You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 39: Courage Addiction. … Today’s episode came out of one of my Thursday Thoughts About emails. I received positive comments about it and thought that it would be worth sharing with you. I’ve tweaked it just a little since then, and hope you find it motivating.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 39: Courage Addiction. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:38 Hello, my future empty nest friend. I am super excited today because I took a big step and upgraded my podcasting equipment. I have a new mic, I actually have a big wind screen and a pop filter, which hopefully will help my poor editor. I have very good diction. I think it’s all the years of singing training that has really worked on that, which isn’t always great when you’re working with a microphone. Hopefully this helps and I appreciate you. Thank you for listening to all of my episodes, the earlier ones, and hopefully you notice a difference moving forward. Thanks for being here.
00:01:16 Today’s episode came out of one of my Thursday Thoughts About emails. I received positive comments about it and thought that it would be worth sharing with you. I’ve tweaked it just a little since then, and hope you find it motivating.
00:01:48 Would you like to know something addictive? Having courage. Once you realize that having the courage to do something, meaning that you are willing to feel a feeling, and get to the other side of it, you become powerful. Afraid to talk to your boss about a certain topic? Afraid to apply for a new job? Afraid to speak up in front of a room full of colleagues to say what everyone else is whispering, but no one else is saying publicly? Afraid to talk to your partner about your concerns in your relationship? Afraid to be interviewed by someone because you may sound like a fool? Afraid to ask for what you are worth when offered a job? This is a good one, afraid to tell a family member that there is something we need to set a boundary about in order to protect the relationship? Afraid to go to the doctor, because of what you may find out? Afraid to try something new, because you might fail?
00:02:41 As someone who has done more than a few of these in the last 30 days, despite being scared, I have to tell you that the power in being willing to sit in the emotions that result from stepping into the fear, has caused everything in my life to become less scary. Try it. What are you afraid to do? Decide which emotion you are expecting, then decide that you are stronger than that emotion. You are. You can sit in the emotion and get to the other side.
00:03:11 I believe that the real you will not come out as long as you are afraid. Are you hiding the real you? What if someone in the world needs the real you? You aren’t helping them by hiding behind whatever it is you’re afraid of doing. Actually, if I had not taken the step to start this business due to fear, which was real, you wouldn’t be listening to this right now. Be brave, my friend. You are stronger than any emotion.
00:03:42 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
The questions I have for you in this episode are: what have you done recently that required courage? And, are you ready to notice where you need to challenge yourself more? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “Tackling Big Things.”
Psst…my empty nest friend, did you hear? I have an online program, “The Empty Nest: First Steps Towards Success.” I also, now offer GPS Reset Weekend Retreats, and I am available for speaking events. Seriously! What are you waiting for? Visit my website, or see this episodes full show notes.
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
In this episode, Michele shares a portion of her life story with us and opens up to show us what helped her get through the remaining emotions and trauma she had from a teenage rape – or should I say, “who helped her.” The gift she received is one we all can learn from for our life.
Your complete presence in any moment will allow you to comfort others in a way that they may not even know they need.
I invite you to listen to Michele’s story and share it with anyone who needs to hear it.
You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 38: Michele’s Story, Loving Through the Empty Nest, Raped as a Teenager and How it Changed Her Life. … For those of you who need a trigger warning, Michele’s story does include being raped as a teenager, as well as being in a dark time with no future plans. That being said, she’s completely inspirational and I can’t wait for you to meet her. My amazing empty nest listener friend, my guest today is Michele.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 38: Michele’s Story, Loving Through the Empty Nest, Raped as a Teenager and How it Changed Her Life. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:43 Hello, my future empty nest friend. Before I get started, I have a request. My team and I are planning on taking some time off over the holiday season, and rather than going completely silent for that time, we thought we would share listener favorite episodes, or snippets. That means that we are looking for your submissions for one of two things, something you learned from the podcast that has helped you, or you’re favorite episode. For both of these, explain what they mean to you, and tell us what episode number it is from. You may email your recorded submission with your phone audio recorder or type it out. Send your submissions to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your assistance.
00:01:53 For those of you who need a trigger warning, Michele’s story does include being raped as a teenager, as well as being in a dark time with no future plans. That being said, she’s completely inspirational and I can’t wait for you to meet her. My amazing empty nest listener friend, my guest today is Michele. Full disclosure; Michele was one of my beta clients and it was my extreme pleasure to work with her. I remember one of the first things she told me was that she almost didn’t graduate from high school, and yet she had in her same introduction to me, that she has a B.A. in Psychology, a teaching certificate and an M.S. in Special Education. Do I have that right, Michele?
Michele: That is correct.
Christine: I clearly remember reading through this and thinking, this woman’s tough, has been through it, and must have an amazing story to tell. I’m super thankful that she has the courage to share a little bit about her story with us today. Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, Michele.
Michele: Yay! Thank you! I’m so excited to be here.
