Have your children grown up and left home?? Mabe your 50 or over. Or it’s just around the corner. And now it’s leaving you and/or your loved one thinking, ‘what do we do now’? I never really gave it much thought to the empty nest or becoming an empty nester. I had heard it said before, and I knew its meaning. But I never really gave it much thought till a couple of years ago. We had an empty nest, and my husband and I have become empty nesters.
I remember thinking that the house was way too quiet! I would turn the television on, or I’d blare some music from my mp3 player or on my PC. Anything to drown out that deafening silence!! The empty nest became too silent for me. Although now, several years later, and for the most part, silence no longer bothers me. At times, it is soothing, and I can think clearer. I have accepted becoming an empty nester. And I like to believe I have helped my husband in recognizing that we are empty nesters. AND now it is OUR TURN!
What did we do?
My husband and I did a lot of talking. I mean, A LOT of talking. I’ll be honest, and we didn’t know what we wanted. It felt as if our lives were up in the air. We didn’t have the time or money. We did not know what to do, with just the 2 of us. We had no plans. For over 30 years, we were mom & dad. We existed for our kids, and to work. We were always doing for our children. And, for me, I lost myself. And who on earth is this man that helped me raise three beautiful, intelligent, responsible daughters, who the hell is he??? We didn’t know one another. That was why we did so much talking. We started to date one another again. And, yes, you’ve guessed it, we have fun while we’re doing it. We even started going out and dancing.
Unforeseen circumstances, had us going to Florida, frequently, over three years ago. I re-connected with my dad, helped him with things going on his life at the time. We also got in touch with friends that we used to run around with, over 31 years ago, before my husband and I married. Many fun times, back then, LOL I’d have to say that this is what got the ball rolling.
One morning, Tommy, my husband, asked what I thought about us buying some land, down there, in Florida. The area is/was super cheap in Florida! Well, purchasing land turned into getting a house on some a couple of acres. We wound up with a small fixer-upper. We love it — no close neighbors. And better yet, no HOA!
Since then, over the last three years, we have been working on our Florida home, off and on. I mean walls have been torn out, the new installation was put in. Right now, two rooms have been painted. We’ve picked out our new cabinets for the kitchen. Buying two at a time, cause that’s all we could afford, at the time. My husband has been working on a beautiful wood countertop that was made of several, different, beautiful pieces of wood. Our creative juices just started flowing. We are continually coming up with new ideas. We have a lot more to do, but we are in no big rush. We want our home to be exactly how we envisioned it. Eventually, this home is where we will retire.
My husband still works. And I have some health issues, so when we find the time and the cash resources, we go down and work on our home. Or we go to the beach. Or we got out dining. Or dancing. Sightseeing, people watching – those last two costs very little money to do too. LOL, We have started living our lives and having as much fun as we can, doing so. And my husband and I are getting to know one another again! It’s refreshing!!
One of the things we’d like to do that is on our bucket list, is to visit every gulf coast beach on the west coast of Florida. We want to try out kayaking. Go snorkeling. Rent a jet ski!! And go hiking, of course during the winter months, when it is much cooler. But that is just a few things we have discussed. If you think about it, there is so much more you can do!
Look at all the free time you can fill up!! And once retirement comes, there will be even more open time. The sky is the limit!! It is time for YOU to get excited about YOUR golden years and write it all down. Whether it be just yourself, you and your spouse, your partner, or a dear friend, it is your turn now!!!
The List is Endless
Go back to school, get your high school degree. Learn a new language. Honestly, ask yourself, what have I been putting off, while raising the children, becoming a spouse, being a daughter a son, taking care of a parent, being a co-worker? Some will be realistic for you, and some will not–for whatever reason. Focus on the obtainable ones. Did my husband and I plan to buy a home with some land down in Florida? No, but coming into some money, is what made that possible for us. Do what you can when you can. AND?? Begin enjoying it and having fun while doing so.
Take the next step into a more productive phase of your life.
I compiled a list to share with everyone. Including myself! And, might I add, this is not a full list
- Take Care of YOURSELF!! Especially your health. You’ve put everyone else first, for so long, and now it’s time to put yourself first!
- Get into Shape Join a gym to work out, stretch, lift weights, tone up, slim down, just to get out of the house!!!
- Explore your town/city. While you’ve been busy, with the first half of your life, you haven’t had the chance to try that new restaurant on the Town Square You have not been inside the old theater downtown since the kids were little. They no longer have movies. But the Performing Arts Council took it over. Your town grew, just like your family did. Check it out!
- Go walking
- Ride a bike or a motorcycle
- Rock climbing
- Jet skiing
- Bird watching,
- Metal detecting
- Play tennis
- Play golf
- Plant a veggie, or herb garden
- Plant a flower bed!! Just get outside, breath, & enjoy the sunshine!
- There are fantastic discounts for those of us over 50.
- Travel off-season, and pay less.
- Go to another country, and learn about their culture! Explore what they have to offer.
- B & B’s, cottages, and bungalows, even big hotels/resorts, are discounted during their off-season!
- Explore new roads, places, museums, monuments, parks, or zoos!!
- Take a Road Trip.
- Water polo
- Ice skating
If you’re healthy enough, go for it. Break out the athlete inside you. And do it!!
Take a Lesson
- Dancing (alone or with your spouse/partner)
- Learn to play an instrument
- Tai chi, karate, or Judo
- Flower arranging
- Scuba diving
- Swimming l
- Driving a motorcycle
- Get your flying license
- Learn to become tech-savvy
If it’s something that you want to learn, find lessons for it. In the real world, or online!
- Go a Concert. Music is vast these days, bands you listened to as a teenager, are still touring! Catch a symphony. Performances. Check out a different genre.
- See a play or an opera
- Check out Festivals (blueberry, strawberry, musical, BBQ, you name it!) Can’t afford it–go people watch! That’s always free!
- Join an organization like AARP, The Red Hats Society’, etc. You’ll find specials deals, special events, discounts, deals, socializing, and other opportunities, as well as information.
- Volunteer – hospital, schools, churches, Salvation Army!!! Ask around!
- Start your own business – even if it’s just part-time!
Take Up a Hobby
- Write a book
- Write a blog
- Collecting shells, coins, bugs, baseball cards, recipes, etc
- Gardening (outdoor/container/indoor)
- Canning & preserving.
- Horseback riding
- Working out
- Water aerobics
Take control of your life as an empty nester. Embrace it, and accept your age. What else can you do about it?? Instead of sitting around moping, feeling all depressed, not knowing what to do. Decide TODAY, that enough is enough! That you want to live life as you’ve never lived it before. Enjoy the simple things!! If you change how you look at things, you will see them differently.
Check out the above list, and find just one thing. Or make your own list! Decide today what it is you’d like to do in your next half of life. If you still have to work, fine, happiness is not a 24-7 thing, no matter what. And you’ll continue to have your downtime; this isn’t “Leave it to Beaver” life. Just take the time, as little or as much as you can, and enjoy living!