The Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, Episode 154
Christine: Hi, I’m Coach Christine. This is my podcast, it’s the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, and we’re on episode #154. Tap 30 seconds ahead if this isn't your first time listening and want to skip this introduction portion. I focus on mothers who are freaking out about the empty nest ahead - we'll take you from freaking out to feeling freaking awesome. No worries, though, all are welcome here, as I’m all about coaching you to become the C.E.O. of Your Life and in my world, C.E.O. stands for Conscious Effective Olympian. You’ll do this by leveling-up
your life in small increments - those small wins add up to big changes.
I appreciate that you pressed play on this episode today. Here we go…
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This podcast is my gift to you: a parent adjusting to the idea of an empty nest, or possibly a student who’s wondering how your parents are feeling about you heading out on your own. These podcast episodes will have a base of life coaching infused with reminders to cheer yourself on, and maybe with a dash of may alter-ego, Sally, the hotline video operator popping in from time to time. I’m here to remind you that you should be your own biggest fan.
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The big (and heavy) topic for this episode is divorce - I'm opening up on how we (my husband and I) are disentangling our relationship through divorce. Is it a how to for everyone? [giggle] Probably not but it has/is becoming my husband and I's how to, and since I needed to hear from others their experience, I thought maybe someone might need to hear ours - or, mine because I certainly can't speak for my soon to be ex-husband.
If you wanna jump around in the episode, look for the time markers in the show notes.
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My Wish for You Today
My wish for you today is that you discover, or rediscover, something about yourself that you love. You know, that thing that when you think about it, you know it is special and the corner of your mouth rises up with a grin because that part of you - or that talent - or gift of yours - is pretty freaking amazing. Give yourself permission to stop what you are doing now and think about it - or take time to discover it - and lean into it. Be proud of it. Own it. You are amazing!
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New Things. New Things. New Things!
So many new things have happened but I'll pick two big ones in my personal life.
First, I received a TikTok video sponsorship! Helix Sleep sent me a mattress to review in exchange for a couple of videos about the mattress. I can't even begin to tell you how exciting this is for me, although, to be honest, part of me was really concerned because I'm awful at lying, so I did have a fear that I wasn't going to love the mattress. Thank goodness, it is freaking amazing - I want to go lay in it now it's so comfortable. Should you be curious, I'll put a link to my first video in my show notes. In that video I share how it is delivered in a box and also show the entire unboxing - our cat Lego supervised. If you are in the market for a mattress, I have a link for $200 off a Helix Sleep mattress and they'll send you a couple of pillows too - a link to that will be in my show notes, as well.
My other big new thing is that I was officially served with divorce papers, which means the 90-day countdown begins until it can be official. Such a weird thing and because of that, I thought I'd do a second episode about divorce in the empty nest, as I think it is important. I see so many things about reconnecting with your partner in the empty nest and it is fantastic if you are able to do so but for those who aren't - here is your reminder that you are not alone. That your worth is not based on your marriage. You are amazing no matter your relationship status. And you may even be happier.
In Your Empty Nest Coach-land, things that are new is that I'm actually no longer working at the grocery store which means I have a full two days off a week, again - which hasn't happened in quite some time - and that means, I've had time to do things like get back to working on our flock space, and this podcast. Yay, I'm so excited!
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My Lessons Learned
Divorce in the Empty Nest
As mentioned earlier, I am in the process of a divorce. I wasn't the one who ultimately asked for it but I was the one who first mentioned the word divorce and gave my husband permission to consider it. Want to know why? Yeah, sometimes I do to [ha!]. But I'm going to be really real here in this episode about things that I think might help others, and also remember (in case you skipped this in the beginning) I'm sharing how we are handling it and things that have helped me. Should you be experiencing divorce or have it on your mind - always, always use your own internal GPS for guidance.
A few days after my husband's request, our discussion and quick decision to proceed with divorce, I went back and listened to episode 119 of my podcast - that one is titled 'does the empty nest cause divorce?'. Oh my goodness, it brought me so much peace. It is weird to have your past self comfort your current self. But that's what happened. So, if you are in the process of divorce or considering it - I encourage you to listen to that episode before the rest of this one. It is a really good starting point. And, honestly, I'm kind of fascinated by how helpful it was to me.