Christine: I’m so excited to have you. Listeners, our hands are up, jazz hands, we’re so excited. Michele, thanks for being brave enough to share a little bit about your life story with us. I would love it if you would start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your family, and where you currently are on the empty nest journey.
Michele: Okay. Usually when I think about myself, I think of mom first. That is my first role, but I am also a wife and a teacher. I have twins and they move into college for the first time on August 22nd.
Christine: It’s so close.
Michele: Yes, I have that date memorized. I have been married for 24 years and I am, I guess, what they say a low-incident austic support teacher. A big mouthful. I teach Special Education. As far as where I’m at in my empty nest, my beef stew is simmering.
Michele: I am enjoying the moments right now. The focus of my twins and where we are in the moment. I’m not stressing about where we’re going. I’m not thinking about where we’ve been. I’m just enjoying the moment and simmering. We’ll see what bubbles to the top.
00:04:19 Christine: Oh, my gosh, this makes me so happy.
Michele: It’s the perfect analogy here, really.
Christine: Isn’t it funny?
Michele: It’s exactly where I’m at.
Christine: My editor was like, “Beef stew? Where are you going?”
Michele: But it’s perfect. It’s absolutely perfect. I’ve been trying to like, think about where am I at? Where am I at? That’s ideal. That’s exactly where I’m at. I’m simmering. I’m enjoying the simmer.
Michele: Nice slow, warming up to the ultimate meal, kind of thing. You know what I mean?
Michele: That’s where I’m at.
Christine: Wonderful. Michele, one thing you shared with me is that you have powered through, I think I have this right, circumstances in your childhood/teen years that might shock others. While that may be true, there are other people who may have a child going through what you’ve gone through, and knowing where you are now, maybe just what they need to hear. What is it about your early years that you think will be shocking to some?
00:05:24 Michele: I think shocking, when I read that, I’m like, well, it’s relative, because shocking to some is not to others. For me, when I told my story, I’m just kind of like, well, it’s mine. You know? It is what it is. Others have been like, “Wow, that’s an amazing story.” My story, I guess, starts with at 15 I was raped. I was raped, and it did a number on me. I tried to commit suicide. I didn’t want to live. I did not want to live at all. It was just like, there was no feeling whatsoever. If you could feel numb, that’s what it was. Complete and total numb. All I wanted to do was sleep. You know, I sit there, I look at my kids now, you know, they’re just graduated, and I think when I was their age, my goal in life was to stop living at 21. I had nothing planned after 21, because I figured okay, 21, I get to drink, and then, there’s nothing to live for. I lived my life without what I would call purpose. I just was there. I guess that’s pretty shocking.
Christine: Yeah. It’s real. It’s a lot.
Michele: It is. It is. Do not get me wrong, as I’m laughing, it was hard, you know? I would never want anybody else to go through it. At the same time, I can’t dwell on it.
Michele: Because if I did, I wouldn’t see all the good that is now. There are teenagers that go through some really, really tough struggles and the key is they can overcome.
Michele: I’m an example of that. My kids know my story. They know my story probably more detailed than what some would want their kids to know. My husband knows my story, and they are amazingly supportive. It’s kind of like, this is kind of odd, but it’s kind of like a scar that you have, that’s kind of like a badge of honor. I know that sounds odd, but it’s there. You wear it. It doesn’t bother you anymore. It’s just there. I don’t know. I mean, I feel like I should be sad, but it’s hard for me to be sad because I’m not living in that spot any more.
Christine: That’s really good. I think, in the moment though, when you were 18, 19, 20, obviously, I guess you could never imagine you’d be where you are today?
Christine: Have a future planned?
Michele: No. I mean, literally, I was making choices that, when I look back on it now, I think, oh, my gosh, I’m surprised I’m not dead.
Michele: Literally, I’m surprised I’m not dead. Jumping in the back of stranger’s cars, making poor choices as far as illegal things, like drinking. I drank in high school. That’s what I did. The things that kids did in college, I did them in high school.
00:09:00 Christine: Okay.
Michele: You know? It was kind of like, when I got to college, because I made that choice, and had gotten through all the gunk, I’d like to say I had my head on straight more. It was almost like my high school and college were flipped.
Michele: That’s the best way I could describe it. But there was no feeling there. I mean, literally, there were no dreams. I was never that type of person where I dreamt of who I would marry, what my wedding dress would look like, having kids, none of that. It was literally like looking into a black hole. I saw nothing. That’s how I lived, because I didn’t want to wake up every day. When I would lay my head down to sleep, I did not want to wake up.
Christine: I’m so sad for younger Michele. I want to hug her.
