Everyone knows that the busy season for retailers is the holidays. And if you’re an accountant, it’s tax season. When you’re an empty nest blogger, it’s late July and August! My email inbox and social media DMs are full of messages from new empty nesters who are struggling as they face the transition. I get it.
I started Empty Nest Blessed after seeing my friends struggle with how to move forward once their nests emptied. Oh, there’s the initial grief, of course, but even after the tears dried, many of them had a challenging time moving forward. My mission at Empty Nest Blessed is to bless, encourage, and inspire empty nesters as they seek to live lives of purpose and meaning after their kids leave the nest. Motherhood is a sacred task, and in some ways, it never really ends. But just as our kids move on and grow, we have the opportunity to do that too. When your nest empties, life opens up in ways you never imagined! I promise.
If you’re a new empty nester, I’ve got lots of resources here on Empty Nest Blessed to help you and point you in the right direction as you transition into this phase of your life. First of all, you’ll want to check out the New Empty Nesters resource page I’ve put together. It’s full of great books that I’ve found helpful as I’ve faced life in the empty nest. Next, be sure to browse the articles in the Empty Nest section of my blog. All of the posts I’ve written related to life in the empty nest are there, and you should find lots there to encourage and inspire you. Finally, I’ve had several of my articles about life as an empty nester published on other websites, and those might interest you as well. You can find the links HERE.
This year, our last child graduated from college. That means we’ve been empty nesters now for four years! Those four years have given me a new perspective on life, new goals and aspirations, and a new focus as I’ve adjusted to this new normal. And I’ve found lots to love about life in the empty nest. Today, I’m sharing my five favorite things about being an empty nester.
The Quiet & Calm of an Empty House
Ironically, the quiet was one of the hardest things to get used to when my kids left. But then, a funny thing happened. I started to love it! A quiet house offers me the ability to think more deeply and work through ideas and issues in a tranquil setting. It also allows me the opportunity to spend more time in prayer for my kids, which I find such a precious privilege. Of course, if I want some noise, I can always turn on music, podcasts (this one is my current fave), or stream something. And no one’s there to make fun of my dancing, or my taste in shows!
A Flexible Schedule & the Freedom to Come and Go
My husband’s motto for life in the empty nest is, “We can go where we want, whenever we want, and stay as long as we want!” It’s pretty much true (stamina notwithstanding!). With no one at home who needs you and no one to monitor your comings and goings, feel free to take in a late-night movie, a long walk after dinner, or even a weekend getaway! Speaking of getaways, be sure to take advantage of the incredible deals you can get on off-peak travel now that you’re not tied to the kids’ school schedule. Travelocity has an entire section of its website devoted to Travel Deals which are updated daily. Need ideas? The Things to Do section of Travelocity’s website will provide all the inspiration you need. You can also check out the Travel section of Empty Nest Blessed to see where we’ve been. One of our favorite empty nester getaways was to Walt Disney World. It was an entirely different experience doing it without kids! Need help planning? Shannon Leyerle, an empty nester herself, is a certified Disney vacation specialist who is an expert at planning empty nester getaways to Disney! Her services are completely free, and she knows the ins and outs of all the Parks, so she can score you the best deals as she helps you plan your trip. You can check out her website HERE.
You Can Give Attention to What Needs Your Attention
When our kids left the nest, I realized that I had unconsciously been using them as something of an “excuse.” Unwittingly, I was letting my (rightful) focus on them take my attention away from things like my health and spiritual growth. Now that your little excuses have moved out, there’s no more procrastinating! You may have realized that you’ve been neglecting your marriage, your fitness, or even something as simple as keeping up with technology! I hear from a lot of empty nesters who would like to get back out into the workforce or go back to school, but they already feel behind because they don’t even know how to use Instagram. If that’s you, it’s okay! Google and YouTube are excellent resources, and I have an ongoing series here on Empty Nest Blessed called Tackling Your Tech that can help! If your marriage is struggling, give it some attention, pronto. You might find it helpful to browse the Marriage section of my site to check out the articles I’ve written on nurturing your marriage in the empty nest. If you’ve neglected your beauty routine, or you need fashion help, I’ve got lots of info on those topics as well.
You Get to Watch Your Kids Navigate Adulthood
Seeing my kids grow into the people that they were meant to be has brought me great joy in the empty nest! One pursued an advanced degree and is now happily working as an attorney, one is married, and a homeowner (!), and one is doing what she loves by traveling and performing in musical theater. Watching them learn to “adult” is such fun, and we love getting their texts about everything from mortgages and health insurance to illness and dating. They’re not perfect, for sure, but we know we did our job as their parents prayerfully and to the best of our ability. Learning to be the parent of an adult involves an entirely different skill set than parenting did when they were younger, and the learning curve can be steep! I’ve shared my struggles and tips for success all along the way. (Click HERE for more.)
There are More Resources Available to You
As the kids moved out, we found that not only have we gained more time for ourselves, but we’ve also enjoyed that our financial resources have multiplied as well! Moving them “off the payroll,” one by one has left us more money for home improvement, travel, leisure activities, and to give away—something we love to do! Lots of empty nesters find that they can make do with less, and they can’t wait to downsize and simplify. Others do things like buying a lake house or a condo in Florida (guilty!), so they can spend more time relaxing.
What are your favorite things about life as an empty nester? Let me know!
P.S. Know someone who’s becoming an empty nester this year? I’d love it if you’d share this post with them! You can use the handy dandy icons below to do just that. (It’s honestly the sweetest thing you could ever do for me!) Want to Pin this post to Pinterest for future reference? Here ya’ go!