My husband has a motto for the empty nest season of life. He says, “You can do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want!” While those sentiments might not always ring entirely true, there are some wonderful things I’ve discovered about the empty nest season of life. (Especially since I dreaded it so much once upon a time!)
1. My schedule isn’t tied to the school schedule.
This makes everything more convenient. It leaves room for flexibility, spontaneity, and even more affordable off-season travel.
2. The house stays clean.
When our nest emptied, we immediately called the painters, carpet cleaners, and floor refinishers to undo the years of damage our kids had inflicted on our home! Now, when I put something away, it stays there. When I clean something, it stays clean. It’s magical.
3. The pacing is slower.
Active and engaged high school kids walk, talk, and eat fast. When our kids left, we realized we had been frantically trying to match their pace. Now we enjoy lingering over meals and talking at length about our days on after-dinner walks in the neighborhood.
4. The quiet is refreshing.
The quiet was what I dreaded most when I thought about having an empty nest, but I’ve come to cherish it. It’s hard to think when you are busy talking, answering questions, or helping someone with something. In the quiet of the empty nest, I’ve rediscovered my love for music, gardening, and even prayer. Simply put, I can hear myself think.
5. There is privacy.
That means that if you are naked and you need something from the kitchen, you just go and get it. Oh, wonder of wonders! It also means that if you are having a hot flash, you can go and stand in front of the open freezer door whenever you want. This is very handy.
6. You can be proactive.
After years of being responsive to your kids (which, let’s be honest, usually meant putting your kids needs first and yours last), you can be proactive and give yourself permission to put what you want first for a change. If you’re like most empty nesters, this will not come easily at first. I actually found that one of the greatest adjustments in this season of life was giving myself (guilt-free!) permission to focus on some of the areas of life that I had set aside while busy in the child-rearing years. Putting myself first took some getting used to and just felt awkward for a while. That is normal! Expect it to be a process.
7. No explanations are needed.
When my kids lived at home, they routinely texted me (sometimes from right upstairs in their bedrooms!) things like, “Where are you?” and “When’s dinner?” Now, I decide where I am and when dinner is all by myself.
8. I can wear my jammies all day if I want.
Since I work from home, sometimes I go all day without seeing anyone until my husband comes home from the office. That means I can take a long, hot bubble bath in the middle of the day if I want, or stay in my jammies, loungewear or yoga pants all day if I want. I consider this a true luxury! My favorite loungewear has to be ultra-soft and feminine, and double as jammies, of course! I love these yummy Vanessa pajama pants and a coordinating tee from Make + Model (that’s Nordstrom’s line of loungewear). Every piece in this line is delicious, and I never want to take them off!
If you are struggling to get used to the empty nest, or if your youngest is graduating this month and you see it looming, know that just like any other season of life, it comes with its share of joys and challenges. It is an adjustment, to be sure, and you need to give yourself time to settle into it. You might want to try making a list of what is wonderful about it to remind yourself of the blessings that come along with this season. I hope I got you started! Let me know what you love (or are looking forward to) in the empty nest in the comments below, okay?
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P. S. If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile, you have probably figured out how much I love color. In a world where everybody is embracing the all-white look in home decor, I have just redone my family room in blue, yellow, and pink! 🙂