Here's How To Cope With The Empty Nest Syndrome


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 29 Feb 2024, 8:39 PM

Dear Children,

Every time I address this column to you on alternate weeks, I wonder if it is reaching you and is benefitting you in the way I hope it would, chiefly because I am aware of how reading is still an uninteresting activity for many of us. I sincerely hope that my messages reach you because I have genuine interest in addressing your concerns and furthering your well-being in a friendly, informal setting. I would also encourage you to write your thoughts and troubles as letters to the editor, so we have a true bridge between us.

Come February-March, there is a lot of noise around exams, especially in the lives of those who are facing the boards. There's a lot of stress laid on how this phase is very crucial in your lives and how these exams could make or break your future. While I agree that this is indeed a crucial period, my reasons to state it are different.

It is crucial because it brings you to the cusp of taking a leap into a space of your own. It is a point where the wings you have been growing all these years will launch you in the sky. Soon, from a fledgling in your parents' nest, you will be a bird soaring in the sky. It is a time when you will finally break away from what you thought kept you shackled all your life (viz. parents) and go in search of your identity. You are now preparing to face and find your place in the world, backed by your parents, your skills, and your core values.

Many years ago, a student of mine, soon after his 12th grade, was preparing to leave home for the first time, and the tension of striking out on his own was palpable (and understandable); the onus of carving out a niche for himself was now on himself; the responsibility of carrying out the business of life was entirely on his shoulders; he was leaving a safe shelter. He was going away from people who despite their“parental authority” were his guardian angels, and suddenly life looked intimidating.

We had frequent conversations then, during which time, I impressed upon him that he was also standing on the threshold of discovering himself through his personal experiences; every step he took from here on would take him towards the dreams he had in life; it was, in every sense, a period of transition - from a boy to a man; from a dependent adolescent to a self-reliant adult. He would learn to think critically about life and take informed decisions and make choices based on the moral foundations his parents have laid. Leaving home to find his calling was a glorious moment.

Life would have been very easy for you until now, sans responsibilities and accountability. But it would also have been mundane and repetitive, and needless to say, constrained and nagging. Now is the time for you to know what life really is, how to navigate through the rough and calm seas, where to drop anchor and build your city of dreams.

A word of caution here. Life outside home is not going to be a cakewalk; there will be challenges, and the freedom that you will enjoy will have a caveat - responsibility. But know that every challenge is going to make you stronger and every learning is going to add up to your credentials.

As you plod through these crucial weeks, remind yourself that the gateway to your future is about to open and you will be out in the world shortly. You will earn the badge of individuality and this rite of passage is worth a celebration. Until next, keep glowing; keep growing.

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