Michele: Younger Michele had it tough. I mean, she really did. I’m okay with it now. I can be honest with you, it took me 15 years. I was raped when I was 15. For 15 years, subconsciously, because I was raped in January. I was raped literally two weeks after my 15th birthday. You’re talking about a very young 15. January would come and I would become an evil, miserable person. Just nasty and hateful, and depressed. I never realized that I was that way. Even after the birth of my children, January was the most hated month. When I turned 30, I’m not really sure exactly what changed, but something happened and I was able to step back and say, “Oh, that’s why I’m acting that way. Do I want to continue to act that way?” I was able to say, “Okay, you know what? I see this, but this isn’t how I want to be.” From then on, things started to shift. It was almost like the realization and the acknowledgement, and it’s like, okay, I see it. I don’t want to be that any more. I want to move on. I’ve already come 15 years from that moment, and now it’s time to move forward. It did, it took me a long time, a long time. I’m not perfect yet. There’s still definite remnants there, but not enough to hold me back any more.
00:11:51 Christine: I would think we’re all cheering you there.
Michele: Yeah. Yeah.
Christine: I have so many questions. Here’s one, for those of you, when you were in the moment where you couldn’t see your future and you didn’t want to wake up, did you have a lot of people reach out to you and try to help you; and if so, how would you respond to them? Did it come across as help? I guess there’s like four questions in there.
Michele: Yeah. This is tough to hear. I was raped and I’m 15, so I go to my two best friends. There were three of us that we were real tight, and they didn’t believe me. They thought I was lying. They thought that I was trying to break the friendship up, the triad, up. That was really devastating. I questioned whether or not it happened to me. I really did. I had told one other girl, and she believed me, but I had already told myself it didn’t happen. Now, I’m black and blue. I have bruises from my neck down. I wore a turtleneck and didn’t take gym class, because I didn’t want to change in front of people. There was physical evidence there, but I hid it and I told myself that this didn’t happen to me. That I was lying to myself because my friends didn’t believe me. I remember trying to talk to my mom, and she was so busy, such a busy mom. She had twins of her own, and I don’t want to say couldn’t hear it, but for whatever reason, it just wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t meant to be heard, I guess. I don’t know. It was just meant for me to feel it. Does that make sense? I don’t know, and I can’t answer those questions.
Christine: Right. Right.
Michele: Because they were other people’s experiences. But for me, what I chose to do was, I chose to suppress it, and it came out as failing grades, and erratic behavior, and I was always tired. I was just a mess. Basically, some people would say a typical teenager, but internally, I felt dead. Literally, numb and dead. I sit back and I think no, there wasn’t anybody there to help me. For whatever reason, that was the way it was supposed to be. That was how my story was written. I don’t know. I’m not here to blame anybody else. This is my story.
00:15:07 Christine: Yes.
Michele: I can sit there and say it was my fault. I could blame the individual. It’s my story. Those are my demons to deal with, so to speak.
Michele: You know? Everybody’s story’s different. Even in my situation, even people that have lived similar lives. It’s all different.
Christine: That is very true. I guess if they reached out to you for the failing grades, and all the other stuff, at that you point, you just —
Christine: It didn’t matter. None of it. Nothing mattered. You know? I mean, literally, there was nothing that mattered at all. It was so all consuming of void, that even when I think back, it’s very hard for me to find happy moments in those times. Do you know what I mean? People say, “If you could go back and go back to high school, would you go back to high school?” Hell no.
Christine: Right. I’m thinking no.
Michele: Would I change it? No, because my future would be different.
Michele: I can accept that. I lived it once. I’m good, you know? Move on kind of thing.
Christine: Yes. Okay. What are some of the most helpful things that you found over your life, in helping you to get to where you are now?
Michele: You know, when I read that question, I thought, oh, my gosh, what have been the most helpful things. You know, I’d like to sit here and say there were pivotal moments.
Michele: I always think, I dated this guy after my whole struggles. I dated this guy who was 18, and he hit me. You know? I didn’t have healthy relationships. How could I? I didn’t know.
Christine: I don’t know how you would.
Michele: Right. For whatever reason, he came to my house and I slammed the door in his face. It was the most empowering moment, that I can remember in my teenage years. I mean, literally, it was probably the first time that I ever felt good. From that moment on, I started making decisions. I started going to college. I started finding joy. Why did that happen in that moment? I don’t know. But for whatever reason, I had enough power in me, enough umph to care enough about myself, to say, “No, this is not what I want.” That was one of the biggest moments in my life. That’s where it started to change. Don’t you know, a few months later, I met my husband. I shared with him, because I was starting to have nightmares because I had suppressed this for so long. I started talking to him, and all he did was hold me and accept me for me. It was like, oh, my gosh, there are people in this world that just care.
00:18:42 Christine: Yes.
Michele: It was then that I was able to start healing more and feeling, and growing and that was truly amazing. Then it just exploded. It was just absolutely amazing. But it wasn’t always easy, because now you’re really starting to feel those emotions and I had to deal with the self hate and what’s wrong with me. I mean, I had anorexia. When my husband met me, I was 114 pounds. I’m 5’8”.
