Well, here you are. Your life is changing around you and you know that you have to adjust. You’ve passed your 50th birthday. Your family have grown and moved on with their lives.
You begin to think you’re just not needed any longer and you wonder what your purpose in life is now. At a time when you should begin relaxing and enjoying the freedoms you anticipated all those years, you find an emptiness you aren’t certain about. Having been through it, I’m here to tell you that your life isn’t over, it’s just changed.
You miss all the activity the children generated while they were home. They might be in college across the country, in the military in another part of the world, or maybe just across town. Regardless there’s a void to be filled.
You’ve spent years caring for your children, teaching them all they know and building their character. You’ve watched them succeed and fail. You’ve laughed at their antics, cried through their disappointments, and were proud as a peacock with their accomplishments. Your heart has exploded with their joys and broken with their hurts. You are their parent, and always will be.The problem comes when you focus on you and what you’re feeling instead of the facts. The facts are most parents have spent many sleepless nights taking care of their children. It may have been nursing them back to health after a broken arm, or an upset tummy. As they got older you have probably stayed up late to make sure that they return home safely after borrowing your car.
You put them first, just as you should have. Consequently, now it’s your turn. It’s a right that you’ve earned for being on the job for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for many years.
I’m not saying that you’ve done your job and now it’s over, because it’s not. What I am saying is that you are still needed, just in different ways. So don’t sit on the pity-potty, get depressed, and feel sorry for yourself. Set a schedule and follow through. Get busy!
Start with cooking if you like. Cook meals that you will really enjoy now that you can think about yourself instead. Take control of the remote and watch the programs that you enjoy on television, dance to the music of the 60’s in your living-room without anyone pulling faces.
It’s also time to look outside of yourself and past your family. Do you enjoy helping people? Volunteer to coach a team, or help with the youth group. Consider spending time visiting the elderly or sick. There are always those in need of visitors at the hospital. What about feeding the hungry, or volunteering with the Red Cross? You’re help would be greatly appreciated.
Then include physical exercise to burn off stress. Go for walks or ride a bike, join a gym, a golf foursome, or bowling team, or go dancing. Keep your mind busy by working in your garden, or learning new crafts or woodworking projects. Above all, make new friends and laugh heartily. You’ll be better prepared to help others as they too experience life’s changes.
Debe Lange & Shirley Price