If you read my previous article My Eldest Leaves the Nest, you know I had to start a hobby to get through having an empty nest. Not everyone has the desire to hop on a horse and start showing. Here are some great ways to keep the boredom from an empty nest at bay and live life to the fullest!
Empty Nest Syndrome is something that many parents experience when their children leave home. It can bring about feelings of emptiness and sadness when your child goes. We want our children to be independent, but we may lose our purpose when they leave home. We want to craft a life for ourselves once the kids go.
Travel, Travel, Travel
Weekend getaways, museums, art galleries and shows! The options are endless! Even when I was working I was making a serious effort to travel on my time off rather than running errands and catching up on my reading. I would subscribe to travel websites to get last minute deals and stay up to date on events within driving distance. Take advantage of your regional area and everything it has to offer!
Reconnect with family and old friends.
This to me is the most important thing on your list to accomplish. You need people in your life to do things with! When you have kids, a house to run and a job it is difficult to keep up with people and you lose touch. The next thing you know the kids are gone and you realize you only see your friends at the grocery store and the gym. Make sure you have a few “go to” couples for evenings out. I also have what I call “lunch friends” …. former co-workers, business associates and family friends that I can do lunch with every month and I try to go to lunch with someone once a week.
Plan family vacations with your adult children to stay connected. We are fortunate our daughter stayed in our hometown but many families lose their children to other cities in pursuit of their dreams. My son lives in South Carolina right now while he is in school. We ask him to come down to hang out with the family on long weekends so we can stay connected.
Social Media Events
In our area, there are many local social media groups that create a social experience for people to take part in. Maybe you have just retired to a new area and need to meet people. Join your local social media groups or find a group for a hobby you love. Facebook is a great way to find those people with similar interests.
The foodie group in our area will have meetups at local restaurants to sample the food. The restaurant usually gives a discount to the group for promoting the food on Facebook. If there isn’t a foodie group start one!
We often find a lot of fun events to do at local businesses on the Facebook Events calendar that we might not have known about and you can just click interested and Facebook will remind you about the event. You can also see what other Facebook friends are going and can connect with people about the event.
Want to learn to dance, cook or Zumba? Maybe art is your thing and you always dreamed of learning how to paint. I have a friend who goes to 1950′ dance parties at a local church. I would love to learn how to dance Salsa. Whatever your passion find a class and learn how to do it! This is great preparation for retirement, where you will want to have hobbies and activities in place.
Join a Church
A church is a great way to join an existing community of like-minded people. They often host special events for different demographics or home groups so people can connect on a more intimate level.
They also offer volunteer opportunities that will allow you to enrich your life both locally and abroad. If you are handy, you can assist your church with maintenance and repair.
At work, I supported many local charities and although I was able to go out and volunteer once in a while, the time constraints of the job made it difficult. Now that I am semi-retired, I can really put some time into giving back to my community with volunteerism.
Look for volunteer programs at your local hospital, hospice, Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters and food banks. There are also botanical gardens, zoo’s, animal rescues and other environmental organizations needing assistance. You may be interested in the arts and have a local museum or theater.
If you were in business during your career the SBA runs a program called SCORE for small business owners are looking for support from retired, experienced business owners and executives who can advise them. The opportunities are endless in this area. Figure out what you are passionate about and look up your local nonprofits and reach out.
Find a Local Band and Become a Groupie
Well, maybe not a groupie but you get the point! We have the Riverside Theatre that has local bands come and play all year long and you bring your lawn chairs and hang out.
Local restaurants and bars also host bands that come in and play to draw a crowd. Last weekend my daughter and I decided to grab lunch at a local restaurant, and we sat by the ocean and listened to music. We like to see a band that started their career in Vero Beach more than 30 years ago. Now they do much larger events and travel the world, but when they play town, we enjoy watching them.
Schedule Time to Communicate With The Kids
I have noticed with many of my friends that their kids are ready to leave. But within a few months, they are sorely missing their parents. Your children may avoid communicating with you initially, and they will eventually realize that they actually miss home.
To allow them to spread their wings, do not over-communicate when they first leave. They will want to get some space initially. Scheduling time to talk, like every Sunday after lunch, is a great way to give them the space they need and allow you to get your kid fix.
Work on Your Relationships
It is common when the kids leave that many couples opt for a divorce. Before you do that, this is the time to improve your relationships, even if you are single. Friends and even our spouses can take a back seat to our kids. It is important to nurture those relationships and even foster new ones.
Just having an empty nest can trigger problems in some of the best relationships. If you are experiencing a more severe form of empty nest syndrome, you should consider speaking with someone.
Start Focusing On Your Retirement
We spend more time planning our vacations than we do our retirement. Take time to review your retirement plans and set some goals. Not only should you be looking at your financial goals, but you should also be looking at your purpose during your retirement. You can check out our article on how to prepare for retirement.
Many will experience the same feeling of loss when they embark on retirement. It is important to have a plan in place. Your should start thinking about this 10 years before you actually retire so you can be appropriately prepared.
You can do things like, explore retirement communities if you think you may downsize. Travel to areas where you might want to retire. Explore becoming an Ex-Pat. Investigate activities you may want to start taking part in when you retire.
The opportunities are endless. Get out there and live life!!
Let us know what things you have done to enrich your life in the comments below!