Michele: I was passing out. I wasn’t eating. I mean, there was a lot of outward trauma that was manifesting and I was very unhealthy. In fact, I remember I passed out at work, and my husband was like, “you know, you need to go to the doctor. You need to start eating. You need to be healthy.” I argued with the doctor. I’m going to be 111 pounds. Here’s a girl, who’s 5’8”, and I was going to be 111 pounds. Because if I got smaller and smaller, and smaller, maybe I wouldn’t be noticed. I don’t know. That’s what I thought. I mean, it was just another way I was manifesting how I can be done with life at 21. Then, I didn’t want to any more. You know?
Christine: I’m really glad you met your husband.
Michele: I know. Yes.
Christine: Give him a hug for me tonight. Because I like you and I’m really glad you’re here.
Michele: Yup. Yup.
Christine: Wow. Here’s a question, so keeping in mind, this is for my listener’s, neither of us, Michele or I are therapists. If you, though, Michele, could talk to a parent whose child is experiencing something like this, maybe any area of it, do you have anything that you would like to say to them?
Michele: As a parent, I can’t imagine what it would be like, as a parent. You know, I’m pretty lucky that as a parent, knock on wood, I have not had to deal with a child like myself. But having to deal with other situations with my kiddos, and probably because of my life experience, I choose to love unconditionally when it comes to my kids. I know they’re not perfect, but I choose to hear them. I listen to what they’re saying. I don’t have to like it. I don’t even have to accept it, but I will still love them for who they are. I think that’s the key. Like I said, every situation is different, but sometimes you just need to be heard. Like my husband, he just listened, and he just loved me. He loved every single part of me. He walked up that journey with me, and still is, 24 years, still walking the journey with me. That’s the key. Just being present.
00:22:04 Christine: So powerful. Oh, my goodness.
Christine: I would think your teenagers, do you feel like that has made you be that parent?
Michele: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Rebecca tells me I’m like crazy involved. I’m just there around, and every time she turns around, I’m there, and it is. I want to know what kind of music they listen to. I want to know what they’re watching on TV. I want to be a part of every little thing. I want to be a part of the mistakes they make. I want to be a part of everything, because they’re such a big part of me. I want them to know that no matter what happens, that they are always loved no matter what. They will always be my kids. They will always be welcome, and they will always be loved. There will never be a judgement. It’s not my job to judge them. It’s my job to love them.
00:23:07 Christine: Wow. Well said. Well said. All right. Here’s a heavy question, in this moment right now, what are you most proud of in your life?
Michele: There are so many. There are so many. I mean, I’m proud of my kids, first and foremost. They are amazing young adults. They’re so excited about their future, which is amazing. I love that. I am so proud that my husband and I will be married 25 years next May. That is just huge to me. I’m looking around, yeah. I’m proud that I have been able to go from barely making it through high school, to having a Master’s degree and helping other kids. I think I’m fairly darn strong.
Christine: You are. Yes. If you ever doubt it, you call me, because I have no doubt.
Michele: Yeah, you know, I think I’m doing pretty good. I think I am.
Christine: You really are. You really are. Is there anything at all, that you would like to share with my amazing listeners?
Michele: Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. We are human, we are not perfect, and it’s okay. You know what? Sometimes in this world we’re all we got. If we’re lucky, there’ll be somebody else, hopefully there is. But you’ve got to love yourself. You really do.
Christine: Yes. One hundred percent.
Michele: You know? Yeah. Be patient, too. You know?
00:24:58 Christine: Yeah. Good job. All right. Shall we lighten it up a little?
Michele: Yeah. Probably.
Christine: Okay. Before you go, I have my four questions that I ask every guest of mine. You probably have them memorized by now. Waffles or pancakes?
Michele: Waffles. My husband makes the best homemade waffles.
Christine: He does?
Michele: He makes them on my birthday every year. I love them.
Christine: Awesome. I like that. Okay. What is one item you can’t live without, and why?
Michele: Caffeine. I tried once. It was the three worst days of my life, and I just decided I don’t want to live without it. I love coffee too much.
Christine: I totally agree. Totally agree. I’ve given up everything else, I’m keeping that.
Christine: I love it. It’s worth it. What is your all-time favorite movie, and any particular reason?
Michele: You know, I was trying to think of this, and I don’t have a particular movie, I have people or moments that I’ve seen movies with. Like, I love “Star Wars” because it was a movie I saw with my dad at a drive-in theater when I was younger. I love “Wayne’s World” because it was my husband and I, it was our first date. I love “The Piglet Movie” because it was the first time I ever took my twins to a movie.
Christine: That’s a great movie.
Michele: Right. I don’t have like, movies that I — like the moment of the movie.
Christine: Like the emotion and everything around it?
Michele: Yeah. Yeah. The experience of the movie, that’s what it’s all about for me.
Christine: I love that. That’s great. All right. You have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, not even the ferrets. She has ferrets, listeners. What is your go-to thing to do?
