Launch and Re-Launch: Embracing Your Empty Nest

I recently stumbled again on one of my favorite quotes from Pulitzer prize winner, Mary Oliver, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Naturally, I thought about seniors finishing their last year of high school, preparing to launch.  As I chewed on Oliver’s words what started to surface was how having the youngest child leaving the nest can trigger a “parent re-launch.”  Sure, the tether to your children may be in place for a bit (e.g., arranging trips home for winter breaks, laundry marathons that might pull parents back into a familiar spin-cycle, etc.), but with four months on either side of a school break, there's plenty of time for parents to do practically anything. New endeavors may require training or going back to school to re-tool for what you want to do, but why not have another go at your “one wild and precious life”? Moving from full-house to empty nest doesn't necessarily translate to loss. Embracing your empty nest may be opening a door for you to walk through and find your next act.  Re-launching from the empty nest is very much like the college search journey. Having resources and ideas to provide focus can help determine your direction and propel you towards something you hadn't considered. If you’ve spent the last few years supporting your kids and moving in multiple directions you may now have the time to consider what path is calling to you:  teaching, going all-in as a working artist, launching a business, or becoming a global traveler. My friend Molly found her next act in a way that tied all the things she loved to do with skills she'd been using for years. Take a read.

When my youngest of three children was entering high school, I found myself in a bit of a panic!  The oldest was halfway through college, the middle child just beginning college and here I was, facing empty nesting in only three short years.  Having spent the last 20+ years as a Domestic Engineer or SAHM (stay at home mom), volunteering for various nonprofits & school functions, sitting on Boards, and organizing activities & projects nonstop - I could see the writing on the wall.  There is only so much golf, hiking, workouts, reading books, cultural attraction visitations, travel, etc. one person can look forward to without wondering how that would make a person feel "complete." Take that coupled with a major milestone in age, and it's no wonder panic set in.  

Traditional jobs where you show up 9-5, work occasional weekends and then given ten days vacation time weren't appealing.  I wanted to work when and where it was convenient to my lifestyle, help people in some way as I had done with nonprofit volunteering, and partner up with people who were like-minded in achieving a quality of life where you worked to live and not the other way around.  Consulting came up in discussions time and time again, but consulting what?? That's when the network marketing opportunity presented itself, matching everything on my bucket list. I didn't have to be an expert, just represent the experts. No stocking of product. No parties unless I wanted to present the business opportunity & products ”en masse”, and easily limit myself to my own network.  Basically, I could craft this job as a business of my own, working from home or wherever I had wifi, using the phone, text, email & social media to attract customers and/or business partners. I didn't need to bug people, just share what I knew to be true and ask questions.

What I know is the products and opportunity are real, they work and can often times transform a life.  My oldest now feels & looks beautiful on the outside, always working on that inner beauty. My middle child chose to partner up with me in my business, thus learning valuable entrepreneurial skills which secured her an internship which eventually led to a career job after graduation. My youngest now a senior has a new found respect for women reinventing themselves without sacrificing their maternal desires to be there before and after school.  And my husband, bless his heart, has said "thank you" numerous times to me for finding a way in which I can contribute significantly to the bottom line; contributing toward our retirement, funding our desire to travel and looking years younger than his age.

Empty nesting is now just a new chapter in my life, one in which I am looking forward to with anticipation, not panic.  My business keeps me connected to my network of people I've come in contact with over the last several years, opens up the opportunity to meet new people & form friendships, feeds my need to help in some form or another and has allowed me to defy my age!

Sharing Molly's story is just one way to help soon-to-be empty nesters re-imagining their launch. Are you wondering how you might create your own re-launch?

Talk to Molly. Looking for more ideas on how to get started? Start reading these articles.

The Forgotten Ones: How To Return to Work as an Empty-Nester

Strategies To Help You Rejoin The Workforce After Having Kids

It’s Never Too Late to Start a Brilliant Career

Not quite ready for a full re-launch? Try some of these ideas:

Top 21 Empty Nest Things To Do. Check out some of the local favorites.

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