You blinked, and your babies grew up. You feel the hot flashes of your new peri-menopausal to menopausal stage. Your mood swings make your empty nest seem lonely and sad. And if you’re being honest, you are grieving: the loss of your grown up babies, the end of a career, the end of a relationship, or even your waistline.
Like it or not, you are in a new season, and you might be saying “And now what?” Maybe you’re questioning your own purpose.
I believe every woman in transition needs a new purpose to fill her empty heart, and give her loved ones the space they need to flourish.
A little about me…
In 2003, I dropped my youngest child off at college across town, and at the same time, my husband was offered a job across the country. Suddenly, I was a broken-hearted empty-nester.
I needed my kids so much, it hurt my insides. I was on the verge of becoming a “smother-mother,” calling my kids too often, checking in too much. I had a lot of “left-over-love” to give, but my kids didn’t need all of it anymore. How do normal people deal with the sadness of their empty nest?
Mentoring others gave me the perfect place for God to transform my “left-over-love” into “love-on-purpose!” My new connections with my young mom friends gave my adult kids the space they needed to flourish on their own. Which transformed me into the “cool mom” my own kids wanted to hang out with!
The 5 P ‘s
(stick with me here)
Your purpose in this season can be identified by using The Five Ps:
to engage you
Right now, you need to look at a single project that you have been waiting to take on till you had time. Make the time now. Unclutter that closet! Get all those family photos sorted and scanned! A project will give you a feeling of accomplishment. And you need that right now. Right now!
(Besides Your Spouse), or People
You need a friend besides your spouse. Call all the people you have been “waiting till I have time” to have a good catch up session. Perhaps you will chat with someone from your good friends to groom into your person in this season of life. If you are lucky, maybe you will find a few friends to share your new adventures.
A Place to Contribute
Perhaps you always wanted to volunteer at the food bank or hospital, or some place else near and dear to your heart. You may have given to a charity during your career, and now you could serve with your time and energy too. Mentoring is a great way to lift your spirit while making a contribution to others who need it. Your church may need your gifts, or have a place for you to serve purposefully.
as a creative outlet
You have wandered the aisles of Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and wanted to pick up a hobby, but you have never had the time. NOW is the time. Explore quilting, or glass cutting or crocheting. Travel to distant places, or learn about them at the library. Learn to make jams, or dainty chocolates, or hone your skills for a chili cook-off. Go to a new Bible study or book club. Try it all! Then find the hobbies that suit you best.
to keep you fit for whatever comes next
Perhaps you have a gym membership that has languished, or you would love to play pickleball with your Person (see above). When you were younger, did you have an interest in dancing? Find a place to do it again now. Take up golfing or swimming. Go to the park in good weather, or the mall in bad weather, and log your steps a few times a week. Choose an activity (or two) you can truly enjoy at least twice a week.
Why five Ps? you ask.
Because they won’t all stick. You will find two or three that slide on like your favorite jammies and the rest will just be like lost support garments in the underwear drawer (that you just found while de-cluttering). You might trot them out for special events, but let’s face it, you don’t wear them well (enough).
The “And Now What” Community
Here in the And Now What? Community, we will look at the Five Ps with every single page and post of this website. Every time you read something here, you will walk away with an idea for transforming at least one aspect of your purpose through the Five Ps.
I personally believe so much in mentoring younger women as a project or a pastime, that I will offer links to Mentor Prep Academy as an option. I will also have guest posts and interviews from others with expertise in pastimes and projects to help you take on the Five Ps of Purpose with panache!
When you become a member of the “And Now What?” community, you’ll learn how to use the unique (and maybe a little dormant) skill set you already have to:
• Create your own lifestyle of purpose which allows your loved ones the space they need to flourish
• Serve a younger generation who crave your example, keep you younger than Botox injections, and challenge your perspectives.
• Choose pastimes and physical activities that bring you joy, and minimize the muscle ache.
• Become the “cool lady” everyone wants to hang out with–even your own kids!
• Grow older gracefully with purpose and panache.
So I have one question for you so I can head down the Five P path in the direction that will mean the most to you:
Of the Five Ps (Project, Person, Pastime, Place and Physical Activity), which is the scariest one for you?
“Chris has such an amazing way to love and understand empty-nest women,
and God is always the natural force behind it all!”
Carol, a dear friend and mentor to Chris
Don’t wait till you are “ready!”
If you want to join a community of mentors–like-minded empty nest women who have already graduated to being “the cool mom”– and learn to use the strength of your mood swings and hotflashes to make a difference in the hearts of a younger generation, while you set your own adult kids free to flourish, sign up here, get the Mentor Prep Kit and get started, right where you are!
Join the Facebook community too!
A note to my new empty-nester friends:
I want this blog, and all the materials I provide, to be meaningful to you and I don’t want to waste your time. Tell me, what is your biggest stressor right now about empty-nesting? Answer me back, and perhaps I can send you a link to an earlier post that will help you. Or maybe, your topic is one our community needs to address! We can’t help others until you answer the question: