The kids have grown up, they’ve moved on with careers, relationships, and even family and now the house has become eerily quiet. It’s easy to feel a sense of loss, nostalgia, and maybe sadness that all those years of a busy household are a thing of the past. It’s important to acknowledge that having your chickens fly the coop is a positive achievement, confirming that you’ve done your job as a parent. For many parents, empty nest syndrome may bring a few tears and even emptiness. However, what many don’t realize that once the kids are away, the parents are now free to play! As we have discussed some coping strategies for empty nesters, we will discuss some extra steps we can as empty nesters. What more can we do to enjoy the empty nester period?
Well, read our four steps for coping as empty nesters. Sit back, read, and enjoy with a cup of freedom coffee.
1. Be Proud of Their Accomplishment
Take pride in their accomplishment. Raising children is an enormous, life-defining, and intense job. Now is the time to revel in the fact that you “made it” and produced an independent child who is ready to taken on the challenges of the world. Think about what your child has accomplished.
One of the best ways to celebrate your empty nest status is to celebrate your child’s accomplishments. Remind yourself about how far you’ve come and how far your child will go. Even though your child has left the house, they will need your continued support and love for the rest of your life. The journey doesn’t end here. Take out the awards, certificates, report cards, and other memorabilia that attests to your child’s milestones and accomplishments. You had a big part to play in all of these. You should be very proud of yourself.
2. Revisit Your Career
In a two-parent household, often one parent will scale back their career in order to be home or to work part-time so as to be more available for the kids. Now that the kids have fled the household, you might be keen to turn your focus back to furthering your career or developing your talents in a different area by returning to studies or a bridging course. Don’t let your age hold you back. We live in an era where changing ourselves every decade is now normal. You can focus on going back to work and working full-time. You can also learn another language! What do you think about that?
Another great way to focus on your career is by going to school for something you really wanted to do. For example, if you want to get a license in cosmetology, go for it! Who said no? You have no obstacles ahead of you and this is the best time to focus back on your career.
3. Get Active
Since you’re no longer a slave to your child’s activity schedule, book a vacation to your favorite destination. Yes, that right, use your PTO! If you are retired, you still can take a great vacation with your partner or friends. You do not need to worry about adjusting your life to your children’s schedules anymore! They are on their own and so are you. So, why not try a new adventure? For example, if you’ve wanted to skydive, ride in a balloon, or try zip lining, go for it. You’re entitled to “you” time to go for the out-of-the-ordinary adventure.
Don’t have time for a vacation? There are many other ways to stay active and enjoy your time as an empty nester.
Some activities could include:
- Taking a dance lesson
- Learn a new language
- Pick up an instrument
4. Change your Lifestyle
Has living in the “burbs near the good school districts” lost its charm? If that quaint beach house or condo in the city has been calling your name for the past decade, go for it; if you purchased your home because the local school facilities were so great, you can sell it now. You are no longer obligated to living in a “good” school zone. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of living somewhere much, much warmer than your current location? With the children gone this possibility opens up. Depending on your financial resources, you might consider a vacation home in the warmer place, or perhaps a permanent home. Whatever you decide, your children will grow to accept the change, especially when they realize they can have sunny vacation visits. Remember, you can always keep one guest room when your child visits.
Update Your Car
Another great idea for adjusting your life after having an empty nest is to evaluate the value of your current car. Is it worth to have a big car that used to fit your children? Your children are gone now. Ask yourself, “do I really need this car?” Trade your vehicle for a very “un-family friendly” ride. You may want to consider trading it for a vehicle that’s made for someone single or a couple. Not only will a zippy new car help you assert your independence, it may save you a few bucks on gas versus the van or SUV you’ve been hauling kids around in for years. Another bonus is that you’ll no longer be called on to chauffeur!
Struggling with your empty nest?