Empty Nest Syndrome: Fun Ways to Fill Up Your Calendar

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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.

Take Classes

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.

Zumba Class

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.

Waldo’s Sunday Afternoon

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.

Marriage over 50

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!

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73 responses to “Empty Nest Syndrome: Fun Ways to Fill Up Your Calendar”

  1. Julie Avatar

    Thanks for the great ideas!! We are approaching empty nest in the coming years, so we are in prep mode!!

  2. Cynthia Mackintosh Avatar

    These are all great tips! I’m already a part of a great church. I can’t wait to retire so I can travel & volunteer more! Exciting to look forward to!

  3. Angela Greven Avatar

    Such a great post, I love your website! We take time to get out once a week, meet friends, dance and socialize. Always something to look forward to!

  4. Robin Avatar

    Great info! Thanks for sharing, I am sharing with my mom 🙂

  5. Robin Avatar

    Great info! Sharing with my Mom!

  6. T.M. Brown Avatar

    LOL – I LOVE these ideas! We are creeping ever so much closer to the empty nest and are already talking about what we want to do. Travel is high on the list!! Thanks for your thoughts and ideas!

  7. Kirsten Avatar

    Looking forward to being an EN. We have a ways to go!! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I used to say the same thing. Now I keep trying to get my kids over here to visit! lol

  8. Dennis Avatar

    These are great ideas! When I retire I want to travel and reconnect with extended family who are out-of-state.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I love visiting friends and family!

  9. Missy Avatar

    We have been taking classes. Learning new skills.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I am dying to take Salsa lessons. Just need to get the husband on board!

  10. Susan Franklin Avatar

    We are boomers and we are empty nesters…..we fit right in, just wish we were retired, but only 1 more year and I will be! Of course, we’ll have our blog, and that keeps us busy – but we really feel it’s important to live life too! We’ve started following a couple of bands, but not often enough. We believe volunteering is essential for our lives, but I also like your idea of meet up/social media groups. I’d love to join a hiking group! Great ideas – thanks so much!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Hiking is so much fun and something we have started doing as well! Great exercise!

  11. Rosanna Avatar

    These are all great ideas. As another empty nester we stay pretty busy. Active at church, volunteer, and I am a groupie to my husband who plays in the band.

  12. Kelley Avatar

    Love this!!! Great ideas and great light hearted spirit.

  13. Flor Avatar

    Love this post! Amazing ideas, and definitely It’s so important to have things to look forward to do.

  14. Laura Avatar

    Travel! Travel! Travel! Love this! Can’t wait to retire!

  15. Jennifer Avatar

    Great ideas! I love that you can fill up your time with meaningful experience and create a new you!

  16. Katie Avatar

    This is a great list for anyone with extra time on their hands!

  17. Kathy Phillips Avatar

    These are some great ideas. My nest will be empty in 3 1/2 years. Thank you

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Enjoy every minute of these last years!

  18. Shelly Bergman Avatar

    NICE! Looks so warm and happy where you are!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      We live in paradise! You should check it out sometime!

  19. Jo Avatar

    We don’t have kids but I recently left the corporate world and find these suggestions helpful as I try to figure out what might fill my days now. I recently applied to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), in fact, and will start training in January!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I have many friends who did that as well. We call it “Guardian Ad Litem” It is very rewarding!

  20. Stacey Avatar

    These are great ideas! In a lot of ways, I feel like we already live like empty nesters, we just happen to have a nine-year-old with us. I know that sounds weird, but she’d really rather go on a road trip with us than play sports or other organized “kid” activities, so we just do what we like and bring her.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Travel is such a great learning tool for kids. We made sure to take our kids on trips too!

  21. Janine Avatar

    Traveling and classes (or any way to learn something new) will be high on my list!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You had me at traveling!

  22. Rache; Avatar

    I love seeing your posts! We are on the cusp of full empty-nesters and have already begun talking about what to do.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks for the encouragement Rachel!

  23. Lauri Avatar

    Such great suggestions anyone can do. We find ourselves doing more of these now too. Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I think when you have been so focused on your kids, career, etc. it is difficult to shift back to thinking about what you want to do. You just have to put yourself out there!

  24. Dawn Avatar

    I LOVE your suggestion to find a local band and become a groupie! Too funny!!!

  25. Terri Avatar

    Great tips! As a 50 something class-taker, I really needed to find more things to do with my husband, besides sporting events! lol…thanks for the tips!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I really want to try the dance classes! I think it could be a lot of fun!

  26. Shirley Avatar

    I retire in two weeks and defintiley want o become a groupie!!!! Life goal for sure!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      So many great cover bands out there! Why drive and pay big bucks to see the big bands!

  27. Pam Avatar

    Such fun ideas! We use Facebook events all the time – there is always something going on!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I love FB for connecting with local events! We just went to a wine dinner with small plates in the next town. Mett with 4 other couples who were all from Vero in a foodie group. It was cool interacting with new people in an intimate setting.

  28. alison Avatar

    Ha I love the groupie part. Yes, take back your time and follow a band again, maybe not the same way you did in your 20’s, but be a groupie. All awesome suggestions.

  29. Karie Avatar

    These are great ideas. I look forward to everyone of them. I already can fill up my calendar with free classes from the local library. The people have become like family.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Great idea! I did not even think about the library or even a book club!

  30. Katie Avatar

    Great ideas for empty nesters!

  31. jen Avatar

    I love your joie de vivre! You have great ideas!

  32. Leah Mullins Avatar

    I’m telling you…I’m not an empty nester, but I still love every one of your posts! LOL. Gathering ideas for 8 years from now when we get to start our empty nest adventure! LOL. I love all of these ideas!!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you, Leah! I really appreciate the compliment. I say you start now and make it a date night every couple of months!

  33. Brittany Avatar

    I need to share this with my parents! They are finally empty nesters and would love to get out more!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I would love to hear from them and see what they picked!

  34. Holly Bird Avatar

    I just love this post!! It is so important to find things to do that will keep you happy and healthy!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks, Holly! After focusing too much on my career I totally agree!

  35. Jocelyn Avatar

    My hubby mentioned something the other day about when the kids grow up and leave how we’re going to have so much fun traveling and doing whatever we want. We still have at least 15 more years, haha. I’ll keep these in mind, though 😉

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Make it a date night goal for next year!

  36. Nicki Avatar

    These are great ideas! Thank you!

  37. Jenny Avatar

    These are great ideas. And your first picture is really how I want to fill up my calendar:). Cheers!

  38. Gennel zimmerman Avatar
    Gennel zimmerman

    find a local band and become a groupie, that is a fun fun idea !
    one of those things that when a couple or individual is younger, they think one day they will do that..follow a band. I suggest do it when you are young (I did !), and if you never did, you are never too young to be a groupie. You can be a groupie of world famous bands, local cover bands, or find someone to follow on youtube and become their fan by promoting them. I know a neat site called Talent Joe, which is like a mix between youtube, facebook, and america’s go talent….where the undiscovered get discovered. Maybe find someone semi-local and make weekend trips out of seeing their shows !

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      What a great idea Gennel!

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