To be completely transparent with you, when you listen to that episode, you'll notice I put something out there that was big - especially in the "still listening?" portion. From where I sit now, I think that was me directly talking to myself, and, I admit to you today, that I hadn't yet done it myself. I knew I needed to at some point but man, it is freaking scary. I guess episode 119 was my way of preparing myself for the future - or where I am presently.
Anyway, after recording and making that episode live last year, there were some thought-deliveries that kept arriving in my mind that I couldn't quite let go of. I feel sharing this with you is important since I always talk about managing our thought-deliveries. Sometimes the ones that hang on need to be sorted and moved somewhere else, and sometimes they require deeper inspection.
The latter was the case for me.
What I'm about to share with you is not meant to make you feel bad for me, or bad for my soon to be ex-husband, or for you to take sides. Look, none of that matters in my life or his, we each have our own stories and plans to manage. I'm sharing this with you because a while ago I needed someone to share their experience with me - for me to learn and consider divorce as an option despite it being the opposite of everything I was told my whole life. It allowed me to give permission to both of us to consider it, and it allowed us both, ultimately, to be free.
So whether this episode resonates with you or not, keep it in mind in case someone you know might need it in the future.
And a final note before I proceed, I am NOT pro-divorce. I'm pro considering divorce. What feels better...knowing your partner WANTS to be with you or wondering if they do?
Something I heard a while back from someone was that they they check-in each year with their husband to see if they would choose each other again if they met today. And she was always excited that the answer was yes.
Oh, the emotions that came up for me when I first heard this. What if... what if they wouldn't? What if you have different answers? What if... What if...
That stayed with me for a while. Now, as you know if you've listened to me for a while, I've been cleaning up my thought-deliveries for years, and when I recorded the divorce episode I mentioned, the words of this person came back to me, and I also felt a bit horrified because if I was honest with myself, I had no proof based on recent experiences that my husband would choose me today - and I was fairly certain he wouldn't.
To be honest, I wasn't sure how I felt.
Anytime divorce did come up in topic he always said, "divorce isn't an option."
Maybe that was supposed to bring us comfort. I know he meant well. But it never brought me comfort and I really wasn't sure why until I had the courage to look deeper into my own thoughts. Which was really tough to do. Ultimately, I landed on when divorce isn't an option, then you're stuck. Does he feel stuck? Am I stuck? Are we both stuck? What if it was an option?
When you can't get out of something because you can't get out of something, what is really going on? Are you happily married to the love of your life and can't wait to grow old with them or is 'divorce not an option'. I wanted the former and I, honestly, wasn't feeling either of us were there.
While I sound pretty calm and peaceful about this, now, please know that I've done a lot of healing over the last five months. I've been sad. I've been angry. I've been overwhelmed - and you know I don't like using the word overwhelmed, but I chose it more than a few days and owned it.
Considering all of this was NOT easy.
There are a lot of reasons I've been less podcasty over the last few months and it is because I was working on myself a lot, and navigating this transition. It isn't easy. It sucks. It sucks big time and it is CRAZY scary.
Anyway, I'm a little all over the place, but six months or so after my Divorce in the Empty Nest episode aired, I (with the help of a margarita) I brought up the possibility of considering divorce to my husband. I don't even know what sparked it in the moment. It was my daughter's graduation weekend, we were away, and talking about the future - the two of us- and I guess I felt if I didn't say it now, I may never say it. What did I think was going to happen? Honestly, I had NO idea. I didn't actually think we'd get a divorce, to be honest.
I think I thought that we'd have a discussion, work through some things and realize that we are both overworked, exhausted and find maybe some hobbies to do together and work things out long-term. Rediscover some things missing in our relationship, and find a future together. I think I thought that was going to be the catalyst for that to happen.
Maybe that's what I thought.