Michele: I’m lucky because every day that I drive home, I have about an hour commute, and it is my time. My go-to is my Audible and right now, I am learning about mindfulness. I love to learn and grow and listen to lectures or whatever I can on Audible. That’s my go-to. That’s my hour of bliss.
Christine: That’s wonderful. Do you remember what you’re reading now? Did you tell me?
Michele: Yes. I did. Let me look.
Christine: Because I’ll put it in the show notes, because you like it, right?
Michele: It is so good. It is called “The Science of Mindfulness.”
Michele: I love it. Love it.
Christine: All right, listener, there’s a new book recommendation. Okay, so my empty nest friend, thank you for listening to Michele’s story. I would like to challenge you to think of someone who could benefit from hearing her story, and please share this episode with them, because she did her part by being here. She’s amazing. To see where she was and now where she is, is so inspiring. I’m so glad you shared that with us. My wonderful empty nest friend, should you have any follow-up questions for Michele, please feel free to email me at Christine@youremptynestcoach.com, and I will be sure that she gets them. Michele, thanks for sharing your life with us. You are one tough cookie and an amazing lady.
Michele: Thank you. You, too.
Christine: Awesome. Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. If you like what you hear there, and are ready to deep dive into the concepts, then take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
Oh, my goodness, did you hear? I have an online program, “The Empty Nest: First Steps Toward Success.” I now offer GPS Reset Weekend Retreats, Unplugged and Charged Up, and I am available for speaking events. Seriously! What are you waiting for? Visit my website or see this episode’s full show notes.
The questions I have for you in this episode are number one, what have you had to overcome to become who you are today? Number two, how are you telling your story? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “Courage Addiction.”
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
This episode topic is from a fellow listener who asked about finding friends in the later years of life. When I sat down to organize and script this out, I had no idea that I had so many thoughts on the subject. But then, I do have a lot of thoughts on many subjects, don’t I? Ha!
Anyway, remember that some friendships serve seasons of our life, and others are in for the long haul. Either way, if you are looking to add friendships into your life, take a little bit of time to figure out what you are looking for in a friend, and then enjoy looking for those new friendships!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 31: How Do I Find Friends in the Empty Nest? … Today’s episode comes from a podcast listener suggestion. They ask how do I find friends in the empty nest? This is a great question. It falls in line with much of what this podcast is really all about, in that we spend so much time raising our children, and many times, our friendships tend to be built around where are children are in their life.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 31: How Do I Find Friends in the Empty Nest? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:36 Hello, my future empty nest friend. I want to do a quick shout out to one of my podcast listeners and one of my sweet online friends, Gretchen, also known as the Planner Freak. You may find her on Twitter or Instagram at the handle, the Planner Freak. Her Instagram feed is full of beautiful photos, videos, and great music. She’s encouraging and kind. Getting to know people online, such as Gretchen, is one of the perks of starting this podcast. Thanks, Gretchen! My empty nest friend, I’ll have links to her Instagram and Twitter accounts in my show notes.
00:01:29 Today’s episode comes from a podcast listener suggestion. They ask how do I find friends in the empty nest? This is a great question. It falls in line with much of what this podcast is really all about, in that we spend so much time raising our children, and many times, our friendships tend to be built around where are children are in their life. It isn’t difficult to find a friend in committees in our child’s school, other parents at the school, maybe our part-time job, our work, and more. When your child’s activities no longer need your participation, the onset of new relationships in your life may dry up as well. Not only that, but the relationships that were based on commonalities, that have to do with your children, may begin to drift apart.
00:02:19 It is fantastic when a relationship you built over the years has deepened to a point where you have other commonalities, or you just love spending time with one another so much, that your friendship remains. That is a very lucky place to be. It is also normal to find that there are friendships that were based entirely on those life moments that you had in common. Now that both of you are in new life moments, the friendship may fade. You may realize it first, or the other person may realize it first. Things may slowly drift away or just end suddenly. It happens. It is part of life, and your thought about this is everything.
00:02:55 You could have thoughts such as I can’t believe they haven’t been in touch with me since three months ago. Did our friendship mean anything to them? Or, I am so thankful for their friendship for as long as we were friends. It was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Or, I can’t wait until the time when we are able to reconnect again. I encourage you to find a thought that allows you to be thankful for the friendship and allows you to be open to new friendships.
00:03:25 The second part of this, is supremely important and do some work on figuring out what kind of friendship you are looking for before you even begin looking. Are you looking for a daily walking buddy? A weekly coffee friend? Maybe a group of friends to play board games with? Someone to travel with to exotic places? Do you want an in-person friend, or are you looking for online friends? What are you looking for in the friendship? What kind of friend do you want to be?
00:03:54 Once you know what you are looking for, where do you find these friendships? I would be silly not to mention our Green Popsicle Sticks Facebook group for starters. If you need a place to hang out with other amazing women, who are at different points in the empty nest transition, we will welcome you with open arms. Another option to check out is Meetup.com. This website lists in-person events on topics of all kinds, and in different locations.
