So Where Do I Go From Here? Navigating Empty – Nester Syndrome

After my husband passed away last year, I decided to sell our four-bedroom house and move to a two-bedroom apartment that I would share with my 21-year-old daughter and her girlfriend.

I was so excited at the prospect! For the first time in 25 years I had a bedroom and master bath all to myself.

I could keep it as clean or dirty as I wanted.

I could decorate it however I liked.

I could even leave makeup and tools all over it if I felt like it.

So one afternoon I took my excitement to the home goods section at Target and got ready to buy all the things that reflected MY personality.

Then, as I stood in front of their wall of towels, (and coordinating accessories), it hit me. 

I had no idea what to get.

I had no idea what I even liked. 

I didn’t know what color or pattern would represent my style, because I had no idea what my style was.

I had no idea who I was.

I had spent the last 25 years of my life raising kids, being a wife, and being a caregiver. I had confused who I ‘was’, with whatever role I had taken on.

But I had no role now. 

It was just me. Dealing with me.

I was about the prospect of finally claiming my own space. But, when the time actually came, I felt completely overwhelmed.

I stood in front of that wall of towels (and coordinating accessories) for about 30 minutes. I finally gave up and just grabbed something that I felt okay with, and went home.

I felt defeated.

Not actually by towels, of course.

But by the thought that “I have to get it right.”

Like there was a right or wrong way to decorate my bathroom!

(Spoiler alert – there isn’t).

I ended up going home, washing everything, then placing it around my bathroom anyway. And you know what? I liked it! I even started thinking about a pretty accent color I could add to make the space even more me

But this is about more than just picking out towels for your bathrooms or a color pattern for your kitchen or living room.

It’s about the empty–nester process.

Maybe, like me, you’ve spent the last 10, 20, or 25 years living for other people, and considering their needs and wants.

And now, we’re having to re-learn who WE are, and figure out how to start living for that person.

Let me reassure you – there is no right or wrong way to move forward with the 2nd stage of your life!

Explore! Have fun!

Do something you’ve always wanted to do, but never ‘found time’ for.

And be patient. Give yourself some grace. There is no time limit, you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start moving.

Just start.

Take one step.

And if you don’t like where that step takes you, change it. Shift. Regroup.

You can always change the color of your towels.

You can figure this out!

I believe in you 🙂

If you’d like to learn more about how to adjust to being an empty–nester you can contact me at You can also follow me on FaceBook at Your Next Step, and on Instagram at vicki.pike_lifecoach.

I’d love to hear your story 🙂

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