Last night something happened.
I was getting ready for the night, and found hot steam spewing out from the Muslim shower, (it is used by all Muslims for cleaning the posterior ends with water.) Luckily, I was spared the embarrassment and pain as I was lightly burnt. (Why do I get burnt in parts which cannot be left open nor shown?) Last year it was the upper thigh which got badly burnt. It was right before my daughter’s wedding (Ruksati ). This time, near the bum – yes, I do have it – luckily, I had all the right medications at hand. I also put some egg white on it, which I remembered someone mentioning, last time. Felt more soothing.
I called my domestic help to put off the geyser which was obviously malfunctioning. Next morning all was good. Turned out, the thermostat had stopped working. The point is that it is possible to live on your own and manage it all. So, what is this post about? It is about starting out on your own once again in life. It is the empty nest syndrome and it can be a liberation depending on how you look at it.
So, last year my youngest daughter moved out, to her own home. Naturally, I’m happy for her. I remember how my husband and I loved our first home. I’m sure my grown up children are loving their own homes. This is the cycle of life. Thanks to Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp we are in touch with each other on a daily basis.
Love this life too.
Empty Nest Syndrome, or not?
A couple starts out as two people living together. Then the kids arrive and the couple just dive into their lives; working full time in their own professional lives too. It literally becomes all about and around the children, the job, and making ends meet. It is also a time to save for one’s own and children’s future. One by one each of the little birds start flying away. In my case, the Daddy bird flew away (to his heavenly abode) too.
In a way, I’m lucky, I have had my parents and my youngest with me for the longest time. Lately, with my youngest daughter’s marriage, I’m now going through the empty nest.
At first I thought I was ‘alone’, but of course I’m not, my mother is with me. Is there a love greater than a mother’s love? So, there is meaning and love in my life. In the beginning, I’d think who am I to cook for? Then I realized, that a newly married coupe are just two, and one cooks so many new dishes.
My mother and I are ‘two’ again. Of course I have my staff of helpers too. So, I’m fine, enjoying this new life I’ve built for myself.
‘Empty nest’ is a time to celebrate:
The important thing is that an empty nest means that you have been successful in your work with your children. You made them independent, qualified and capable enough to fly off on their own. Isn’t this the whole objective of parenting? Now, it is the time to watch them succeed in their lives on their own. You only need to bask in the happiness of watching them make it successfully. It becomes even more wonderful when you see them with their life partners and settled.
We need to accept that this is the most beautiful part of parenting. This is a time when you see that you are no longer ‘responsible’ for them. In fact your children are adults whom you can depend on too.
New Meaning to life:
Now is the time, to do two things:
1. Take responsibility for your own care:
Finally, I have the time to take care of myself, I can do this in so many ways:
- Get massages done: I’ve started getting regular massages done. (I discovered that my cleaning girl is brilliant at it, and has done it professionally too.) Previously, I never made time for myself.
- Change daily routine: Relax, and change daily routine, to put more rest and leisure in it. (I find it hard to relax and do nothing, most of the time I’m doing at least two things at a time.) Cook your own favorite dishes for yourself – and your neighbors, if you like.
- Regular exercises: I cannot stress this enough. At least one hour daily, you need to walk, do yoga or any other exercise. If nothing else, put on a YouTube video and dance. (Who is looking?!)
- Annual medical check-ups: Do this every year. But, be careful you don’t become a hypochondriac. Keep this to the minimum. I’m more interested in alternative medicines using natural herbs and spiritual treatments. It is a whole science.
- No need to work if you don’t want to: Most of the time we have done jobs to make ends meet to fulfil our children’s needs. Now, you only work outside, if you want to!
- Get a new style: change your taste in clothes, and hair styles too. Stop doing things that suited you long ago, now it’s a new you, and one needs to change a bit to adjust to the ‘new me.’
- Manage your finances well: Be in full command of all your resources. Notice where these are being wasted. There will be many people trying to steal your stuff and get your funds from you. So, beware.
2. Develop and grow yourself:
Read this blog post of mine about the three Trimesters of life, here. Then you will know what I mean. You most probably have at least thirty more years to live. So, watch YouTube videos of centenarians. Know that if Allah has given you life, it is for a purpose. Find your purpose, if you haven’t found it yet. Explore options and get to work. Here are a few ideas:
Explore your hobbies:
Remember all those activities you never had time for? This is the time to do them. Join art or music classes. Read all the books you want to read in the world. Write that novel. Learn something completely new. Specially, enhance your technical skills.
Catch up regularly with friends:
Meet friends regularly. I know, you’ll say there is Covid19, so meet them on group video calls. Plan on going for trips with your friends. Join groups which take you on trips. They arrange everything for you. Plan ahead, so that the moment this Covid19 goes, you will be ready with your plans. Why not a trip to Turkey, or Egypt. Definitely a trip to Hunza would be great. What is there to stop you now?
This is the most satisfying way to use your time. Give it to those who deserve it. Your amazing skills of management and childcare need a better outlet now. Help in education and care of orphans and destitute people. Join the nearest SOS village – or any other such organization – and take up responsibilities there. I used to go to give tuition to selected children in Karachi’s SOS village.
Be aware of dangers and pitfalls:
- Your staff: You need to be careful in making sure your staff is genuine and is not careless. While taking great care of them, you need to beware of those who are trying to talk you into parting with your cash. I’ve recently found exactly this issue in one of our staff members. They do it so well, that you don’t even realize how much they are taking from you besides their pays. So, install cameras in the house. If you cannot manage the issues related to these cameras, call the company, to do it.
- Security: get proper security system installed for your own security.
- Have a routine: but break this routine too. Every little while, you should do something totally different from your ‘normal’ routine. This is when you will find out some things untoward happening in your home. I recently found out that when I give a ‘break’ to a staff member, he is having a second job in afternoons, without my permission. So, it is important to stay very alert. You be candid with your staff and make sure they are the same with you.
Break your own rules:
I suppose this is the best part – even you don’t have to listen to your own rules now. I mean, life has changed, and you can change too. For instance, here I am at ten in the morning, tapping away on my laptop. I’m still in bed, after my breakfast in bed! I watch motivational videos and television in the morning. (I’m trying to incorporate some cycling into my mornings too.) Having breakfast in bed is a real luxury, (for thirty-two years of my life, I would make the breakfast myself. Or make it available for self-help if needed.)
I’ve changed all the rules, as most of them were for the children, at different stages and phases of their lives. Now, I’m free and liberated. Many things one did to be an example to them, now are not needed. Yippeeeee! Now no one is watching! 😉 I’m free to do as I please.
What the heck, you can become your own teen self again if you like.
Come on indulge yourself, and stay blessed! 🙂