00:04:22 I quickly looked at my town and found groups such as, a Hiking Around the City group, a Friend’s on the Go group, this one is open to anyone 40 years old or older, for creating new friendships and has almost 2,000 members. Also, a Skiing Sports and Social Meetup group, a Chess and Cheers group, and my favorite was a Society of Geeks group, that I found. You may create an account on Meetup and dive in. Search on your interests and if you can’t find a group worth checking out, then consider creating your own group that is specific to your interest, which you already figured out. Right? Why not bring the friends to you?
00:05:02 Another option is that since you did your due diligence, and figured out what type of friend you are looking for, where do you think you would meet such a friend? Is there an activity you would have in common? For this, check out local events. Yes, you may look online for your town, such as Meetup, but you also should keep your eyes open as you pass those community bulletin boards that are in local stores and shops. You’ll find some interesting events, especially if the shop is in the shop of your interest. Also, your public library is great for these resources as well.
00:05:35 How about volunteering in an area of interest? Do you love art? Volunteer in an Art Center. Do you love animals? Volunteer in a local animal shelter. Love to sing? Join a choir. One of the best ways to make new friends is to hang out with people who have the same interests as you. It’s really as easy as that. A fab thing is that you get to choose the interest. It isn’t just another committee in your child’s school, so have fun here.
00:06:03 You also may consider looking up past friendships. Those friends that drifted away. Maybe invite them out for coffee, to catch up and see if you are both in a different place, now. With all of these options, be open. Keep in mind that age doesn’t matter. You may find a 25-year-old who has the same interests as you. Why can’t you be friends? Seriously, what a great way to stay young. I adore having a variety of ages in my friendships. It is an easy way to keep on different perspectives.
00:06:33 Also, with being open, tell people that you are looking for a friend to do whatever it is you want to do with. You may not know someone like that, but there is a good chance someone you know, knows someone, or they know someone, and they are looking for you. Be really brave. Post it on Facebook. “Hey, Hi, I’m in a transition period of my life, and I’d love to find some friends who love to walk and talk about “Survivor.”” There’s an example. I’m looking to walk weekly. Tell your friends. Be the brave one and put it out there in the world. Trust me, there are other people like you, and they’re waiting for you to take the first step. Finally, with be open, if someone invites you to something, just say yes, and then, talk to people.
00:07:15 What if you find someone in your life that you would like to build a friendship with? The best way to make a friend, is to be a friend. If you meet at an event, and you already get the feeling that you know you’ll want to meet up again, plan the next one before this one is over. Invite them to do something else with you. Be honest and be brave. Life gets busy, and you need more than one meeting to create a friendship. Sometimes, even when both parties are interested and want it to happen, it just doesn’t because of, well, life. Definitely schedule it.
00:07:49 This has been an interesting episode to assemble. I moved often in my 20’s and my jobs always inherently brought friendships. As my daughter grew, most friendships were around her activities, so no, friendships haven’t been difficult to find so far, but it got me thinking. If I wasn’t in the midst of building this business, and had some actual free time, who would I spend time hanging out with outside of my family, and who are my inner circle?
00:08:15 Number one, of course, is hubby. We have fun plans and things we look forward to doing together. He’s easily overlooked in my life, as he’s so darn reliable, thoughtful and helpful. He takes care of so much. It’s easy for both of us to get busy doing the chores, taking care of our daughter, of the house, and doing our jobs, that we forget how awesome each other is. Do you find that too? But he’s my bestest friend, for sure. He doesn’t listen to my podcast, but if he did, hey, Honey, I love you. Thanks for being you, Don.
00:08:42 I am then super thankful for my friendships that have survived over the years. I’ve never been one to have a ton of close friends. To be honest, I get overwhelmed, but I have friends that we can pick up right where we left off, even if we don’t talk for months. There’s my friend who traveled to Disney with me, when I graduated from college. On that trip, she met her husband. We don’t live in the same state right now, and with our lives as they are, catching up is not easy, but when we do chat, it is just like the last time we spoke. We both still have a dream of our girl’s Disney trip, hanging on to, in the future. Hi, Karen. If you’re listening, I miss you greatly.
00:09:21 Another friend of mine meets me at 6:30 a.m. in the morning for coffee, every couple of weeks. We’ve had periods in our lives where we would see each other often, and then periods where months and even years have gone by. I’m super thankful that we are in a season of connection in our friendship. She’s a fantastic listener, even when we are on opposite sides of a debate. Let me tell you, I love that. She’s patient beyond words, and is a wonderful human. Hi, Beth.
00:09:47 Another, who’s going through the empty nest transition with me, her daughter and my daughter are close friends. We’ve been through the later years of high schooling, as homeschoolers, together. We have traveled on road trips with our daughters, together, and then, not seen each other for months. She was the pivotal person in me focusing on the empty nest niche in particular. She’s one of the strongest people I know, and yet, she’ll listen to this and say, “no, not me.” Yes, you, Jennifer. There’s my sporadic walking friend who will text me, hey, can you take a walk? I do the same thing to her. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But when it works, we have the best time. Walks in nature, talking with deep conversations. I’m fairly certain she doesn’t listen to my podcast, but if you do, one day, Sue, I adore you.