But as the conversation continued, I found myself saying things like, "don't stay married to me because you have to provide for us, I'll figure things out." "don't stay married to me because divorce isn't an option, stay married to me because you love me, we have fun together and can't wait to do things together in this next part of life," and the final one, "I can't make you happy. Making you happy, isn't ultimately my job it is your job to figure out what makes you happy and if you do that better without me, you should. Life is too short." or something like that.
Let me tell you, it was scary. It was weird, and there wasn't a back and forth about but we don't really want that. It just was out there... that should have told me something. But I guess what was MORE scary, in the end, was living the rest of my life wondering if he really wanted to be with me. Pretty much knowing the answer but never having the courage to ask it because I was too scared.
Well, about 30 days after that margarita-filled conversation, my husband sat me down and said he wanted a divorce.
I radically accepted it in the moment. It was probably not what he expected, although he had done his research online and knew he was to be prepared to expect anything - and I have to say, that's good advice because we can't control other humans and we certainly can't pretend to know how they'll react. It was a bit shocking that he had already processed a lot of the details of it all. But, I guess, emotionally, I was prepared enough since I was the one who brought it up and allowed him to consider it.
Part of me was like, okay, I'm not crazy, he wasn't happy and I gave him the opportunity to be free and that felt good that I was able to do that for him - for both of us. Another part of me went into ' okay, what do we need to do mode,' - which I do that mode pretty well, [giggle] and then the last part of me was relieved - relieved that, again, I wasn't crazy. I - I felt his unhappiness around the house, and that maybe things will be more peaceful for both of us. And in the end we both deserve a relationship - should we choose to be in one in the future - that is supportive, loving and lifts us up.
ooooh kay - so there are a whole bunch of details and things that aren't really anyone's business that I'm not going to get into but all I can say is that while some things suck, and while I'm still trying to navigate a ton of things with the change, on the whole, the transition has been really good. The scariest part for me has been the financials as he's been the breadwinner since my daughter was born. Am I going to be okay? Of course. Is can be scary day to day, and that is where I work on my presence and not letting the doom possibilities to creep in. Although, as you probably know, some days that is easier than others.
I do want to share with you a handful of things that have helped me navigate the transition well.
- First, and most important, is Conscious Effective Olympian (C.E.O.) work - I have to say the work I've done over the last few years in clearing my thought-deliveries, discovering my own internal GPS, using it for guidance, in focusing on presence, and radical acceptance of what is was a the most important part of the, so far, fairly successful navigation of this transition.
There was a lot in what I just said, so feel free to listen to that again.
- Second: Therapy - I got a therapist! Someone who doesn't know me. Doesn't know my husband. Doesn't know my friends and family. And having that safe space to hear myself talk and process and remind me that I'm powerful and amazing and that things that I have been labeling one way might actually be something else - this has all been incredibly helpful. I recommend it to everyone - and as a coach, of course I do. Seriously, though, whether it is a coach or therapist - if you are navigating all of this, I hope you have a safe space to process things. If you can't afford it, try my next thing which I did a ton before I started therapy.
- And that's number three: Nature, nature and more nature. Just get out in Nature. A lot. As much as you can. It was my lifeline. I'm sorry if this is a bit too woo for you but I really feel a person's energy and the energy in our household wasn't great over the last year or so. I don't always know where energy that drains me comes from, but I feel it and it impacts me. And I need to escape the energy drain to ground myself. Getting out in nature does that for me. I walked sooo much just after we moved here and before my husband and I had our final discussion... and if you have been listening or following me on the socials for a while, I've been sharing my nature walks with you. I can't say enough about getting outside and experiencing it all with all of your available senses. Combine that with a piece of paper and pencil or journal to process what comes up while you're outside and you may gain insights that surprise you - I know I did! I actually keep a pen and piece of paper in my walking vest.
