FRIENDS & FAMILY
Psychotherapist Christine Webber is the author of Too Young to Get Old (Piatkus) and the e-book Get the Self-esteem Habit (Bloomsbury).
MOVE WITH THE TIMES In midlife, we often say goodbye to life as we knew it. Our kids grow up and leave the family home. Your relationship with your folks may switch to them needing you instead of you needing them. Rediscover your sense of purpose to find out who you now are – and what your role is.
RETHINK YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GROWN CHILDREN The transition from dependent child to fully fledged adult can be tricky and you want your relationship to be strong at the end of it! Remember they can no longer be expected to do what you tell them. Offer advice when asked, but don’t be hurt if they ignore it. Seeing them outside the domestic context – for a meal, a movie, or shopping trip – can help nurture your new relationship. You’ll always be Mom – now build a solid friendship, too.
NURTURE OTHER FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS Research shows that as we get older and think more about our past, our relationships with siblings become more crucial to our happiness. Siblings knew you best before life got complicated. When parents can’t keep you all in touch any more, actively nurture all those bonds. Create a family Whatsapp group and arrange get-togethers.
LEARN FROM YOUR KIDS You’ve seen how important friends are to your children – but the demands of family, home and career mean we have often neglected ours. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Set up a regular slot with a colleague or neighbour – aerobics Wednesday evenings, lunch every Friday?
FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS See this new space as a chance to put yourself centre stage and really explore. Are there night classes that inspire you, for example? Following your passions will open new doors and introduce like-minded people.
‘Empty nesters can nurture others’