00:10:33 My empty nest friend, yes, you, listener. Maybe you should do what I just did? List out your friendships in the past and what you have now. I realized by doing this exercise that I am definitely a deep conversation friend. I am well aware that that is more than some people can take. I also noticed that with all of my friendships, we don’t get to meet up as often as we would like, but when we do, there is always that feeling that the time we have together is never enough. The conversation is good, and the energy, even when the conversation’s are on tough topics is positive. It has taken me years to come to understand that I am much better at one-on-one than in a group. A group of ten friends all gathering together is something that I can’t even imagine. It drains my energy. Needless to say, a sorority was never part of my life. This is a quality that serves me well with my coaching. I share all of this with you to remind you that friendships don’t need to look any one way. Figure out what works best for you, in your life, right now, and then, be brave and go find it.
00:11:39 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/commnity for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:12:04 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:12:28 The questions I have for you in this episode are: number one, how are you doing with your friendships? And, two, do you have other suggestions for meeting new friends? Let’s help each other. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “What Life Skills Should My High School Student be Mastering Now, to be Successful in College?”
00:13:02 Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode, every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 25: My Partner is Driving Me Crazy!! … I’ve run into multiple people, recently, who are looking at their first or sometimes, their last child heading off to college, and they are freaking out about their relationship with their partner. The big one I’ve heard, from multiple people, is, “They are driving me crazy! Oh my gosh, Christine, everything about them is driving me crazy.”
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 25: My Partner is Driving Me Crazy!! This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:36 Hello, my future empty nest friend! Tomorrow is my birthday! Not right now, when I’m recording this, but when this episode goes live! I guess I should plan now what I want for my birthday because I do not need to wait for others to read my mind. Who has the time or energy for that? Not me. You know what you could do for my birthday? If you haven’t already, give my podcast, assuming you love it, a five star rating on Apple Podcasts. That would be super of you. Thank you. You are the best!
00:01:23 What is with this episode’s title? I’ve run into multiple people, recently, who are looking at their first or sometimes, their last child heading off to college, and they are freaking out about their relationship with their partner. The big one I’ve heard, from multiple people, is, “They are driving me crazy! Oh my gosh, Christine, everything about them is driving me crazy.” This is what I’m hearing. I get it. I want you to think about what is happening in your life right now. You have had some sort of routine, I bet, for your family for quite some time. Changes have happened, yes, but it’s been slow over time. Suddenly, you, all of you, are confronted with an impending change that takes you completely out of everything that has been normal for the last few years. You won’t see it coming. Remember, your mind, that likes things to stay the same, is freaking out.
00:02:19 Guess what? Your partner and child have the same thing going on. Since our minds want things to stay the same, but our minds also know that things aren’t going to stay the same, our minds now get busy creating all these stories for how things are going to go. It likes to be all sorts of creative here, doesn’t it?
00:02:41 Suddenly, the idea of your child not being where they have been is horrifying. You now have time to focus on emotional work for yourself that you may have been hiding for years under the guise of taking care of your kids and your family. It can easily be overwhelming and frightening. Did you even realize that all of that was going on? I sure didn’t when we went through it.
00:03:04 Here’s a question I’ve heard, how are we going to get along? Some tough love here. You are going to get along by doing your thought work. Trust me. Another question, why is he acting so weird? I have the same answer for you here. The things that youare currently finding weird or annoying, another person on this planet might find completely adorable. Think about it. I know.
00:03:32 Another question: are we going to make it? That is up to you. You probably want me to tell you that, yeah, they are being annoying and you have every right to be annoyed, blah, blah, blah, blah. My friend, we all have days like this. Me, too. It happens, and well, hormones, too. Can I get an Amen? As your friend over a cup of coffee, sure, I’d say that sucks. But as your coach, that kind of support doesn’t allow for any progress in your life. I want to see you progress. I want to see you grow, I want you to become every bit of the amazing woman you are meant to be.
00:04:12 When you notice these types of thoughts that I mentioned often, it is a sign that you have work to do. It isn’t a sign, necessarily, that you need to leave, or a sign that your partner has lost their marbles. It could be. But first, you need to figure out what work you need to do to be happy with yourself where you are today, before you make any drastic changes. I’m not going to tell you to stay with your partner no matter what. That’s something for you and your partner to decide. I’m also not going to tell you to leave your partner. That is also for you and your partner to decide.
