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Top 10 Ways You Know You Might Be Suffering from “Empty Nest Syndrome”

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(note:  First draft for a stand-up comedy routine to be performed at the Humor Mill Toastmasters 9th Annual Stand Up Comedy Night on 1/16/2014.  I’d like to make it funnier, so please comment with ideas)

Any empty nesters out there?  Looking forward to someday being an empty nester?

After 25 years of raising kids, our last child has left the nest.  Just on Monday–Air Force Basic training.

As I dropped him off at the hotel, as he walked away, the memories came flooding in and I thought . ..

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

No empty nest syndrome for me!

Did you know that there is an actual condition “the empty nest syndrome”?

It’s a feeling of grief and loneliness that parents feel when their children leave home.

Grief?  Loneliness?

Heck, no.

But, I’ll admit that adjusting to an empty nest takes some time.  Here’s my top 10 list of ways you know you might be suffering from the Empty Nest Syndrome:

10.  You’re still surprised when you come home and the house looks the way you left it.

9.   On a bad weather day, you still check the list of school closings

8.   For that special “couple time” with your spouse, you still lock the bedroom door

7.   You still think of eating out as going through the drive through at McDonalds.

6.  You set the table for one too many people.

5.  You are shocked when you get in your car and the radio is playing your station

4.  You still walk around your car, checking for new damage

3.  You find yourself walking into your child’s room, giving it the “sniff test.”  I’ve heard of some moms going into their child’s room and smelling their children’s clothes.  Gag me.  I needed industrial strength cleaner to get rid of the stinky feet, old pizza and general locker-room bouquet.

2.  You start having more conversations at home, especially in that cutesy baby-waby tone of voice . . . with your cat.

And the #1 reason you know you might be having trouble adjusting to an empty nest:

1.  You get panic attacks that your parenting has scared your child for life.  You envision your child as a failure, living on the streets, making an appearance on the Jerry Springer show.

I’ve got some advice on that last reason. In fact, I’m even thinking of writing a book on parenting called, Parenting: It Doesn’t Matter What you Do.

So, chill out and embrace your freedom. . . before they boomerang back!

Leadership and Humor: What Works (and What Doesn’t)

Leadership and HumorPutting yourself down can bring you up as a leader.

Researchers at Seattle University found that self-deprecating humor enhances perceptions of leadership ability because it tends to minimize status distinctions between leaders and followers.

Leaders who use self-deprecating humor are seen as more likable, trustworthy and caring. Aggressive humor that targets others (putting others down), may make the leader feel more self-important, but results negative perceptions of the leader.

However, it is possible to put yourself and others down at the same time and enhance others’ perception of your leadership.  “In-group” humor, in which you make fun of something you share with others can enhance group identity, even in negotiations in which parties are otherwise at odds.

Read the research paper here.  A note of caution: self-deprecating humor may not be as effective in some cultures or when women leaders use it (if it reinforces a negative stereotype of women).

Learn more about how to create your own self-deprecating humor.

My Purse: Till Death Do Us Part

Have you ever noticed that as women get older, their purses get bigger?

When I was a teenager I had a wallet.  And my mother had this ridiculously large purse.  I vowed I would never turn into a “bag lady” like my mother.

Well, I’ve become my mother. I have a huge purse.  It could have its own zip code.   It can hold pretty much anything:  keyboard for my iPad, grooming accessories . . . small children.

No really!  Here’s a picture of one of my granddaughters at 3 months.  In .  .  . my purse.

 Baby in Purse

She seemed quite content . . . I’ll have to take her purse shopping someday.

Because my own daughter, who only carries a wallet, won’t go purse shopping with me.  She won’t even walk into Kohl’s with me, for fear that I might veer off toward the purse department.

I can’t help it that it takes me hours to find just the right purse.  It’s like finding the right man.

I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to purses.  Unlike many women who have a purse for every outfit, I’m a one-purse woman.  Oh, sure, I have a cheesy little clutch bag for super fancy events—but, I feel so guilty when I go out with the little tart.  My faithful purse may be a little worn—the patent leather is cracking on the straps and she’s missing a few rivets–some might even call her an “old bag.”

But, It’s till death-do-us-part.  Or, until Kohl’s has a really good sale.

This post has pretty much nothing to do with conversation.  I’m working on a short stand-up routine for my Toastmasters club.  I’d like to make it a little longer and a little more funny, if you have suggestions.

Let’s Party Like There’s No Tomorrow

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the Mayan Calendar ends tomorrow and many predict that the world will end with it.

You’ve chuckled at the weather forecast image that’s gone viral:

end-of-world-humor

The Mayan Channel Forecast . . .  Thursday: partly cloudy, high 45.  Friday:  Fire and brimstone.

You  probably think this is just silly fun, but some are taking it seriously, if only to let others know they are not taking it seriously.  Even NASA has a rebuttal page on its website and a video to debunk the doomsday theories.  NASA has been deluged with emails.

Here’s how a typical message begins ”Dear sir, I know you work for the government and cannot be trusted since Congress has passed a law making it illegal for anyone to tell the public about an incoming near earth object, but . . .

Such trust in our government . . .

Well, if the world ends tomorrow, at least we don’t have to worry about falling off the fiscal cliff.

Some companies are cashing in on people’s fears.

In the Siberian city of Tomsk, what began as gag to offer end-of the world survival kits has since turned into a profitable business venture.

The $29 kits include candles, a rope, a notepad and pencil, a can of fish . . . and vodka.

Just the essentials . . .

Even restaurants are cashing in.  TGIF—Thank God it’s Friday Restaurant is promoting the day heavily:

  • Your last Friday
  • Your last meal
  • Party like there’s no tomorrow

And don’t worry about dressing up for the last day.  Remember—it’s casual Friday!

Really,  you don’t need to worry. . . there have been 160+ “end of the world” predictions before . . . all wrong, obviously.

So, if you haven’t bought your Christmas gifts, the end of the world won’t get you off the hook this year either.

And, what will I be doing on the last day?  Going to my son’s wedding!  I keep telling him . . . it’s not the end of the world!

Let’s party like there’s no tomorrow!

5 Life Lessons I Learned from My Cat

The picture on the left is my cat, Tuffy.  She’s more fluff than tuff.  Tuffy is the 6th cat my husband I have owned in 30 years of marriage.  We had cats before we had kids.  We thought it would be a good idea to practice parenting on something that if we accidentally killed it, we wouldn’t go to prison!

We actually didn’t learn much about parenting from our cats—but we did learn a few life lessons.

Here are 5 of the top things I’ve learned from my cats:

1. Enjoy eating (go ahead,play with your food)

You can almost feel the electric joy when a cat bats her prey across the floor and flips it into the air, twisting and turning her whole body into one efficient killing machine.  Now–you are not a cat, so I don’t want to see you at McDonald’s  flipping fries into the air,  but it’s OK to have fun eating.

2. Wash often—basic hygiene.  But, again, you are not a cat, so please, use a washcloth and not your tongue.

3. Nap often.  Life is hard and then you nap.  I’m still trying to learn this one!  But my cat inspires me.

4. Keep ‘em guessing.   Alternate between being aloof  and being affectionate (or annoying). One day ignore people; the next day annoy them and play with them when they are busy.  Just kidding, but, variety is the spice of life—change things up now and then

5. Show appreciation.   

Nothing says love quite like a dead bird on the bed.

Of course you are not a cat, but spend some time with a cat and learn a few lessons of your own. 

Watch the video!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNlgMV8GcM0]