I have found a way to fill up my empty nest that’s been most satisfying. I fill up my empty nest with me. My thoughts, my ideas, my life. I am finding out how great it is to be able to put my needs and desires first, and how great it feels to be turning towards a new way of being seen in the world – no longer just as my children’s mother, but as a woman with a voice, an identity, an opinion – someone with value beyond my former full time job as a stay-at-home mom.

I’m very much connected to the people that I love, even more so in some ways than I was when I was raising my children. Now my marriage is taking center stage each day, instead of my children’s daily goings-on. And you know what? It’s fun. When my kids were growing up, they needed so much of me -they were my life. I chose to be this type of mother – the one who is always there in the morning when they leave, always around when they come home at the end of the day. For me, there would have been no other way to do it. Not only did it make me happy, but it gave me a purpose and a focus unlike any I’d ever had before them. When they were young and the thought of them being gone would cross my mind, it was as if I would be venturing into a foreign country, it seemed so alien to me.

And then they left. First one, then two years later, the other. It was the most difficult transition I’ve ever experienced. All of the reasons I had for getting up each day were now gone – and though I continued to be their mother via phone, text and the like, the daily business of raising my family was over. Wow. I won’t lie, it was awful. But it wasn’t so much about missing them – I did, but not in the heartbreaking way I know some women do when their kids leave home – it was about finding my purpose, my passion, my confidence – about finding myself. I knew it couldn’t be about them anymore – but was I really that interesting?

And then I remembered how much I loved to write. I remembered that there is a kind of peace that comes over me when I start to create something. Blogging seemed a like a good first step, so I took a deep breath and began. And guess what? I think I’ve found it. No, I know I’ve found it – that thing we all look for that makes us feel like we matter, like we’re important, like we have a place in this world. I started blogging for me, but then something great happened – people started reading my posts. Then commenting. Then sharing with their friends.

So now, I’m a writer. Now I know how I want to spend my time, which makes the time I don’t spend writing seem more relaxed, more ok. Because instead of feeling like I’m searching for who I am, now I’m searching for where I’ll go next.

We all have something. Find it, use it, test it out. Find the way to fill your nest with yourself.