Author Maneesha Ashutosh
Empty nest syndrome is the new bane for Asian society. It is not a medical condition but is a feeling of grief and loneliness that parents might experience when their children leave home for the first time; for university or for work. It is a new collective phenomenon for Asians as nuclear families have now become the norm. Read along to know how we can cope with it.
Many of the Asian cultures have a tradition of living in joint families or in other words, all generations of the family living under one roof. It gives us a kind of emotional stability, although I do not, for a moment, think that it is picture perfect. It is as imperfect as it could get! And yet there is a loving heart taking care of the children when the mother is working or a warm hand helping the aged in the family to move about.
“Forming a community to discuss our feelings
with like-minded people can help us come to
terms with our longings and the emptiness.”
Impact on nuclear families
According to a survey, today, about 50% of the Asians live in nuclear families. The impact of empty nest syndrome is much higher on parents in such families. Another change that creeps up during the same period is retirement! When retirement and children moving-out come in tandem, the effects can be devastating. Delaying the retirement, if possible, or keeping ourselves busy could help in alleviating the pains of separation from a child.
In this new era with a million opportunities for us to grab, our parents have been more than supportive. They have not hesitated even for a heartbeat and have given us wings and their blessings to spread our roots wherever we wish to. But how are they faring with this ever new scenario? With most of their parents long dead and their siblings dispersed, they do not have anyone to lean on in their crucial time, be it the death of a dear friend or a medical problem! It is time to take account of their feelings.
Alleviating the symptoms
Asians are experiencing the impact of empty nest syndrome with full force for the first time as a culture and are trying to cope up with it without any collective prior experience. It is a herculean task if not impossible. There are some things that we can do to ease into this new life and learn to enjoy the new found freedom:
- It’s now time we restructure our lives and it is definitely the time for husband and wife to grow closer to each other or find a friend who can share your passion and ideas.
- Address things that were not addressed because of the children.
- Keeping tabs on financial stability is very important!
- Pick up that hobby which you could never pursue because of the hectic life before.
- Get your daily dose of exercise to keep fit.
- Make use of technology and keep in touch with your children.
“There are some things that can never be got back
but we can always cherish those memories”
It helps to realize that there are others like us! Forming a community to discuss our feelings with like-minded people can help us come to terms with our longings and the emptiness. It is a comfort to know that there are others who are sailing in the same boat. There are some things that can never be got back but we can always cherish those memories; those longings and the emptiness can never be filled but looking on the brighter side, it is time to get a hold on the reins of our lives and enjoy the evening of our lives!