I see life as a series of phases, and a new phase is coming up for me with my youngest of two starting university next month! From having found myself in a life situation for the past 25 years where I have been married, had children, have cared for children and family home, I now find myself asking this question: “What do I want to do now?” It feels so strange as I haven’t been there since my twenties! I wanted to share some of my thoughts as several friends are going through similar changes with children leaving home, and we all have our own take on how we feel about it.
What I feel super-grateful for is what I have learned through mindfulness meditation. At the moment, I feel calm and excited about my time! And for all the new experiences my children will have. I don’t know yet how it is going to be when everything happens for real this coming autumn… But we are not there yet 🤸🏽♀️
When practising mindfulness meditation, here are some helpful things the practice teaches you: You don’t need to worry about the future, it hasn’t happened! You learn to naturally bring acceptance to life as it is. You do not need to go to the past either as it is gone. You start living more in the present. And how’s this present moment for me, right now this second? Pretty good actually!
I believe it can easily feel a bit panicky when there is a big change happening in the family, such as when children go off to university. It can perhaps be felt as you “losing” your responsibilities, even your sense of worth? Perhaps especially if your days for so many years have been organised around caring for your children. Suddenly it happens, they reach a stage where they behave more like adults, doing their own thing, and they don’t need you as they used to.
I think the great thing to acknowledge here is that that is how it is supposed to be! And also acknowledge that change will always feel awkward at first, with new and unexpected emotions and thoughts coming up. If you can, just allow what comes up in you to be experienced without judgment. You have done your best for so many years of your child’s life, and now is the time to find out what you want to do with the space and time that is offered to you.
In case you find it tricky with children leaving home, or anything else happening in your life where you feel you have to let go of your responsibilities and the “role” you have been in for several years, start focusing on what is best for you, and what you want to do to be happy. This is not selfish. I truly believe that by doing so, everyone will benefit, including you. Things will fall into place by themselves.
We are supposed to go through challenges to wake up to life and see how fantastic it really is. Personally, I love the fact that I don’t need to take life so seriously anymore. Children leaving home? That’s responsibility dripping off my fingers! Yes, I probably created a lot of unnecessary responsibility in my head for many years! Now starts a natural new phase for us.
The Dalai Lama says that the meaning of life is to be happy. I think those are great words to follow up on, I’ll do my best to live with ease.
I teach mindfulness mediation and yoga in Wimbledon. Mindfulness Monday sessions are starting up again beginning of September! For more info please email me at email@example.com.