Time to Find Your Authentic Self

So, I was talking to a friend today.  She is a recent empty nester. Her last baby bird flew the next a few weeks ago.  We were discussing How to keep yourself busy when you are alone. what she plans to do with herself now. 

She said she had some home projects to keep her busy for a few months, but then she didn’t know. 

I find that this is a big transition for many people.  Kids are taking longer to get out on their own, but when they do – the empty-nester parents are left with lots of free time and no idea what to do with it. 

This is actually a great time to discover or re-discover your authentic self!!  Even if you have always known “who you are” …when things change…it is a great time to take a look, dig deep and re-evaluate your life! 

Take Stock to Find Your Authentic Self

I have clients that I work in this exact situation.  I help them to discover their authentic self!  It starts with a clear look at yourself and who you really are…not who you want to be or who you wish you were, but who you really are and what you really like or love.

  It is time to get super honest with yourself.  It is time to take stock of EVERYTHING!  After taking stock, then you can decide what you need to do to create a life that you will absolutely LOVE to live!

1st Place – Look at Relationships

A good place to start is by taking a look at your relationships.  Are there relationships that no longer working for you?  When our kids leave we realize we may have a contact list full of people that the only thing we have in common with them…was our kids.  

So, we have to ask ourselves, do I really like this person?  Do I like to spend time with this person? If the answer is no, then it is time to navigate away from them.  Then, we can find friends that we do have things in common with and that we do want to hang out with.  

2nd Place – Look at Activities

After we navigate away from old friends, how do we find the friends that we do want?  It isn’t like when we were in school or when we were young – making friends as an adult can be a daunting task.  I say the best way to find friends is through activities that you like to do.  

This sounds crazy, but many of us have no idea what we like to do anymore.  We haven’t had significant free time in a really long time.  When we start to explore our options, we may find that things that we used to like to do when we were younger, we no longer like them anymore. 

AND…we may find that there are things we never thought we would like to do that are really piquing our interest now.  

3rd Place – Look at Your Truth

It’s time to check out what is true for you today.  We have to take away all the old biases and really delve into the possibilities as to what would be fun for us now!  Even still, there might be things that we used to do as a kid that we want to make a comeback. 

For instance, I used to love to roller skate when I was a kid, but I haven’t done it since then.  So, I have no idea if I still like it or not, but it sounds fun to me.  I found out recently that there is a group that I belong to that is roller skating in a few weeks, so I signed up to go check it out.  We’ll just see how it goes.  

Get Honest with Yourself

The trick to really get a good idea of what you like to do now is being willing and super honest with yourself!  It doesn’t matter what other people think is cool, it only matters what you think. 

You may find that you really love to bird watch or relaxing with Netflix is your thing.  These won’t get you featured in the local newspaper, but if the truth is that they float your boat…then go for it!

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – Just Do It!

So, after you figure out what you like and don’t like…it is time to get out there and do it!  It is a little tricky right now with the COVID shutdowns, but a lot of groups are still meeting with social distancing and online.  

One of my favorite apps for this is MeetUp.com.  This is a place where you can search for your activity and find people in your area who like to do the same thing. 

You can sign up for the group and then sign up for any events that they may have going on that you are interested in.  If there are no groups or events on there already…you can create a group and events yourself.  

Another outlet is volunteering – find opportunities in the community to volunteer to do what you love.  It can be volunteering at a soup kitchen, tutoring kids, or adults – whatever.  There are also places like the YMCA that post-activity that might interest you. 

The local library usually hosts groups that do hobby type things too.  Once you start looking for them, there are countless ways to find people that may like to do what you like to do.  

Keep Trying It Out

Once you have found the group that you like…give it a try.  I like to recommend that people go to each group at least 3 times to see if it is a good group or not. If it is not a good fit, you can just move on – no harm no foul.  

As you are going to the groups, there is a good chance that you will meet some people that you may want to hang out with one on one.  These might be people that you want to do this activity with one on one or they might end up being new friends that you can do lots of activities together.  

It may be that what you love to do are solitary activities.  You can still find communities to keep you energized online in FB groups, following bloggers, or creating your own FB group of the blog or countless other online opportunities to find community around your activity.  

Only the Beginning

This is only the beginning of discovering your authentic self.  However, it is a great start!  This is a great opportunity to get to know yourself better in this season of your life as well as find ways to live it to the fullest!!  

We can always discover exciting new things about ourselves and go in new directions.  These new directions give us purpose and passion.  

Purpose and passion are what keeps us motivated, happy, and young at heart!!  

Questions for You:

Have you ever seen someone put themselves out to pasture when their kids left home or when they retired from a job?  What do you think is blocking them from using this time to discover their authentic self, in this season of their life?