Belinda Clarke: Finding Happiness when your nest is empty
The revelation came to me shortly after my youngest child had flown the nest. She had left home. She was all grown up now with her own life ahead of her, independent and free from parents. Hmmm. "So what do I do now?," I asked myself. My role as mother, carer and provider had ended. I was officially redundant!
Previously, I had not spent much time thinking about what it would be like to be one of two rather than one of four. Yes, I joked I could not wait for my children to leave home, but I hadn’t thought lots about it – it was the life I had known all my adult life. For 20 odd years I had been a mother. I had not really considered what it would be like without my children; how quiet the house would be, the minimal amount of clothes washing, the couple life for hubby and me instead of family life. Considering the children and making sure there was enough of the right food in the house was my normal way of life, my responsibility.
After the initial surprise at how different home life became and getting used to just hubby and me, I felt a shift within, a sense of liberation and of special pride. I had accomplished my role as mother - successfully producing two very beautiful (inwardly and outwardly), caring, capable and independent members of society.
Rather than grieve the loss and lose myself in self pity, I used the time wisely to review my own life. What did I want from life? What was my main role now? What did life have to offer me, post parenting?
The answers came thick and fast. I wanted to see the world, travel, experience adventure, follow my dreams and live life to the full. I wanted a balance of work and leisure and most of all I wanted to find true, lasting happiness for myself.
Good job hubby shared the same vision! We sold our big house and flash cars, jacked our jobs in and gave away possessions. We travelled Spain and Latin America for one year and then relocated to a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea called Ibiza. We are living our dreams and have found Happiness. Not from all the trinkets and possessions we used to strive for but nestling happily within ourselves and from a life filled with simplicity, gratitude and love.