1. Change is Inevitable. Attitude is Everything!
One thing we all know for sure is everything is constantly changing and being uncertain about the future may stir up feelings of anxiety.
As our children leave the nest it is our responsibility to learn to access our natural generative energy. Stagnation, despair, boredom, loneliness or indifference leave us feeling lifeless. On the other hand; trying something new, being open and flexible, becoming involved in the life of community allows us to cultivate a more positive attitude as we grow older.
Later in life the ego can no longer drive our experience. In his book Shadow Dance, David Richo creates an acronym for the ego’s FACE:
F- fear; A-attachment; C- control; E- entitlement.
True wisdom comes when we shift our allegiances from fear to curiosity, from attachment to letting go, from control to trust, and from entitlement to humility.
The second half of life challenges us to love differently in relationships, not controlling or possessing others, and not permitting ourselves to be controlled and possessed.
How will we know if this new way of living is working?
Patience, tolerance, and compassion emerge which signals we have moved past fear and pride.
2 . Be a Life-Long Learner. Live or Leave a Legacy!
Create a bucket list on things you would like to do!
There also could be two lists: Remember there should be separateness and togetherness…. Some things you might want to do alone or with friends and your partner may want to make their own list as well.
Keep in mind a great quote from Kahlil Gibran: “Your children are not your children, they come through you, but they are not from you, they are with you, but they don’t belong to you.” We need to release our children from our expectations, they are going to have different ideas than us, we need to respect that.
If we do not do meaningful work as we age, any one of the following three obstacles identified by Dr. Cohen— fixed psychological patterns, fixed ideas, and unresolved family and social situations.
Each day holds new opportunities, but we have to be ready to see them.
Studies show that fostering our creativity in old age benefits us in the following ways:
- Creativity strengthens our morale later in life.
- It contributes to physical health as we age.
- It enriches relationships.
- It is our greatest legacy
The goal is to create, generate, and serve meaningfully so that our lives can become our message.
3. Acceptance & Gratitude. Live in the Moment!
It is wise to think about the past and learn from it, but it isn’t wise to BE in the past. It’a the same with the future. It is smart to prepare for the future, but not very smart to worry about something we can’t control…. Accept it!!
When we see and accept the present and experience it just the way it is, we are able to be happy!
Being present is simply who you are, just the way you are right now! Pain is the difference between what is and what we want it to be!
We need to break through two illusions that keep self-importance and self-deception in place:
- Other people are responsible for our happiness.
- Believing that we can change them.
When we release these from our relationships the dynamics change, we become more self-sufficient, collaborative, and interdependent.
The lies that keep us from accessing our true self are:
- If only I was rich, I would be happy.
- If only I were famous, I would be happy.
- If only I could find the right person to marry, then I would be happy.
- If only I had more friends, then I would be happy.
- If only I was more attractive, then I would be happy.
- If someone close to me hadn’t died, then I would be happy.
- If the world were a better place, then I would be happy.
- If only our children were still home, then I would be happy.
When we stop chasing these lies we become liberated from our own fears, frantic strivings, false beliefs and attachments. Reconnect the search for happiness with values that support our character and moral fiber. In the book, The Second Half of Life, by Angeles Arrien, PH.D, she writes about the essential characteristics and qualities we must befriend are four symbolic bones in our body:
- Backbone: the quality of courage, to stand by one’s heart or core
- Wishbone: the quality of hope, to stay open to dreams, blessings and possibilities
- Funny bone: the quality of humor, to foster joy and maintain flexibility
- Hollow bone: the quality of trust, to maintain openness, curiosity, and faith
Gratitude is an attitude… when we practice saying or writing one thing we are grateful for every day… we shift our perspective and look at the second half of our lives in a much more positive way!!!
For additional information there is some great blogs out there:
- Parents who have a child going to college: www.seekingfreedomroad.com
- Top 15 Empty Nest Blogs and Websites blog.feedspot.com
Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to know if this helps you. Feel free to comment below.
Maria Bucci, M.Ed LPC DWC-F. Daring Way Facilitator by Dr. Brené Brown