This is the time of year when many of you have dropped the last child off at college. Many feelings are no doubt swirling around inside you. You may feel proud of your child and excited about the new possibilities that await him or her. You may also be feeling anxious about your child's adjustment and yours. While this is not, by any means, the end of your relationship, this is a change in the nature of that relationship, so it is a bittersweet time. I remember my own feelings as I dropped my one and only child off at school. Proud, excited for him, sad, scared and yet excited about reclaiming my own life. That was a few years ago and he is now a thriving adult with a wife and family of his own. So, you may be asking,
"Now what?"

Laura is a woman in her early 50's who has raised two children while holding down a job as a well respected teacher. Now that her own children are off on their own, she is feeling restless. Her focus has shifted and she is feeling the urge to try something new. While she has loved teaching and felt on purpose, she just isn't feeling the old enthusiasm anymore. She is feeling a calling to move in a new, fun direction, but isn't sure just what that is.

Joan has been a stay-at-home mom and has now seen the last child off to school. Her children have been her purpose and she is proud of how smart and kind they are. But now Joan is at loose ends herself. She is wondering if she is too old to reinvent herself and is a little afraid of the idea of starting a new venture of her own. Still, she longs for meaning in her life and wants to explore how she can translate her skills into another venue and also expand in new directions.

Once the major parenting job is done and your children are off other own exciting life adventures, it is the perfect time to take stock of your own life. Whether you have been a mother working outside the home like Laura, or your children have been your purpose and focus as was the case for Joan, you now have an opportunity to stretch yourself in new ways. Being a life-long learner is a great way to feel renewed, healthy and vital. Think of this as simply a new phase in life and embrace your wisdom. You have gifts to give the to world and to yourself that are waiting to be expressed!

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Celebrate the successful parenting of your children. This was no small accomplishment. If you have raised your children to be self-sufficient then Mission Accomplished!

2. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. If you feel lonely and you miss the familiar family times and routines, that's natural. Once you acknowledge your feelings, start gradually moving yourself up the emotional scale by thinking thoughts that feel just a little better. Find a time when you can focus uninterrupted on this process and write it down.

For example, you may start with the thought, " I miss Janie so much. The house is so quiet and I miss her lively conversation at the dinner table." Then offer a thought that feels a bit better, for example, " I know we will always have a bond between us." Then, " I really am proud of her." And so on, until you get to a point of feeling good. You can move yourself into a better feeling place fairly quickly. The key here is to not allow yourself to wallow. Your happiness isn't dependent on anyone else, not even your children. It is up to you.

3. Once you have gotten to a better feeling place, ride that momentum a little more by making a list of the positive aspects of your life now. What do you appreciate about your current situation? More freedom? Renewal of your relationship with your spouse? More time with friends? More personal time to work out, take walks, meditate?

4. Start exploring things you love to do. What is it that you may have put off because you haven't had time to devote to it while raising children? Have you always wanted to take ballroom dance lessons? Go scuba diving? Write a novel? Travel to new places? Paint? What would you do if you couldn't fail? Start a new business of your own? Volunteer? Do you have causes you'd like to take a more active role in supporting? What do you enjoy doing? Working with numbers? Mechanical things? Gardening? Working out at the gym? What are you passionate about?

Make lists of all the things you love, wanted to do but put off, would like to learn. It may be a challenge at first, but once you get going you will be surprised at how many ideas start surfacing. Don't hold back because you think there is something you want to do but don't have the skills. If you have the desire you have the ability to learn. Let yourself just freely brainstorm.

5. Get over the idea that you are too old--or too anything--to start something new or pursue your dreams. Many people have started successful business in their 60's. Mary Kay Ash began her cosmetic empire at the age of 50 and ran the company for 30 years!

6. This may be a good time to partner with a coach to help you gain clarity on your passions, vision your future and plan the steps to take the action you need to move forward.

Remember that we are the creators of our own experience and it is our purpose in life to feel joy. By deliberately focusing our thoughts on what we do want, rather than on what we don't want (or what-is) we create the life we desire. Here is a vision to hold in mind. Imagine your children being proud of YOU and who you have become since they left home!

Author's Bio: 

Estra Roell is known as America's Life Purpose Coach. She is a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach and a Psych-K facilitator. She helps clients get in touch with their highest passions and purpose and assists them to create their vision, shift limiting beliefs that may be holding them back and take the action steps to move into a life of meaning, joy and abundance. Estra has been a featured guest on radio shows and is the co-host of her own internet radio show, Coach Cafe, on Blogtalk Radio. Please visit her website at to receive her free report on "Six Essential Steps to Discovering Your Life's Work" and to subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.