Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. … My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. 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.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. What amazing things are going on in your life right now? Take a second to stop and think about something. Anything, and how amazing it is. Want an example? Right now, you are listening to my voice. I’m not with you live, in person, I’m off doing something else in my life, but something that I assembled and recorded weeks ago, you are able to listen to as if I’m right here with you. Now, that’s pretty amazing. Need another? How about how your body manages to take breaths, to keep you alive without you having to think about it. Amazing!
A quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering to My Future.” To be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com and sign up today. Look for the link that says, “Uncover Your Future.”
My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
Beef Stew. When you make beef stew, there is some prep work. You cook the beef. You then cook your veggies, seasoning, broth, maybe wine, more seasonings, and you bring it to a boil. Once the stew reaches its boiling points, you reduce the heat to a simmer and have more additions for the next 30 to 45 minutes. This simmer time allows a couple of things to happen. One, it cooks the food gently and slowly, allowing it to maintain its structure in ways impossible with boiling. It also will bring fat, proteins, and other substances to the top of the pot, which allows you to skim them off, and results in a clear stock.
Notice that two things are not recommended. One, allowing the meal to boil over, and two, once the boiling point is reached, turn the heat off and eat the stew. What does this have to with the empty nest? Something that I’ve noticed for many of my clients is that we reach this point where we have been “doing life” at a million miles an hour. Due to the circumstances of life, we get really good at hiding the real us in the name of taking care of everyone else. So much so that when a family member moves out of the house, be it for college, or their first apartment, the first thought that comes to our mind is what am I going to do with my time? As if we didn’t exist before they entered our lives. Think about it.
You were a full grown adult before you had your child. At least, most of us are. You had a life. You will have a life again. That you has been hiding really well. Is she different? More than likely, yes, but she is there. She’s just not used to showing herself. For many of my clients, the question what am I going to do with my time, seems to have an almost universal effect that moves my clients to, in the stew analogy, a full-on rolling boil that leads to a boiled-over mess. Can you picture this? There’s a frenzied emotion guiding the question for them. The frenzy sometimes is led by the need to know the answer to this question as soon as possible.
If you are able to answer the question right away, what am I going to do with my time, fantastic! Go you! But for many of us, the first thing we think we should do isn’t really the answer. Jumping all in on that thing, whatever it is, without allowing life to simmer for a little bit, will cause the stew to boil over, or we realize we’re not heading down the right path, so we pull the pot off the heat and dump it down the sink. When what we really need to do is turn the heat down low and allow things to simmer.
Allow ideas to bubble up. Explore them. Research them. Try them, and if the timing is right, take some time to discover if the stew is finished cooking, if you need to try a new recipe, or if you are simply still simmering. Remember, also, that if you don’t move from the boil down to the simmer, adjustments become messier than they need to be. In this transition, in your quest to figure out what you are going to do with your time, take deep breaths, and if you don’t have complete clarity, it is okay. You are simply simmering. You are exploring what is next.
What if you are sitting there wondering what am I going to do with my time, and you feel frenzied. You feel things starting to boil, but all you have is water in the pot, right? No direction. If this is you, I want you to try something for me. Try changing your question, what I am going to do with my time to the sentence, I am going to have more time, or I have more time, and simmer in that. Please note that this doesn’t mean that you don’t take any action in your life. You can try things. You can explore things. You can go all in on things, and you can adjust things. Throw some ingredients in here and there and see what that does for you.
Sometimes you want to make a huge change right away, but circumstances need you to stay where you are to allow the next step to be smooth. Rather than resenting where you are currently, realize that you are in a necessary simmer that is needed, before the next ingredient is added. As you simmer, get to know future you. Find her. It is so funny, I already hear some of you ready to say, how can I know future me, when I don’t know if blah, blah, blah is going to happen.
I need to be very clear. Future you is meant to inspire, encourage and motivate you. She is not necessarily a prediction of the future, unless you have some powers that I don’t know about, then, you know, give me a call. Let me know. But she’s your navigation system. Right now, in this moment, whoever future you would be, use her to guide you in your decisions.
That question you want the answer to, Christine, what am I going to do with my time? It might make you feel like you need to pick a new job, a new career, or a hobby to fill your time with. Maybe what you really need to do right now, is to keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe you see where you think your life will be in two years, but you’re just needed quite a bit right now, doing what you’re doing. Which might mean that your life isn’t going to change as quickly as you imagine it. You might be in the necessary simmer.
So, are you simmering? Remember, if you stop simmering, the recipe never finishes. Once the stew is finished cooking, there is always another stew ready to be made. Sit in the simmer. Don’t be afraid of the simmer! Don’t fight it. Use it to get in touch with future you. This time is needed and if you simmer long enough, the miscellaneous things that you don’t need, will rise to the top for you to skim off. That will make your life, your path ahead, clearer, just like the skimmed stock. Isn’t that cool?
If you’re having trouble sitting in the simmer, try reminding yourself that you’ll figure it out. So, where are you right now? This isn’t for me to tell you. It’s for your GPS future you to tell you. Don’t look to me, don’t look to your friend. Look to future you. Ask her what makes the most sense right now, and try asking her if you need to simmer. Trust that you and your GPS will figure out all the pieces when the time is right. Maybe right now, your GPS needs you to work on you, on your emotional health, on your physical health, so you may have the best future in store for you.
Having your future self to check in with is incredibly helpful. Mostly because she is you. She has your back, my friend. The destination sometimes changes for us, but the guidance system doesn’t. Find your guidance system. Find you and go after her 200 percent.
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? Well, 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 13 covers the high-level concepts of this program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, 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:
1) Have you found future you yet? And
2) What was, or is, your biggest obstacle in finding her?
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. My next episode’s title is, I’m Not Being Appreciated. 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!