The Almost Empty Nest

The empty nest can come early when your kid is involved in an activity.

At least it’s starting to feel pretty quiet around here.

My older daughter, Isabelle, is in her first year of college. My younger one, Jessica, is at ballet. Jessica is at the dance studio six days a week. It’s her home away from home; many nights she doesn’t finish until 9 p.m. She spends some weekends away at competitions.

All of which is leaving this house a little quieter than I would like, giving me a real sense of what the empty nest will feel like.

So much for complaining about lack of time alone with my husband. Now I have plenty of it, as well as lots of time to myself. In some ways it’s a nice change. I always did like thinking my own thoughts. But I miss the hubbub of my early parenting years, which I chronicled in Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life. And the quiet has also brought some soul-searching.

Who am I without kids? What do I do with my time? How do I keep life interesting?

These are big midlife questions that can drive you crazy, and I think they’ve been partly responsible for the anxiety and depression I’ve experienced the last three years. There’s nothing like a quiet house to make you wonder who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. It can be hard to find a purpose as grand and meaningful as parenting.

But when I’ve tried to explain these feelings to my psychiatrists words have failed me.

So I’m grappling with the almost empty nest alone and probably not very well. About all I’ve figured out is that the quieter things get around here the more I need to be writing. Nothing has made me feel better lately than posting to this blog again.

It turns out that Twinkletoes isn’t the only one in the family who is blessed with a gift.

Writing is something I can always come back to.

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What activities are you pursuing as the kids grow up? Share by commenting below!

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  • Mark Ravelli

    November 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm
    Reply

    Your writing is inspiring, Jennifer. Continue doing what you're doing. You are making a big difference in this world and it also very healthy to […] Read MoreYour writing is inspiring, Jennifer. Continue doing what you're doing. You are making a big difference in this world and it also very healthy to get those feelings out on paper Read Less

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.