00:04:47 I’m here to just make you think, and challenge you a bit. I am going to ask you what do you think you would have if you weren’t with your partner right now? How do you think your life would be different and why are you making those differences dependent on them? Because, right now, let’s be honest, you are miserable, and that miserable you goes with you to a new relationship, or to no relationship if you choose to leave. Yes, you are still there. There was actually, a very timely and funny, on Saturday Night Live, there was a sketchwith Adam Sandler that speaks to this recently. It was about vacation, but it has a lot to do with the same thing I’m saying here. I’ll put a link to it in my show notes.
00:05:30 If you had decided that everything would be different if you left your partner, I want you to understand that by declaring that statement you have given your partner complete control over your life and emotional health. Is that the way you want to live? Do you want to leave on those terms? First off, is your partner reallyresponsible for your happiness? Do you wantyour partner to be responsible for your happiness? What if you, and only you, are responsible for your happiness, and then you come into the same relationship? How does that change where you are? How does that change how you show up? If you show up in this new way, do you think you’re going to notice a change in your partner as well?
00:06:10 When you are fully responsible for your own happiness, you gain control of your life 100 percent. Who would you rather be around? Someone who rides a roller coaster of feelings and thoughts reacting to your actions, they yell at you based on something you say, or cry based on a look that you made? Or someone who shows up in life in complete control of who they are and who they are meant to be? You might yell at them and they listen and understand. I know who I want to be. I wish I could tell you I’m there all the time. I’m not, but I’m working on it, and this is my goal.
00:06:44 It is amazing that when our thoughts change, when our inner world, our mind changes, then our outer world flows with it. Eventually, even those around us change. Sometimes, those around us will freak out a bit from the change, after all, this is incredibly important work you are doing. You are becoming an emotional adult. When that happens, people around you may not know how to respond. Give them some time to really take in the change in you. The next time your partner does something that drives you crazy, I want you to try adding, “and that’s okay,” after your thought. Here’s two examples: “He interrupted me again, and that’s okay.” “She’s doing that thing that drives me insane, and that’s okay.” When you get to a point where you can handle the, “and that’s okay,” then you’re ready for the next step. “He interrupted me,” and the “again” isn’t needed, or the “and that’s okay.” You’re getting down to the circumstance. The other one: “She’s doing that thing,” and just end there. “That drives me insane,” and “and that’s okay,” are no longer needed. You’re making progress. Then, you can move on to thoughts that create value in your world. “He interrupted me,” he’s excited to share his news. “She’s doing that thing that brings her comfort.” How are these even the same thoughts, right? They’re not. Do you feel the difference?
00:08:07 The first thing you have to do is to embrace, “and that’s okay.” Another good one is “So what?” Sometimes that is a great question. So what? “He interrupted me. So what?” What are you making that mean? I bet you have a dissertation on the subject. Don’t you? Somehow he represents all of the injustices of the world, the women, how they’re treated, blah, blah blah. Really, I ask you, he interrupted you, so what? Really. So what? Try that one on this week, and see how that goes.
00:08:36 What if you’re thinking about leaving? You can absolutely think about leaving. Play it out in your head because when you play out all of the details, it isn’t all roses and daisies. Actually, if you are having those thoughts, I would encourage you to go through my Finding Future You program and play out the details of everything with that idea in mind. See what else comes up. It probably doesn’t have as much to do about your partner as you think it does. Trust me. Do the work on you. Find your happy where you are, and then, if you still want to walk away, you can walk away with feeling confident that it’s the right thing for you.
00:09:16 Your child heading off to school, or any number of circumstances that may change, not only impacts you, but it impacts your partner and they are dealing with that, and you are, at the same time. Be patient with your partner. While you have a big change ahead, so does your partner. You might be dreading it, while they may be super excited to spend more time with you. They may be confused on why you don’t feel the same way.
00:09:40 This is a great opportunity to get to know each other all over again. You aren’t the same people that began the parenthood journey together. Life changes people, in all sorts of ways. Before you make any big decisions, be sure you’ve done the work you need to do on yourself. Most of the time, that is where the work is needed. As you know, your thoughts about a situation are just that, your thoughts. Just as you can make a circumstance mean whatever you want, so can those around you. Talk to one another, be kind to one another and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Really, try that on and see how it goes. I believe in you. I believe in both of you, together, or apart. You both deserve to be everything you are meant to be. Figuring out that together, will be a journey that is worth taking, no matter where the destination leads.
00:10:52 Why should you join our group? The adjustment to having your kiddos at home full time isn’t always easy, as we know, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there. If you are ready to begin the journey to find Future You and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, The Empty Nest: A Guide to Discovering Future You. Episode 13 covers that program as well.
00:11:16 The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) How are you and your partner doing?
2) How has parenthood changed you, and has it impacted your relationships?
As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find show notes for this, and every episode, on my website.
00:11:43 My next episode’s title is: Changing your mind is OKAY! Change is OKAY! If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too! You’ll be giving them a free gift! Or take a quick screenshot of this and share it on your favorite social media site. Tag me, and I will say, “Hi!” Thanks for your time and energy with that and thanks so much for listening my empty nest friend! Remember, you are amazing!