Last year I wrote a post called, “Can You Go Home Again?” It was primarily about adults who moved back into their family home. There are many who move back home and find a new sense of place. “Childhood is where you developed the foundation of who you are. The foundation that rocked your cradle and kept you warm and dry, also set your emotional and physical sense of place.” But, what happens when the move away is from your adult family home?
Here’s the scenario: As a young family you buy a home in a vibrant community, raise a few children and nurture enduring friendships. One by one, the children empty the nest. You find that the once-perfect home and community no longer meets your needs. The empty rooms, the maintenance of keeping a large house and gardens, the increasingly far proximity to those fledglings that flew the nest, and a new sense of freedom that makes for a restlessness that builds until it gives way to a wanderlust, takes hold.
This happened to two of my favorite people. We raised our babies together, discussed our kid’s schooling, commiserated about teenage angst, had endless conversations about the interconnected lives of the members of our community, and then we watched our respective children (all five of them) fly away from the nest. And then, my friends flew the coop. They sold the family home, left their friends tearfully behind, and set off on a new adult-sized adventure. Eventually, they rerooted in a new community and a new home.
This scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. Apparently, about a third of all empty nesters move or plan to move when their kids leave home.
After a year away, my friends came back recently for a short visit. Over a nostalgic dinner, I asked my long-lost artist friends, Brad and Cindy about their experience of moving from New York to Utah.
Brad and Cindy: “It was so hard to leave after 25 years. The pull to follow our new freedom was painfully strong. One of the most difficult parts was to look objectively at all of our possessions. After a massive tag sale, we started to simplify, and it became so liberating. For us, we went from a 3,000 sq. ft house filled with kids, constant activity and 25 yrs worth of stuff and we now live in a 1,200 sq. ft home. Every available living space became precious. We thought long and hard about making sure that everything we kept was necessary or essential to the new space. The emotional piece of moving away still tugs at us, so here we are visiting.”
Now they’ve left…again. Saying good-bye this time was much easier. We’ve all survived their move and we keep in touch mostly by using technology – Facebook, email and Skype.
Has anything similar happened to you? Please share your stories of rerooting.
Artwork: Bradley Clark