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Empty Nesters, So Now What Do You Do?

The kids are gone so now what do you do?  

Remember those days BK?  What did you enjoy doing? Start thinking of these things again. In the early days of being parents, we long for the days of date nights and being intimate without worrying about the kids running into the bedroom.  After years of getting used to being parents first and lovers last, it’s not surprising that we have forgotten about the days of being an intimate couple again, let alone have a date night.

  • Tap into passions or hobbies you put on hold when the kids arrived. What were your interests before becoming parents? I can hardly remember what those things were it seems so long ago.  I know that we liked to hike, dive, go camping with friends.  With the kids on their own, now is the time to re-embrace those original loves.
  • Enjoy some “you” time.I know that my health and fitness came last in our house and it was so refreshing to be able to exercise and start eating the things that I wanted to eat after they were gone. Remember that an empty nest means that you have more time to focus on what you want and need.

Focus more on your career. Take a refresher course or continuing education that you either couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for.  We may think that our brain is too old to learn something new but I found that out this past year when I changed jobs and learned a whole new type of nursing. Our brains are really equipped for continual learning no matter what our age and that it really is true that with age comes wisdom, as older people draw on the wealth of their life’s experience and what they lack in speed, they make up for in sound judgment. Don’t let your age hold you back; we live in an era where changing ourselves every decade is now normal.

Do something fun and maybe even a little crazy.

  • Travel. This was the best thing we did after the kids left.  We took a cruise without kids and it was AMAZING!!!  Traveling during off times can not only be more enjoyable due to less crowds, it can also be less costly too.  So remember this when booking a vacation. If you’re retired, consider road tripping in an RV. And did you know, if you are retired, be sure to get proof of your age and any welfare status, as many countries will now accept this evidence for giving you reduced entry fees and other specials; make the most of these savings!
  • Try a new adventure.Go skydiving (that’s on my bucket list), or try zip lining.  The kids are grown now and the worry of “orphaning” them isn’t so much a worry.  There are risks associated with everything, so go have fun!!!

Make lifestyle changes. Now that you don’t need that mini van, trade it in for a smaller car, one that you’ve always wanted.  Take that trip that you have always wanted to do but knew it would cost too much to take the kids with you.  Downsize that huge yard and house that you had for the kids.  There will be other families knocking down your door to get in that home you built for your family.  Try out a new career.  Maybe you don’t really need that job that you had so you could be home with the kids in the morning or afternoon.  Try something new.

Celebrate your empty nest... while you can. I know that our kids have had to come back home a few times.  With these economic times, it’s so hard for them to find jobs and housing that they can afford.  Know that this might happen and that they might need a helping hand but set limits.  They have to have a job and MUST help around the house and with living costs.

Prepare to be grandparents. This will be a joyous day in our family for sure and I know that I will want to be there to help in any way that I can, but remember to set limits at the start.  You can be there for them but don’t rearrange the new life you have made for yourself unless this is really want you want.  I was most grateful to my mom for staying home to take care of our boys.  It was the best thing ever for both of them.  And they are closer to this day because of it.  But stand your ground and don’t let them take advantage of you.  You can watch them for a certain time frame but remember, your children chose to bring their own family into this world and it’s their responsibility to raise them.

Enjoy your life now with the freedom you have and Do something crazy!!!