Empty Nesters – Get a life!

March 20, 2016

BY KAREN CONRAD.

A funny thing happened in my normally noisy and happily chaotic life over the last couple of years – suddenly everything got very quiet.

Both of my sons had been sneakily growing up and one day they both left home to pursue their own lives, projects and loves. And of course I’m proud of them but I found myself wandering around the house some days just missing the ruckus and wondering what to do with myself.

It’s a big transition from having kids/young adults in the house to making one load of laundry a week and wondering how on earth to use up 500 grams of minced beef. I was surprised how much it affected me daily. There is a loneliness that is quite common to both married and single parents. Mothers and fathers who spent much time at work or away feel it acutely, too.

For me, it’s been so far, so good. I’ve had a few art classes, been able to fully focus on streamlining my business. I get more hang time with my friends and I can pick whatever I want to watch on the telly or the music I want to hear.

Of course, on the other hand I don’t have anyone to go see Pixar films with and I have no idea what’s new in the land of XBox or Wii or Nintendo, etc, which may superficial but it is a way to stay connected to what young people are thinking about and what’s important to them.

I’ve got a few suggestions if your house feels too quiet or you don’t know what to do with your time. I’d love to hear yours, too, so please feel free to add your suggestions as a comment.

  1. Resist the urge to get a puppy or a cat. You’ll have to stay home with either one or get a sitter. You’re free now, Embrace it. You might like it!
  1. If you’re lonesome call up people you don’t know and ask them if they’ve eaten today and how school is going. Just kidding. Seriously, consider volunteering through a local agency to help a young student with their homework, do a shift in a charity run op shop, volunteer to read to people even more ancient than yourself, etc etc.
  1. Pretend you have to be finished with work every day by 6 pm no matter what to keep decent hours and sit at your kitchen table when you eat, even if you are eating alone.
  1. Do something just for yourself. Take a risk by doing something completely different. If you aren’t a dancer, take Beyonce dance classes. Can’t sing? Join a choir. You may surprise yourself.
  1. Try to remember what you used to do before you had kids and see if you’re still any good at it.
  1. Plan your world trip or action an item on your bucket list.
  1. No one likes to cook for one. So either invite friends around often or go out for dinner as often as possible.
  1. Learn to enjoy your time alone. Remember when you couldn’t get a minute to yourself and go lie on a beach, meditate, hang out at the library or start a journal.
  1. Go to the gym and pay attention to how your body feels when you work out. If you can still work out without major aches and pains after your kids have left home, enjoy your healthy body! Take care of yourself as much as you can so your kids won’t have to one day.
  1. Enjoy your relationships with your partner and your friends. You’ve got more time for them now.

There you go, now you’re all ready to enjoy your new found freedom.

We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions below.

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