- Number four: move things. Physically move things. This is for those of you who are staying in the house that you lived in together with your partner. If you have a spare room, maybe consider moving into that one, or change your furniture layout completely, and don't be afraid to move things around the house to make it feel like it's different - or new - or just yours. This is boots-on-the-ground tactical help that I found by accident, and it helped me separate myself from the relationship while still living where the relationship existed. My daughter and I started with the living room and decorated it in a fun bug theme (really cute bugs) and then we added things that make us happy and smile - that are ours. We did it on a budget - and used Facebook marketplace and Goodwill for much of it.
And one of the best things I've done - I kind of wish I did it sooner is that my daughter and I switched bedrooms. It really isn't easy living where you lived with your partner (and we weren't even in this space together long) but with all [of] their things, the way furniture was setup and more, it makes it difficult to move past things on the daily when there are constant reminders. I certainly don't want to negate our history together and our marriage, but I prefer to have moments where I choose to have the reminders rather than having them forced upon me minute upon minute upon hour upon day - well, you get the idea.
ANYWAY, giving my daughter the master bedroom with on-suite bathroom may seem wild to some people and while we did it initially because her room is warm, mine was cold and we both would prefer heat-wise to be in opposite rooms, the switch made sense us. But, ultimately, the change has been so good for me, mentally. It is fully my space. It's cozy. I got a new mattress - thanks again, Helix, got new bedding and am really making it my own.
My husband is in his new space- and I feel like I have my new cozy space here. I love it and it has been one of the best things for my mental health. I feel like I have a new home without having a new home, if that makes sense. Do you have to do this? Of course not but I would definitely consider something like this if you are having trouble living in the space you were in with your partner and can't move.
One day I'll get to the boxes and photos and all that - one day.
- My final tip for this transition is YNAB - I can't praise YNAB enough. I remember a friend telling me about YNAB - it stands for You Need a Budget - years ago she told me and I have had it on my radar for this entire time. Hubby wasn't sold on it when I mentioned it a while back, so, literally days after the divorce discussion I purchased my YNAB subscription.
How funny is that?
And within another day, I had gone through all of my finances, decided how much I was going to have to earmark to live off of while we transitioned all the things over the next few months. This has been life-changing for me. I could honestly talk about YNAB for three full episodes but I'll spare you. [giggle] YNAB if you ever listen and want to talk sponsorship, I'm a HUGE fan - consider me!
Anyway, and if you, my listener, have never heard of YNAB, You Need a Budget, please check it out - divorce, married, single, whatever your status - my ADHD brain loves it so much and I even gifted a subscription to my daughter who already has enjoyed the value of it.
Seriously, finances are a HUGE thing with a divorce - I mean, I guess if you have millions, maybe not, but, yeah, umm, if you can't tell...that isn't me. [giggle] Just in case you had any remaining doubt. [giggle]
Wow, this was a lot. Long story short, life is too short to be in a relationship that doesn't serve you, or your partner well. Sunk costs are that - sunk - we can't get them back: time in a relationship, energy we put in, money spent, decisions made. We can't change that and when we use those to keep us trapped forward we are - trapped. There is a great (under 5 minute) video that explains sunk costs that I'll link it in the show notes - in case you need a refresher and to hear it explained well from someone else about multiple things.
A great way to proceed forward without focusing on the sunk costs is to imagine yourself being dropped into your life, right where you are now - without all of the invested time, money and energy - would you fight being dropped into your life where you are now, and if so, why? What is scary about it? What would you change? What is stopping you from changing it right now? or would you happily be dropped in and be ready to stay forever?
Honestly, it can be tough to consider this and it takes bravery for most of us.
Where am I now with it all? Well, after our initial divorce discussion, both of us went back and forth at some point on do we want to try this - nah, we don't - well, maybe... do we we did even a brief 'let's date period' too but in the end - the answer was no.
Where we are now is a fairly amicable divorce. Sure, there are things I miss, and there are a lot of things I really don't miss. Right now, my home is happy. There is laughter. I can be myself all of the time now, and I like myself. I am pretty freaking cool, but I'm also a lot for some people. And if that means I need to be alone, or with someone else who can handle my a lot-ness, I'm okay with that. I'm proud of who I am. Faults and all. And I certainly have faults, we all do. But I do love to learn, I love to level-up my life and myself, I love to laugh, I don't take life too seriously and I wanna to be at the end of my life knowing I lived it fully.
