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Let’s all live our lives and enjoy every phase in it to its fullest. Here are 5 tips to avoid the empty nest syndrome during our later years of lives.
“So both of you were alone for Christmas?” has been an invariable question directed at us during all conversations in the holiday season. I curb the technical writer in me that points out that ‘both’ and ‘alone’ are contradictory in a sentence, but instead nod my head in agreement, and arrange the face to look suitably wistful. The husband looks surprised, but as usual chooses to be quiet about it.
By default, this is followed by another question “Boring, no?”
“No!” I want to say and fling the conversation onto a tangent, but instead I nod politely again, too lazy to explain the ramblings of my mind; that this is just another phase of life that I’m thoroughly enjoying just as I did with the other phases in life.
When I do a mental rewind, every stage of life comes up with its share of happy memories – of a pampered young girl, a happy-go-lucky student, a shy young bride, a proud mother of two, a budding professional; the roles are countless and the memories are endless. Does the mind have an uncanny knack of selective remembering just the joyous and colourful moments, or is it that life has been bountiful? Guess it is both.
While most people seem to think that I suffer from an empty nest syndrome at this stage of life, the reality is that I do not. I have a job that I enjoy, an understanding partner, a respectable bank balance, some fulfilling hobbies, and my days are full. So here I am, enjoying this phase of not having to deal with red-lined report cards, missed calls and lost phones, stay-overs and wake-up calls, Hardrock Cafes and Mood Indigos, AIEEEs and CETs, night-outs and hip-hops, world cups and IPLs.
Here are some tips to make sure you stay happy and satisfied even when your children have left home to pursue their own life.
Go through life as though you are unwrapping and eating a bar of your favourite chocolate. Admire the colours of the packaging, slowly unwrap the cover, gasp when you see your favorite brand of chocolate nestling in the golden wrap, break out a piece, roll it in your mouth, savour the taste. Every move is meaningful – and gives you pleasure. If you do this in life, you will not yearn for the times gone by; instead, you’ll look back with gratification. Learn to look back at the good life you have lived with a smile and not a sigh.
In the daily hustle and bustle of life, make sure that your relationship with your life partner doesn’t get into a familiar rut. Even when your days are busy, set aside a little time to connect with your partner, share a few laughs, and thus nourish and grow your relationship. Grow together. The children may fly away, but your life partner cum best friend is your life-long anchor.
It need not be the traditional 9 to 5, it may not pay you big, but having a job (by that, I mean any occupation) that keeps you in touch with the outside world and keeps you happy is indeed a confidence booster. Your job is your personal space, where you can think and act independently, regardless of external circumstances. Plus it keeps your mind active, opens your world to avenues beyond your home and brings in some money too. So, keep your job and work at it!
Your husband may be your best friend – but you don’t always borrow money from your best friend, do you? Make sure you save a respectable 10-20% of what you earn every month and keep it aside for yourself. Whatever income band you are in, it boosts your self-confidence to think that you have a safe kitty for your own needs, without having to depend on anyone. Remember, no woman is truly independent till she is financially independent. Knowing that you have the power to write your own cheques when you need to, will make you look forward to an self-indulgent life.
Be it reading or playing a musical instrument, having your own hobbies keeps you busy and engaged. Wake up early in life to the fact that your son’s homework is not your hobby. Keep some time for the things you like to do. Think and live beyond your children’s life. Your hobbies, of course, make you a happier person and also an interesting person to the world around you.
Now is your time – follow all these tips and you’ll never experience a boring moment in your life – ever!
Image of an old couple via Shutterstock
Independent career woman, now dabbling with entrepreneurship.
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