Who decided it should be called the Empty nest?

The EMPTY NEST…it sounds so…empty and sad!

The name itself suggests that this stage of life is missing something. A nest is supposed to be filled with eggs and the young and we are supposed to be feeding and caring for those young. Once the nest is empty then it is not fulfilling its purpose. WOW, what do we set ourselves up for with this name???

Of course, there are feelings of sadness and loss and grief with the ending of the child-rearing years. And there should be! Things that are important to us bring sadness when they end. The child-rearing years are wonderful, hard, challenging, incredibly busy, ever-changing and they lead us to grow in ways we never would have on our own. When those years come to an end they deserve our grief. But that feeling of emptiness need not define the next stage.

I feel that this next stage in life invites us to many exciting opportunities. We have maturity and experience. We have had enough experience to know what we like and hopefully, we have the maturity to know ourselves, both our strengths and our weaknesses. We also have the freedom to discern what our heart is telling us to fill it up with. Rather than spending our time focused on feeding and caring for our young which is wonderful and amazing, we can broaden our focus towards taking all of the gifts that we were born with and have developed as Mothers and use them in ways that serve our neighborhoods, communities, society, our world. We can make a difference. I see nothing in living a life focused on living with purpose and meaning and values that say “empty nest”.

Clearly, we need a new name for this exciting time in life. Teresa Barthol https://www.facebook.com/teresa.barthol calls this time in life The Third Quarter. I like this because it speaks to the Arc of Life and reminds us that just because we are post-kids, post-menopausal, post-anything doesn’t mean that we are post-living. We have so much life to live, and so many gifts and skills and knowledge and wisdom to share.

I think my choice for this time in life is the Full Heart stage. My heart is full with my husband, my family, and friends, and answering the Call of my Heart in my work. It is full of joy and creativity and play. Yup, I am sticking with calling this time The Full Heart stage!

Karen Herold

Karen Herold

Transition Life Coach | Energy Psychologist | Creative Arts Facilitator



Karen Herold



After 30 plus in the business world Karen Herold considers herself a recovering CPA, finance and executive management business leader. She left her business career to pursue a master’s in transpersonal psychology followed soon thereafter by certification as a psychosynthesis life coach. She brings her wisdom and knowledge as a yoga teacher, creative expression arts facilitator, energy psychologist and a life transition coach to each coaching session. Karen is also a member of the faculty at Sofia University. Karen empowers and encourages her clients to embrace Transition as an Invitation to envision, create and manifest their next stage in life as one that is filled with Purpose, Meaning and Value. Karen is a contributing author to The Call of Self: Psychosynthesis Life Coaching, which is a journey to understanding transpersonally oriented life coaching where she shares her experience of the intersection of life coaching and volleyball coaching.

Karen is the mother of three adult daughters…all of whom she coached in club volleyball at one time or another. She is also grandmother to four young grandchildren and is recently married to her loving husband Chris.


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