October 12, 2018

Clues that our “Nests” are too Full & it’s time to Begin Again.

The concept of the empty nest seems to be coming at me almost daily—talks of one, seeing one, even putting one on my vision board for no apparent reason.

And yet, nothing really happens for no apparent reason.

This empty nest idea seems to be everywhere I look. Even a friend, who is a master sculpture artist, is working on a fabulous brass nest that is so large, 15 feet wide, a person could sit in it.

I’ve actually been in my own empty nest for years.

So many years now that I know my nest is sturdy, because I made it myself. It has all the ingredients necessary for a solid foundation and has been put together over time with love, compassion, dignity, and hope. My empty nest has served me well as I have sold businesses, changed careers, had my children leave home for college—one even moved to Saint Louis which is far, far away from me, and of course they took my grandchildren.

I’ve had miscarriages, divorces, illnesses, and betrayals. I retired, my husband retired, we both started new careers in our 60s, and in each case, I reinvented myself—sometimes easier than others.

So you could say that my empty nest is quite full at this point.

However, that nest of mine has recently turned into “not quite enough.”

Looking into the deep, dark center of my nest, I realize my work has, somehow, taken over my entire being. My homey, cozy nest now feels closed up and stagnant.

Struggling to reach the top, I yearn to see a bit of sun, a rainbow perhaps, or even a bit of blue sky. And I am overwhelmed with a new sense of awareness, a wakefulness. Shall I refer to it as my a-ha moment?

My mind churns as the words assemble in a new context—empty the nest!

I am not experiencing empty nest syndrome; I am experiencing an overcrowded nest syndrome. So instead of reinventing my nest again, it is obvious that I am wanting it to be empty for the first time that I can remember.

Empty the nest!

This nest I have lovingly curated is now overflowing with obligation, shattered dreams, other people, other places, and other things.

My nest has become so full, there is no room for new wonder, new delight, or a new purpose for me. I look deeply and carefully, and find in a tiny little corner to the right…ah, there I am.

Overwhelmed with misplaced dreams and opportunities, callings that were not heard or realized for oh so many reasons, I now recognize these feelings of discontent, of not being connected, of not being helpful, or supportive.

It must be time to start over again.

As I empty this nest, I touch, acknowledge, and thank each piece as I let them go with the understanding that they no longer serve me.

A twinge of excitement washes over me. I feel both brave and fearful.

The unknown beckons me gently, just a nudge knowing that I’m not quite ready to fly.

Will I remember how to fly?

Am I too old, too fragile, too insecure—too secure?

No matter. I simply empty the nest. Only time will tell when and where the next adventure lies.

Do you feel this way too?

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Nancy Ballard

author: Nancy Ballard

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