Let me know how you’re doing, Mama!
I have you on my mind this week…
It’s funny that as our kids go off to college, their whole life is in front of them and honestly, ours is mostly behind us. It may be depressing to think about, but it’s true. They may have a few ideas of what they want to do with their life, or they may have no idea at all. As empty nesters, we are experiencing the same thing. What do we want to do with the rest of our life? Will we have too much time on our hands? Will our life suddenly feel more empty than full?
As you kiss that cheek, and buckle your seatbelt for the long ride home from College Town, USA, you just might empty a box of tissue. But, chin up! The next few years can be the time of your life! Here is a plan that I’ve gleaned from Dr. Ned Hallowell, on a MarieTV episode. He addresses smart people who underperform and why. His strategy works just as beautifully for empty nesters facing uncertain paths ahead.
Have Clear and Defined Goals
By attempting to put first things first, we’re able to see what is important and work toward worthwhile goals. Hallowell suggest 3 goals within 4 time periods. For me personally, every goal includes the 3 P’s.
3 Daily Goals
- People – First things first: My LORD is my people, too! Prayer is a must. After HIM, then husband, children, friends and family, and new acquaintances are top of the list each morning. A text, phone call, email, or cup of coffee keeps us in touch. We can’t talk to everyone every day, but we can try to reach out as often as possible. (Pets are people, too, so tender loving care of animals goes within this category! If you don’t have a pet, consider getting one!)
- Priorities – Education, business, helpfulness, encouragement, time
- Projects/Ideas – writing, photography, household, decorating, thrifting, flipping (Somewhere along the way I read that it’s an excellent practice to write down 10 ideas every day that you want to try, implement or research) I’ve been writing mine for 2 years and have so many, I know I’ll never do them all. It’s the act of listing them that is so powerful. And as I complete the ones I try, it is a great sense of accomplishment. We can NEVER have too many ideas.
By keeping people at the top of our list, we stay connected after retirement. Setting our priorities with things that enhance our life is a great recipe for happiness. Projects keep life interesting and hopefully organized.
3 Monthly Goals
- People: Organize greeting cards, care packages and gifts for the month. Care packages with special notes for our college kids are appreciated more than we know; even if they don’t say thank-you right away.
- Priorities: Encourage others, learn something, create/improve something
- Projects: Errands, chores, improvements
3 Yearly Goals
- People: personal visits if our people live out of town
- Priorities: Try at least one new hobby, see a new place, volunteer
- Projects: Make distinct improvements to business/home/health/education (Write out your personal project goals.)
3 Lifetime Goals
- People: All my people know that both God and I love them
- Priorities: Share my faith, appreciate God’s creation
- Projects: Accomplish things worth talking about, but not in a braggard way
Even with all of these goals written down, as nurturing women, we still tend to worry if we’re getting it right. Here is where Dr. Hallowell struck a chord with me.
“Never Worry Alone”
- Pray daily.
- Make a list of people who can encourage and educate you.
- Stay in contact with your immediate friends and family; especially those in the empty nest. Stephen Covey said that “iron sharpens iron”, so learn from those who challenge you. However….
- Distance yourself from those who cause you to worry more. (According to a former pastor, it is good to separate from people who are stumbling blocks! Don’t hang out with them and try not to be one 😉 )
“Get The Facts”
- Apply truth to all worries. Seek the truth. As a friend once said to me, “frisk every worry as it enters your mind.” If it’s a legitimate concern, allow it to enter. If not, no admittance!
- Research and pray.
- Write down your concerns and address them one by one.
“Make a Plan”
- Discuss your worries with wise people.
- Research and inform yourself.
- Address what is in your power and turn the rest over to HIM.
So, Mama. Never worry alone! Let me know how it’s going.