So where I am now is peaceful, excited to see what is ahead for me - that includes the tough moments as well as the beautiful moments.
And as for divorce, it is something I've experienced. It is not who I am, so I while I'm not going to hide it but I also am not going to rehash it over and over because, my friend, I have enjoying the journey and living life at the top of my to do list and that means moving forward.
Ask Coach Christine - N/A
This episode is going to be longer so I'm gonna cut a couple of segments, but I was recently asked on TikTok, "Do you have any advice for telling my parents that I use they/them pronouns now? I know it's a big change in how they'll see me."
I actually did two video responses for this one and I'll link both in my show notes.
The first one was congratulating the person asking for discovering who they are, finding pronouns that resonate with them, and having the courage to use the new pronouns, and I'm excited for them. My wish and hope is that their parents hold space for them, and are able to listen in a loving manner when they are told.
The second video was a hotline video for parents, and managed to fit my response into a one minute video - it's always fun when my alter ego, Sally, is able to jump in.
I hope these help and that the conversation goes well!
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Christine? Christine? Christine, where are you?
You can find me on two recent podcast interviews and I have two more scheduled this week!
First up is episode 8 of The Pursuit of Evolution podcast hosted by TEDx speaker and resilience educator, Casey Jourdan. Casey and I chat about my daughter heading off to college early, the power of radical acceptance, I talk a bit about my marriage separation and what life is like now with my daughter back home. And I love what Casey shares about her return home from her time in the military at a young age, as well as how her relationship with her mother changed after her parents' divorce.
Next up is episode 82 of the Mama Mindset podcast hosted by Amy Cothren, another incredible woman. Amy's a stay at home mom to three girls. Amy's crushing podcasting and giving so much of herself to lift up other stay at home mothers. She wanted to know how to prepare for the empty nest when our kids are young. We talk about homeschooling my daughter, how I entered the empty nest, steps to take at any point in parenting to prepare (or try to prepare) for the empty nest years, dealing with our parents' empty nesting, and Amy's red tape - that is worth the listen! And wow, can Amy assemble great promo materials for her guests - seriously, she tagged me in some amazing videos - thank you, Amy!
Let’s find the funny!
[giggles from others]
If you know me at all, you know I love to laugh. Humor is therapy for me and yes, while, I'm related to one of the co-hosts, wow, the Wonka Watch podcast has me laughing out loud in every episode at least once or twice if not a ton more. And the funny part is I've usually heard most of it before it's live - yet it continues to make me laugh. So, if you don't mind raw humor with cursing, and want to listen to two of the most creative and the funniest humans I know talk about Willy Wonka - check it out.
Two Questions for You
Question 1: How do you feel about divorce - in your life and in the lives of others?
and Question 2: What area of your life do you need to take a closer look at?
As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend.
My HOPE is that I’m able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life.
If you enjoy this episode please don’t forget to share it with others, it’s the best way to allow it to reach a wider audience. And of course, follow the show in your favorite podcast player!
As always, you'll find a ton of information, resources and more on my website: YourEmptyNestCoach.com. A special thanks to SupaPass, my current employer and what powers our GPS Support Flock Community - you can join today while I prepare for it's official launch in 2022!
I’ll be back with a new episode in a couple of weeks or so - it will be another affirmation episode, like my last one. I haven't yet decided on the topic, so let me know if you have a request.
My beautiful friend, life likes to keep us guessing, doesn't it? Enjoying the journey - filling your life with peace is possible even when life throws you a curveball or two - or ten. You can handle it all I have absolutely no doubt! Don't forget it, and as always, never forget that you are amazing.
Chat next time!
Are you still listening?
Take a deep breath in, my friend. Let the air out. Take another deep breath in and as you breathe in imagine positive energy, good thought-deliveries and peace filling you from head to toe. Imagine they push aside negative thoughts and energy and force them to escape with your next breath out. Repeat this as necessary.