Feathers, Sticks, Guano and Wisdom: The Debris of the Empty Nest

I’m trying to work out how to effectively launch a new Twitter account. At 57, IT-active but still cautiously emerging from a tunnel of innate technophobia, this is a challenge for me.

I want to reach out to other Older Women like myself. Over 50, reluctant to accept what “over 50” is supposed to mean. Perhaps, like me, actively navigating Empty Nest Syndrome. Excited about this brand new stage, hungry for adventure and ready to seize Life with a capital L, while simultaneiously heart-sore at the letting go of the phantom babies, children, adolescents and young adults who still populate our head-and-heart-space.

It’s a strange and turbulent place to be. Double-edged. The highs and lows entwine like co-dependent lovers, no predictability. The grief can wind me like a belly-blow, without warning, perhaps at the sight of a mother and adolescent daughter or toddler son in intimate oblivion of what’s to follow. Tears spring forth flash-flood-like, then pass into sunshine as I realise again that this glorious world is mine for the taking, and I don’t have a moment to lose.

My body is a little less adventurous than my vibrant mind and eager spirit would like. Arthritic hips render some ideas impractical. I am hurtling towards sixty – how is that possible? I still feel like a girl, but with a deeper grounding. A wealth of resources for life that I lacked back then, gained from the experience of living it. I suppose, surreally, this amounts to wisdom. It’s not what I thought wisdom would feel like when I was that idealistic, flighty, frightened, brave young woman, just setting out as my youngest daughter is doing now.

I like the idea that I might be wise. People have told me I am. Workshop participants who change their own lives under my guidance often credit me with their success, but it is not mine. I am merely a companion. Perhaps a wiser one than I have realised.

I haven’t really paused to think much about my own wisdom. We are all wise, we nascent crones. How can we not be? We have performed miracle upon miracle. We have created Life, and nurtured it through a thousand evolutions, babe to adult. We have survived for decades against myriad odds. We have loved with an alchemical ferocity, and we have let go – perhaps the greatest of life’s challenges.
Wisdom is what remains amid the debris of the empty nest. Feathers and sticks and guano and wisdom. A potent mix that may seem messy and innocuous at first glance, but things are rarely what they seem.

There must be other women who feel as I do, marbled with the paradoxical forces of heart-wringing weariness and creative zest. Thirty years of child-rearing was the greatest, most exhausting adventure I can ever know. Now, suddenly, a whole new landscape has unrolled before me, and my time is limited. While I wasn’t looking I became an “Older Woman” with an awareness of my own mortality. Some friends have not made it thus far, and, without feeling morbid, I don’t know how much time I might have left. Certainly not enough to do everything my eager heart and soul desire.
A long-time favourite quote pops into my mind. “There is so much to do and so little time. We must go slowly” A paradox, appropriately. All of life seems paradoxical from this messy, glorious place.

I did a search on Twitter, eager to reach other women of my age, who might empathise with this conundrum. I looked for “Older Women” and “Women over 50”. I was surprised that the majority of what I yielded was porn. Who knew there was an over-50’s genre? Also a couple of motivational fitness posts. One on beauty. I was about to give up when I found @befabrevolution. This looks more like it. I have made contact.

I am building a new family. Women whose love and passion, commitment, resourcefulness and creativity are seeking redirection. When the last daughter or son leaves home, after we’ve taken stock, hopefully rested and been compassionate with ourselves, all the energy we’ve poured into decades of child-rearing becomes available. That can be daunting. Disorientating and even devastating, for a while. But, oh, what an incredible gift! Wisdom, power, and the time and energy to put them to good use.

My new twitter account needs followers. @AccepTTranscend. My new blogs – just begun – need readers. I’d love to hear from women who relate to what I write about. I’m keen to know who you are, beyond the Mothering years, as I continue to learn who I am. The next adventure in a world of endless possibility.

By | 2017-08-27T19:03:07+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Woman Undiluted|

About the Author:

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I am 59, mother of three adult children, a transpersonal therapist, writer and group facilitator living in South West England. I have had my share of (ultimately empowering) challenges, including neurodiversity and mental health crises, and am currently learning to embrace the dubious title “Older Woman”- and make it wonderful!

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