Are you experiencing silence? My college daughter, H has established her place in school - her social circle, her roommates, her professors. After we paid her second semester bills, got her books figured out and deposited some spending money into her bank account, she was set and we didn't hear much from her. I have another daughter at home so I'm not yet an empty nester but still, I find myself thinking about things I've always wanted to do. Years ago, my secretary told me that life begins at 50. I'm at the cusp of 50 and I think I understand what she meant. Your children are essentially raised and you can conceptualize the end of your own life. If you're like me, there are SO many things you have yet to do. I recently rented a violin and I had my first violin lesson yesterday. I've been trying to figure out how to help my community regarding the dilemma of kids not learning how to read before the 3rd grade. I'm part of my worship team at Church and I feel called to do more there. Now is the time to start dreaming or even start doing everything you want to do even though you might be a little pooped. I found an article in an old Psychology Today that addresses this issue which was taken from The Pursuit of Happiness (Avon Books; 1993) by David G. Myers, Ph.D. Copyright 1993 by the David and Carol Myers Foundation.
Seek work and leisure that engage your skills. Sometimes the challenges of work or home are too great, and we feel stressed. At other times, we're under challenged and bored. In between these two states is a zone where we feel challenged, but not overmatched. We get absorbed. We lose consciousness of time. We are in a state that University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls "flow."
The well-being that accompanies flow extends to leisure. Ironically, some of the most expensive forms of leisure are least likely to provide flow. Catch people sitting on a yacht or watching their big screen TV, and they typically don't feel all that great, for their skills aren't engaged. Catch them gardening, socializing, or writing a letter and you will likely find them feeling less apathetic and happier.
I really get that notion of "flow". When I'm looking at a blank page, I get such anxiety that I've had an art teacher tell me, "Allison, this is not brain surgery! Just start!" Once I've put mark on paper and whatever I'm drawing or painting starts taking shape, I lose hours. I have a friend who routinely loses hours. He seems to live in a constant state of "flow". I'm not sure I'd want to live there but it's awfully nice to visit once in a while.
So, If you're experiencing this new found silence, as I am, take advantage of it. Pursue something you've been meaning to try. Not that college aged students are particularly interested in what their parents are up to but wouldn't it be a more interesting summer home coming if your son/daughter could sit down and tell you all that they've been doing and instead of just saying how much you missed them, you could tell them about your new yoga class, or you have a fabulous hike that you need to share with them, or how your learning to speak Italian for your next trip to Europe?
If you're a Facebooker, check us out at "New Mexico Tech - Parents". Let us know how you're going with the "flow".