The Need to be Needed
"Needs" can come in all shapes and sizes. "Needs" can be physical or emotional. As humans, we are basically needy. We have physical needs of food, water, shelter, and warmth. We also have multiple emotional needs, that grow and change as we travel through the journey of life. I believe that to "feel needed", and "worthwhile" as a person, is a basic requisite to happiness.
"Feeling needed" is also something that for a great part of our lives, we often just don't have to think about. Parents of young children that are pulled between the needs of children and careers, frequently just wish they were not needed so much. That can all that change quickly though, when there are no longer any children at home. No one can actually prepare you for the changes that come with an empty nest.
"Empty Nest Syndrome" is defined in Wikipedia as "a general feeling of loneliness, that parents may feel when one or more children leave home." it is more common for women to have these feelings, and is felt more frequently in today's society, than in the past. Graduation from college, and marriage, often means moving across the country, instead of across the street. Even if family members do live in the same town, independence and autonomy have often overtaken the importance of extended family relationships.
There is a balance that has to be achieved between giving our children their own life, and not being overbearing; and spending a lot of time with them, and remaining a part of their lives.
Appreciate Each Day, Ask for Advice
Appreciate each day, and learn from the past. I can remember my mother-in-law telling us over and over again, when my sons were young; "Wait until they are grown, then you will see how it is." At the time, I let those words go in one ear, and out the other. I rarely asked her, or my mother for advice. I honestly did not get it. I thought that when my kids left home to live their own life, the job would be over with.
My mother-in-law is now deceased, but my own mother is very much alive. I appreciate her much more today, than I did when my children were young. I thought being a good daughter, was to be independent, and not ask for her help. Now I see that I was wrong. While as mothers, we understand our children want to be independent, and live their own lives; as grandmothers - there is nothing we want more than to help and be needed.
Today, I appreciate my mother more than ever. Even though she lives in another state, I enjoy very much the time I spend with her. I love to talk to her on the phone, and follow her advice in many areas.
Fill your Nest with a Pet
One of the best ways to conquer the empty nest is to get a pet. There are animal shelters in every city and small town across this country. Dogs and cats are longing to be adopted, and find a forever home. Dogs and cats give so much love to their owners.
If you don't want a dog or cat, consider a bird, turtle or even a hampster. My grandmother always had parakets, which flew loose around her kitchen. She talked to them constantly, and they would ride around on her shoulders. My mother has a turtle, who has been her pet for fifty years.
Life is short. Live happy!