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Why I Hate the Term ‘Empty Nester’

August 17, 2022 • Mindset

At this time of year, there are so many transitions— the end of summer, the beginning of school, and for many people settling into new jobs or new roles still due to COVID’s aftermath. My family just had a huge transition: my husband and I dropped off our youngest twin girls at college. We just became “empty nesters,” and the more I reflect on the term empty nester, the more I’ve decided there is nothing “empty” about it!

The Emotions of “Drop-Off-Day”

We’ve been preparing for the empty nest for some time, and on drop-off-day, I experienced all of the emotions—tears; melancholy; joy that they’ve made it; excitement for their adventures ahead… and everything else in between!

In the weeks leading up to drop-off-day, a friend shared a really special thought with me: the feelings we experience at drop-off-day are not some big new feeling. They are feelings that have been happening all along! From the first day of kindergarten, the first solo drive, the first date, all of these firsts have just been the start of a new chapter.

I remember being so upset the first time I dropped off my eldest at daycare, but then I adjusted and came to see all the great benefits of having her in school. I remember the fear of my daughters learning to drive, but I also remember the joy that came with their new independence!

At each step, you know what? The world didn’t end. We made it work and my daughters thrived. Nothing fell apart, we pivoted and grew together as parents and as a family.

Becoming an Empty Nester is Not an Ending, but a New Beginning

So yes, becoming an empty nester is perhaps the end to what we’ve known so far as parents. However, I choose to view it as the beginning of so many things for all of us.

My daughters will have the chance to experience the joys of leaving home and experiencing new things at college. My husband and I will have more time to travel and to explore what lies in our next chapter. And, I will have more time to focus on growing my business and investing in my own passions.

Instead of stressing about the “what ifs” and worrying about having an empty home. I am CHOOSING to tell myself a different story. I am CHOOSING to tell myself that this isn’t the end, but a new and exciting opportunity for my whole family to grow.

When we can shift our mindset and tell ourselves the right story, our perspective shifts from having an empty nest, to a new, different nest. To me, a new nest is a new chapter, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!

My Challenge to You

So should you find yourself coming upon a big transition, such as becoming an “empty nester,” I challenge you to change your mindset and the way you anticipate the change.

One thing I did to help guide me in my mindset shift from an empty nest to a new nest, was to write myself a letter. I wrote myself a note to remind me that I could do it and that they were prepared, that they were strong, and that it was not the end at all. It’s the beginning.

It’s the beginning of an awesome new chapter with my husband, it’s the beginning of a new chapter with our girls, and the truth is, it’s the beginning of more exciting and amazing transitions.

Mindset matters, mindset shifts are powerful.

My Daughters
My girls at Auburn Bid Day. Go ADPi!

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The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset.

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