How to Deal with the Empty Nest Syndrome & Major Life Changes

What do you do when something you’ve been giving your heart to for eighteen years comes to an end?


A few days ago I dropped my son off for college at Penn State University. It’s a landmark moment in the life of both him and I, as it is for any parent and child.

My son is amazing. He is not just a son he is a dear friend. I’ve watched and supported him through so many stages of development and I have developed along the way in the process as well.

The past three weeks we took road trips together. Lifted weights together. Hiked together, Watched movies together. Took walks together. Ate delicious meals together. Visited waterfalls together and talked about everything under the sun together.

Then the moment comes. You hug them tight. You say your last words of affection and encouragement. You feel their nervousness and excitement. You watch them walk off. And that’s it. The end.

A wide variety of feelings and emotions arise.

They are now taking a big step toward self-reliance and self-responsibility which is what you parented them for to begin with. Great job! Mission accomplished!

And what about you the parent? What are you doing now?

What I am doing now?

It’s called ‘the empty nest syndrome’. As a personal coach I’ve worked with many clients that are at this transition point in their life. It’s a very difficult transition point in the life of so many people. There is a sense of no longer having direction, value or purpose. This is especially true for Mothers. For some people, they never fully make it through this transition.

Whether it’s a divorce, or a death in the family, the loss of a job, a home, or a child going off to college, we all have have major chapters of our life that have, or will, come to an end.

Here’s two essential keys for making it through these transition points in our life.

First, it’s important to honor whatever feelings arise, for as long as they are present. There’s no rule on how long that is.

Second, it’s very important to ask right questions.

What is the opportunity here?
What excites me now?
If anything is possible what am I called to create now?

The most successful people in these transitions don’t always know the answers but they do know the questions.

Big endings can be scary, sad, confusing. However, the big ending is are also a new beginning that can be incredibly exciting when we learn to connect with our feelings, ask the right questions, and be patient for the answers.


What keys have you found valuable to make it through major transition points in your life? Where are you being challenged?


And .. what am I doing now? Stay tuned to find out. 😊

Leave a Comment