’t want to get stuck in that sadness!

You don’t have stay in that sad and lost state of mind. ‘You have been given a rare opportunity . If you have lost touch with yourself and don’t really “know what to do” now you have a clean page so to speak. You get to start writing a new chapter of your life.

And it’s so exciting!

If you are like some mom’s you really do have some self evaluation that you need to do.

The best way answer the question “What do I DO now that I have all this time on my hands” is to ask yourself “What is important to ME? What core life values are important to me?” If you read yesterday’s post, then you answered those questions. For a refresher, hop over and read it. because we are ready to create our next stop on our new Map of Life!

As we continue on our journey, and if you did your homework yesterday, then you have 12 Core Values that are important to you. I know , I know…you may say to yourself there is no way I can narrow down to only 12. But once you do this step and have those words you have a very important golden treasure. You have the Core Values that make you tick! These are the values that you need or want in your life that make you, YOU!

Let me give you an example…here is where it gets good!!

When I did this exercise last year one of my words was “Creativity”. It is an important value to me. But, I realized that after our son left the nest, I had let my Creativity value slide away. You see, we homeschooled our son completely through High School. So I was able to be creative by creating lessons, experiments and such. But when he went to College, I dove into work full time as a way to keep my mind busy (and pay for college tuition).

I became a stellar employee and advanced my way through the company from a Part Time employee to Full Time Middle Management. But, last year that I realized I had let “life” get in the way and I was not doing anything “Creative”. I was a robot. I would get up in the morning at 4:30a and get ready for work. I was working 50+ hours a week, coming home and cooking dinner for hubby. I was so stressed with work that I didn’t “feel” like doing anything. We would watch TV for about an hour and then go to bed about 9pm. It was a rinse and repeat every day. Then the weekends would come and we would be so busy with errands and chores around the farm that before long the weekend was over. And I was becoming more and more stressed and cranky (oops, oh well, no one is perfect!)

Where were my Creative moments? There had not been any. But, after realizing that Creativity was a core component of who I was then I realized I needed to put Creativity back into my life on a more permanent basis.

So, I tried beading (no patience), Crochet (the cat and dog in my lap got in the way and it takes too long to see results), Scrapbooking (paper paper everywhere and I really didn’t like it).

I tried a few more things and then I realized that something I did sometimes gave me joy and pleasure. I sometimes journal and on those mornings when I did get up early to write a page or two I felt more alive! My love of the written words were my outlet for Creativity and I just needed to do MORE of it! So, I started writing procedures for areas at work, I started writing a children’s book, I wrote poems, and I started blogging if for no other purpose than for my own satisfaction. I have found that if I don’t have a written writing project that I am working on then I feel as though I am not fulfilling my Creativity Value that I hold so dear and important!

That is your next step on your map. You need to take your Core Values. The values that mean the most to you.

Those values are your essence and you need to be doing things daily that at least connect to one of your values!

You need to take your list and evaluate your daily actions. What do you do over the course of a week, and are you connecting the dots of your Core Values to your daily actions? Are you doing something that feeds your “YOU”?

You will begin to feel more connected to yourself and you will start finding your path to your purpose – Re-Purposing your life.

Remember, “A map not drawn is a treasure not found”!


  • Denys Kelley

    I never felt the “empty nest” – I think I was prepared to let the kids be adults and fly.
    On the other hand – I had a few friends that had a really hard time with it.
    You are lost and need to find your new purpose as you called it.
    Great article.
    Love the quote at the end!

  • Teri

    Love the content. I’m not an empty nester yet but soon. I’m going to do the map idea, so I’ll be ready. Thank you, Teri : )

  • Carpool Goddess

    The first few months of being an empty nester was hard for me, but not as hard as it could have been had I not created my blog the year before the youngest left. I’m a planner 😉

  • Sandi

    I agree, Kim, it’s so important to live by your values. That’s the only way to be authentic for yourself and others. I’ve been an empty nester for 10 years and I can tell you it’s GREAT! There are many “passages” we go through as girls, young women, wives, moms, and heart-centered older women. Take the time to find what your heart wants – you’re worth it!

  • Kim

    Sandi, thanks for visiting. I love your phrase “heart-centered” older women =) I think I can wear that badge now, and I wear it with pride!

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